Celebrating Life in Recovery

A Hardened Heart

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Max Rivera


Series Code: CLR

Program Code: CLR000049B

00:13 Welcome back, this is my favorite segment where
00:16 I get to introduce you to some friends of mine.
00:18 You get to see in someone else's life what God is doing.
00:22 It's just my favorite part.
00:25 So I want to introduce you to Max Rivera, Max I want
00:27 to say thank you so much for being on the program.
00:29 You're welcome, thank you for inviting me.
00:31 The first time I saw you was that my church in Idaho
00:34 and I remember coming in and I don't even know what I
00:38 expected, I knew that someone was coming in to do a testimony,
00:41 and I love testimonies, but I didn't realize that there
00:45 was gone be somebody from my own background, right?
00:48 As I was watching you, as you were telling your
00:51 testimony I literally wanted to stand on the chair
00:54 and just holler up to heaven and say I love you Max.
00:58 I remember as you were talking, alright go on,
01:01 come on, and I couldn't even shut up.
01:04 So I want you to just tell us, where did you come
01:09 from and how did you meet God, and why are you here?
01:12 Well by 19 years old I was charged and convicted
01:19 with 4 felony counts for aggravated assault.
01:24 In those situations you don't get their overnight,
01:28 there is definitely a lot of drama that
01:30 happened before then.
01:31 By 19- by 19 years old - when I think about
01:35 a 19 year-old.
01:36 Every once in a while to you stop and look at a
01:39 19-year-old and think I was a baby?
01:41 Oh yeah, definitely, definitely.
01:43 That is the time when you were thinking about college,
01:46 maybe your in college, you're thinking about a career, or
01:49 maybe a family, while I was thinking about wrong things.
01:53 It started young, my dad, he was connected to the Mafia so
01:57 there were a lot of mafia-ism, as we would call it.
02:03 Hit men, a lot of abusers and drug users and everything
02:07 you can think of in and through our house.
02:09 So as a kid you watch this happen and what do
02:13 you want to do - role models - and you want
02:15 to be exactly like them.
02:17 It's tragic, as a kid you can't discern right from
02:22 wrong, you are looking for someone to give you
02:24 direction and that was the direction that was handed me.
02:27 I really worked hard to fill those shoes.
02:30 For people who don't know that, what is really
02:34 interesting to me about that kind of environment,
02:36 is even as a little tiny kid, when you start playing
02:39 somebody they are like, look at that, good for you.
02:43 And do you know what I mean, so it is even people love
02:46 the fact that maybe if you want drink a beer, or you
02:48 want to play somebody, or start lying or what ever,
02:51 it's like it's not disciplined, it is looked at as
02:55 you're going to be good, you're going to be fine.
02:58 Max: right! That's the thing, you are encouraged
03:01 within the realm that you live in through the people
03:05 that you are close to.
03:06 Here's the marijuana, here's the alcohol, and all
03:12 that stuff is introduced so it is not like you have
03:14 to go far to find it - right!
03:15 In the middle of all of what I saw, I saw abuse,
03:20 I was abused, I learned how to abuse and those
03:25 of you who have been there and done that you know
03:26 what I am talking about.
03:28 It was very corrupt, but I didn't understand it.
03:31 I thought it was normal living.
03:32 As you go through some things, some things hurt you more
03:39 than others, so you learn how to harden your heart.
03:41 You learn how to isolate yourself and distance yourself
03:44 from people, to not allow yourself to be emotional
03:47 about certain things because you know you are trying
03:50 to withstand what ever wins, but what that ends up
03:53 doing is preparing you for your wins and you know how
03:55 hide those things in your heart.
03:58 So I became real hard, and learned how to fight.
04:01 Cheri: Give somebody an age thing because I think
04:05 sometimes we think of it older than it is.
04:08 You are learning this at what ages?
04:11 Max: at 7, 8, 9, my mom was 21 years old, and she had 6
04:17 of us kids and she was trying to figure out life
04:19 as a 21-year-old.
04:21 My dad went to prison and it is not long before the
04:24 street becomes your influence.
04:26 It was around that age where I started to realize
04:30 that influence as I look back, experienced that abuse
04:36 by people I trusted.
04:38 It is hard because you are looking to people again
04:45 for direction, it's just hard, but through those
04:51 times, through that younger period.
04:54 I was a very inward person and it seem like it might
04:58 have been okay for me to be by myself.
05:01 People left me alone and I must have been an easy
05:04 target for somebody who is left alone.
05:06 But as I grew I learned how to use women and played
05:13 the people I was around, the only time they were
05:16 important to me was when they had something to give me.
05:19 It was hard because I would have people on their
05:23 knees, whether it was a guy or girl,
05:24 begging for attention or whatever.
05:29 I loved to inflict that kind of pain, it was hard to
05:33 believe that was that I had become that kind of person
05:36 but again I grew up around this and saw contracts of people
05:41 who were supposed to be killed, or in line to be killed.
05:42 My dads wallet, I remember nights where people would
05:47 knock on our door pleading for their life to get
05:49 some contract canceled, and my dad would leave
05:52 to go deal with that.
05:54 You see all these things growing up and again you want
05:58 to shadow them and do what they do.
06:00 Cheri: I want to be that.
06:02 Max: I did, so here I am on the streets trying to
06:07 make a name, to inflict fear, and people loving the
06:12 chance to knock somebody out, to see if with one
06:14 punch, watch their eyes roll in the back of their head,
06:17 fall in some isle of a store, or in Taco Bell
06:22 or where ever it would be.
06:23 But something in my heart, I know the Lord was
06:25 working even then, because some to my heart would
06:28 always feel remorse after I saw the person laying
06:30 there in his blood.
06:32 I always knew that it was wrong, I knew it was wrong
06:36 but I would still do it.
06:38 It was one of those things where it is like harden
06:40 your heart again, get you through this again.
06:42 So going through that, when you do something enough
06:47 you get good at it and so I used that to my advantage.
06:51 By 19 I was facing 80 years in prison, I realized that
06:56 this is something wrong, something happened
06:59 and I'm in trouble.
07:01 I knew that the way that I was arrested, I had just
07:05 gotten back from California and was in a
07:08 new car and had a pocket full of money,
07:09 a cupboard full of drugs.
07:12 I had did that run from California back to Boise
07:15 and I sat there in front of my yard and was on the
07:21 phone with the guy and there was somebody installing
07:23 a stereo in my car.
07:24 I'm thinking I've made it, this is what life
07:28 is about for a street kid.
07:31 I sat there and was looking at my car being worked on
07:36 and looked on the floor and noticed a moving van coming
07:40 and pulled in front of our house and I just thought
07:42 somebody was getting furniture.
07:44 Look down and looked up and within seconds my yard
07:48 was full of military men with assault rifles, everybody
07:52 had them pointing at us.
07:54 My parents were hog-tied, my sister was screaming
07:58 saying, listen to what they are telling you,
08:03 they are going to kill us.
08:04 It was real dramatic and just seeing my family have
08:08 to go through that because of something I did.
08:10 There were officers on the roof, my cousins jumped the
08:13 fence and they were caught on the other side.
08:15 I mean it was really hard because we had left two
08:18 men to die under a bridge and thought we had
08:22 gotten away with it.
08:23 These mean I remember the emotion that I had watching
08:29 these men die, it was just one of those things, they
08:33 didn't die by God's grace, but watching them bleed,
08:37 it was one of those things where it didn't affect me.
08:40 I knew there was some kind of evil presence within me
08:43 that allowed me to smile while somebody
08:46 was in pain like that.
08:47 Nobody should have to deal with that kind of pain, but
08:51 that was why we was there and we thought we got away
08:52 with it, but here we go with the SWAT team and half
08:56 the National Guard had picked us up.
08:58 I was sitting in this cell, high on Meth and full of alcohol
09:02 knowing that the devil's presence was in that cell.
09:06 It was just one of those things where I realized that
09:11 I messed up, I need to call on God.
09:15 Cheri: when you say that, that I felt the Devil
09:19 himself, in my cell.
09:20 I felt the demonic influence.
09:22 I think people that are more normal and are going to
09:25 church, even though they speak on that.
09:27 They know that is a biblical thing, that there is an
09:29 evil side, is that I think unless you have been in
09:33 that lifestyle you really don't know how real that is.
09:36 Max: you know the thing is because I have been through
09:39 experiences where I didn't, for whatever reason
09:43 I didn't feel it.
09:44 I have been shot at, we were at a park one time
09:46 were these guys put a bullet in a friend of mine
09:50 and we caught him and he was sitting there bleeding
09:53 and we threw him in a car and headed straight
09:55 towards these guys.
09:57 As soon as we turn around I'm thinking all of us
09:59 are going to die because there is about 5 guys
10:01 pointing guns at us.
10:02 As soon as we turn around and they shoot again so it
10:04 is like the Fourth of July and it hits again my friend,
10:10 who is like cousin but he hit him again in the head
10:13 and it blew out a piece of his skull right here.
10:16 A chunk of skin and everything ended up on the back
10:19 head rest, so I saw that.
10:21 I stabbed people, I shot people there was nothing
10:25 that made me feel that like this time I felt when
10:29 I was sitting in that cell.
10:31 It was one of those things that I knew of a God,
10:36 I knew to respect the name of God because I grew up
10:41 with a Catholic background, so I called Him.
10:44 I said, God I'm in trouble, but it was like a Jonah prayer.
10:48 Please I'm sorry for the circumstances get me away
10:52 from this, but my heart hadn't changed and so I was
10:54 sitting there asking God to help me.
10:56 He knew that it was time but he wasn't going to release
10:59 me and I was sitting there in a cell with capital crime
11:03 inmates, the robbers, the rapers, the murderers, they
11:08 are all sitting on this tier and I am 19 years old.
11:10 As big as I am I shouldn't feel intimidated by that,
11:13 but I was 120 pounds, I'm not a big guy and
11:19 these guys were huge.
11:20 When you said that I thought he's not that big
11:23 Charlie get up here - no kidding!
11:26 It is funny because even when I went to prison people
11:31 always looked for some huge guy.
11:34 My first day of prison a huge officer said, Max Rivera,
11:40 and I looked and I'm just this little guy waving his
11:44 hand, and he said, you are Max Rivera?
11:48 He said we supposed to expect some things from you in
11:51 this prison, I said I don't know what you are talking
11:53 about, and he said, yeah, right get in line.
11:55 But I've always had that, you know dynamite comes
11:59 in small packages and I think an evil heart is just
12:02 unpredictable, you know it is really unpredictable.
12:05 Cheri: You know when you have that much pain and that
12:07 much anger and where you have hardened your heart to
12:10 that point that you can do anything.
12:12 Max: You really can, you really can and the worst person
12:14 to me is somebody who doesn't care, and I didn't care.
12:17 I didn't care about consequences I didn't think about
12:20 them, it was just the place where I repented and came to
12:28 that place where I knew I had done something wrong.
12:31 But even still there were some things I had to work out.
12:35 Even after I confessed and I knew I was in the mercy
12:38 seat and I wanted to change and do some different with
12:41 my life, even still you have the memories of all this
12:44 junk still with you.
12:45 Cheri: so wait, wait before you even go there,
12:48 because you were sitting there calling out to God
12:50 but knowing that I haven't had that heart change.
12:52 It sounds like at one point that heart change happened,
12:55 so what got you to the point where I actually know
13:00 that I need it? I want it to change.
13:03 Well I know that the Lord, He gives us a conscious
13:09 and we have to ignore it long enough before it
13:11 doesn't work for us anymore.
13:13 That Holy Spirit, you learn to ignore it and not
13:19 listen to it so there are those points where
13:21 you are on the mercy seat.
13:23 Cheri: you just want to warn people that are watching
13:25 is don't ignore it, because you literally sever your
13:28 own conscience and the Holy Spirit can not,
13:30 after a while, get through to you and that is dangerous.
13:32 I do think that there is something in us that knows
13:36 right and wrong, but you have to ignore again the Holy
13:39 Spirit, you have to ignore your conscience long enough
13:42 to wear that voice is no longer of any profit for you.
13:46 I was sitting in that cell and I heard that, and I
13:50 thought Lord I do want to change, but again it was
13:53 because of my situation.
13:54 I just wanted to get out of jail.
13:55 I didn't want to be one of these prisoners with
13:58 their name, or with their number across their chest.
14:01 I just didn't want that and I had many family members,
14:04 friends who went down that line, and I experienced
14:07 that early as an adult, charged as an adult
14:12 at 17 years of age and went through the
14:15 California jail system.
14:16 I'll tell you what they run that, it's a real scary
14:20 place for a 17-year-old, and I'm a 120 pounds going
14:24 into an adult prison.
14:26 You have got these full-grown men
14:29 - that also don't care.
14:31 Max: That also don't care and I've heard it said in a
14:34 poem, I read it while I was in prison, you've got the arm pit
14:37 of society, you know there's some good guys in there,
14:40 there's some great people and there and you just want
14:42 to wrap your arms around them believe the best and know
14:44 that they are good, but there is a devil and he messes
14:49 with their mind, and for those who follow his voice
14:52 can do real unpredictable things.
14:55 You are in there with these men and sitting there
14:57 trying to be a man at 17 and not drop the soap because
15:02 you are in a shower with a bunch of men naked and
15:05 you don't want nobody messing with you in anyway.
15:07 I had the influence of my dad and as soon as I walked
15:12 in I was handed groceries, I was handed my clothes,
15:15 and I was handed extra things.
15:17 Cheri: because they knew your father.
15:19 Yeah and they said my name was the same, I had my dad's
15:22 name so it wasn't hard for them to figure that out.
15:26 They said if anybody gives you any trouble you let me
15:31 know and we will take care of for you.
15:33 That was like, I'm a man, I'm 17 years old,
15:39 but I wasn't a man, I was a boy trying to play in a man's world.
15:45 I remember some guys took my boots and they were some
15:49 big, big guys and I knew I would be like a fly on
15:55 their shoulder, I wasn't a big guy in any way compared
15:59 to these 300 pound men and they stole my boots.
16:03 I was trying to figure out how do you take care of
16:06 6 guys, how do you beat up 6 guys, I have nothing
16:11 to defend myself?
16:12 Cheri: but you know it's so crazy and I love when
16:14 you say that because we get so crazy that that is our
16:16 first thought, not that I should run, it's like how
16:20 am I going to do this?, what am I going to pick up,
16:21 what weapons are around me?
16:23 And that is what a lot of people don't understand,
16:26 it doesn't matter your size when you get that crazy,
16:28 I'm going to take you out and it may not be today,
16:30 but I will figure a way.
16:32 And that is where you were at, even in prison.
16:35 And the sad part about it is I had a cousin there
16:37 who was their size and who came in and had heard
16:41 what happened to my shoes, because the word travels,
16:44 and he came with me and said, hey what's gone on?
16:47 I said nothing I've got it taken care of, sure, yeah right!
16:49 I had nothing taken care of, it was still going
16:52 through my mind of what I'm going to do.
16:53 But he said is it these guys after you?
16:58 I said yeah.
17:01 He grabbed these cement tables that are filled with
17:03 cement and are not meant to move.
17:05 He grabbed that table and lifted it and picked them
17:08 up and they all fell to the side and said man we don't
17:10 got little brother shoes, leave us alone, we don't
17:12 want any trouble, we don't have little man shoes.
17:16 He told those shoes better be back by the end of the
17:20 evening and sure enough they were.
17:21 But what that did to me was as a 17-year-old, I want
17:25 to be like that - exactly!
17:26 Cheri: Exactly how want that much power, because I have
17:28 been powerless I want that power - exactly, exactly.
17:31 Max: so getting out of jail you put when you put wind
17:36 in your chest and walk around and there was a point
17:38 where I was fighting twice a week.
17:40 I was just looking for anybody to cross me in any way.
17:43 So all that got me into a situation where I realized
17:51 what I wanted to build this whole image that I wanted
17:55 to be wasn't really what I wanted.
17:57 These men who were full-grown, tattooed from here to here,
18:01 are on the mercy seat too and they are recognizing
18:04 that they are powerless.
18:05 All this manhood that you think you had, now it is Chow
18:10 time, now you can only have two socks, a pair one suit,
18:16 you are being told everything so you lose all control
18:18 you thought you had.
18:20 Cheri: went to get up, went to go to bed, what to
18:23 think, what to say.
18:25 Max: yeah and I'm sitting here, I get to the prison
18:27 and I'm going through the process where they are
18:31 analyzing where they are going to put you in the prison.
18:33 About 3 in the morning I get this knock on the door
18:36 and I am looking like it must be medical time and
18:39 they are going to check me, this is the procedure so
18:41 I just get up and put my jacket on.
18:43 They said, take your jacket off, take a shoes off,
18:46 and I thought man there something wrong and you listen
18:50 when people have guns because their was 3 or 4 of them.
18:53 I'm sitting there watching them and putting my hand
18:57 behind my back as they are cuffing me.
19:01 I've watched too many movies honestly, I am thinking
19:02 they are going to beat me up, this is going to get
19:05 real ugly should I try to fight them here while
19:07 there's only a few of them.
19:08 I mean you just get this crazy mind and I went to the
19:13 holes were they took me.
19:14 Cheri: now you don't get it you have it, it's yours.
19:16 Max: sometimes I still have it, but I sat in this cell
19:21 thinking what my going to do here, but I sat in that
19:25 same cell with the same clothes on for two weeks and
19:27 ended up being checked into that same cell as an
19:30 Administrate Segregation Inmate for a year.
19:36 So I stayed in this little hole 24 hours a day,
19:40 7 days a week, because of my history.
19:43 30 minutes to an hour they let you out, some days where
19:48 you can go on walk these dog kennels.
19:51 And they are depressing, because everybody in there
19:54 are on Thorazine because they are too crazy and can't
19:57 handle that kind of confinement.
19:58 So they are beating on walls and these doctors come in
20:01 and they inject them with Thorazine to mellow them out.
20:04 So it is real depressing, you are sitting in this dog
20:07 kennel and the only thing you can see is the sky,
20:09 because the walls are too high for you
20:10 to see anything else.
20:12 I remember being in that kennel where this guy had
20:18 been arrested for drugs, big, big guy jumped on the
20:21 fence and just starts shaking the fence and looking
20:26 at me and growling.
20:28 I mean he was just part animal, he might have been
20:29 all animal, but I looked at him and thought what
20:33 are you trying to do with my head.
20:35 He was trying to instill fear, is what he was trying
20:37 to do, and he's like are you scared of me and I said
20:40 the only thing I'm scared of is your face.
20:42 You are a very ugly person, it was wrong for me to
20:46 say but that is what I'm telling you, I repented but
20:48 my heart was still evil.
20:49 I was still if somebody does this I will do that and
20:53 I wasn't thinking like a Christian because God had
20:56 not renewed my heart.
20:57 I hadn't read enough of the word for Him to do that.
21:00 But that was a very freeing time that year was a freeing time
21:06 because I had a chance to just read the word and
21:09 get myself a little routine to keep me sane.
21:11 Because when you are in a little cell where all you
21:14 have is a bed and a toilet that you wash
21:17 your clothes in.
21:18 Cheri: so how did you get the Bible, had somebody
21:20 brought it in?
21:21 It was one of those free on the inside Bibles that
21:25 became a very dirty Bible, but the dirtier this is,
21:29 the cleaner this is so it really worked and the Lord
21:34 used it as a ruler to help me understand right and
21:38 wrong, what I should and shouldn't be doing,
21:40 how I should think.
21:41 By far I am not perfect in any way, there are days
21:45 that I wake up and I'm like man that's the old man,
21:48 what happened, where did that come from?
21:51 So I get to work out my salvation with fear and
21:54 trembling every day.
21:56 As you were, and I'm just asking because this has been my take
22:01 on it, that when you were in the cell and reading
22:03 the Bible didn't you come to some places where you
22:05 just think really?
22:07 You know just like the Bible asks you to reevaluate
22:10 everything, honesty and integrity, who you are,
22:13 who God is, and your response to that, and what
22:17 love is an even that concept of love.
22:19 It sounds like you never had it and so how do you
22:22 even look at the word and get some kind of meaning
22:25 around that word?
22:26 Well you know the funny thing is that, again as
22:30 a Catholic I displayed the Bible in my room,
22:32 it was like a cross.
22:34 You know you wanted some kind of protection in your
22:36 room, you were doing very bad things in that room,
22:39 but for whatever reason you just knew you had the
22:41 Bible close enough that you were good in God's eyes.
22:44 But I remember reading Matthew, and I thought if you
22:47 ever start reading you start from the beginning is
22:50 what you think, so that is what I did.
22:52 I thought begat this, begat that, first of all I
22:55 don't even know what begat means so how my supposed
22:58 to understand this thing, whatever it is this Bible?
23:02 So I would always stop, but when I got past the
23:06 begats and read the word I was like why wouldn't
23:10 somebody want to read this?
23:11 Man this is amazing it deals right with your life.
23:15 It is almost as if it was written by a God, I mean
23:18 it's amazing, it's just so perfect
23:22 - this might be true.
23:24 No kidding and that's kind of how was, I just
23:26 really fell in love with the word and I really
23:30 enjoyed just figuring out who Jesus was through
23:34 what He did in people's lives.
23:36 The power that is in His word is amazing and I
23:39 remember just being in that little cell, just
23:42 proclaiming His word out loud, singing and not
23:44 even knowing anything about any of that.
23:45 Just knowing that's what I felt like I should do.
23:48 Through that God gave me a new heart.
23:51 I remember a conversation with my brother,
23:53 because they gave me this phone where I could call,
23:56 this cordless phone and I sat there and called my family.
24:00 Of course they are partying and doing their thing.
24:01 My brother said, how is it going in there?
24:06 My uncle who is done a lot of time said you are in the worst
24:11 part of the prison, are you okay?
24:15 I said man I am experiencing so much freedom,
24:19 I have never felt so free on the inside of me.
24:22 And he said, Kato you don't have to lie to me,
24:25 I know that it is hard in there and I said listen
24:29 Menno, when we hang up this phone, you could go on with life
24:32 When I am in here I have to come back to this cell,
24:37 so by you telling me I'm in 4 walls and I can't leave,
24:41 this miserable hardest part, don't do that.
24:44 But honestly I said the Lord, I had drew a picture
24:51 and I put it on the wall with a bunch of scriptures
24:53 and the word just brought a lot of peace.
24:57 You can't purchase that, it's not on a menu at a
24:59 restaurant, you know it's not something you can
25:02 find anywhere, you have to get it by being
25:04 right in your heart.
25:07 God's Word was renewing my mind - so I want to
25:11 ask you, there are couple things, would you like to
25:15 introduce Kerry at this time, or can you ask,
25:17 can we ask you why you got out of jail?
25:19 Oh I would love to introduce Kerry, gosh, you know
25:23 yes! I would love to introduce Kerry.
25:26 I would like to say that the Bible says the truth
25:29 will set you free.
25:30 I will race through my time in prison and I'm sitting at the
25:34 parole board through that 7 years, or through that
25:38 80 years that I was facing, I only got 7 years and
25:41 only had to spend 3.
25:43 God's grace, it's amazing I'm sitting here in this
25:46 parole hearing and these guys are telling me how bad
25:50 of a person I am and how releasing me is not going to
25:53 keep the streets safe and that is their job.
25:55 I just confessed that it was my fault I am sorry,
25:59 I had a choice.
26:00 They said when you were in front of the judge before
26:03 it wasn't your fault, now it's your fault?
26:05 What's your story Max?
26:07 I said it's my fault, I had a choice and I made the
26:12 wrong choice, and those guys had a heart of stone and
26:16 I just knew, but I knew I had to be honest - exactly.
26:21 They walked out of the room and I looked back and
26:24 I see my family and they are just crying like it
26:26 was last time we are going to see him for
26:28 however many other years.
26:29 They came back and looked at me and said, young man
26:35 pack your bags, you are going to be leaving in 3 months.
26:40 Get ready you will be leaving in 3 months.
26:42 Could you just say to me, I can hear the Holy Spirit
26:47 saying don't forget I'm right with you, I'm doing this
26:51 for you, and with you.
26:53 So when I was released, when I was released I was on
26:59 as an intense pro who came to Idaho, did what I did and I
27:06 was on intense parole and that's where Kerry comes in.
27:10 So would like to introduce everyone to his parole
27:14 officer and I love this part of it.
27:17 So Kerry I want to just say man what was he like?
27:23 When you saw him, when you met him for the first
27:26 time and when you read his charts.
27:28 Oh Man his file was incredible, because it talks
27:32 about the same story that Max has told.
27:34 I was working with younger offenders and violent
27:40 offenders at the time, but when I read his file
27:43 It was like, oh Lord, this is going to be interesting.
27:46 But when I met Max, you can see that God's
27:50 fingerprint was on him, God had already done
27:54 a lot of work in Max's heart.
27:56 So what was on the file Max had already began changing.
28:00 Cheri: So God had already, it was already so evident
28:03 - right - incredible and your a Christian guy - yes!
28:06 Cheri: so that must of felt really gratifying to you
28:11 is that I'm going to work with this guy but God is
28:14 already there - yeah, it was gratifying.
28:16 So we started that process and there was some
28:19 challenges along the way.
28:20 Cheri: challenges in, what's he talking about Max?
28:23 Max: my will, it was still poking its head.
28:28 Cheri: because it's tough, that's tough work,
28:31 when somebody says, God stepped in and everything
28:34 was alright, it's like there is a work to be done.
28:37 Max: Yep there definitely was and I was like a dog,
28:42 that, because serving the Lord in
28:45 prison you are kind of confined.
28:46 You know there are some rules but once you get out
28:49 there are no rules, you do have rules but it's like
28:53 the chain came off and I was like a dog, okay what am
28:57 I going to do now?
28:58 I can either still do this God thing, maybe I will so
29:02 that Kerry is happy and then I can be okay and
29:05 released from parole and I'll be good.
29:06 Still the manipulation starts to come back and I
29:11 would do the best I could to manipulate him and be
29:13 Mr. nice, church was good Kerry, because he
29:15 invites me to church and I go to be on his good graces.
29:18 Cheri: because he can show up at your house at any time.
29:21 Any time and he did.
29:23 Cheri: so Kerry I want to ask you, you could show up
29:27 at any time and did you know that you had a lot of
29:31 work and you can see the playing and the slipping in and
29:33 out of this commitment?
29:35 Yeah you can see that, but should also see Max's
29:37 family they were all very steeped in that lifestyle.
29:40 So Max has his room in the house, and then there's
29:43 all the other stuff going on periphery, it wasn't
29:47 blatant, but you can see the telltale signs.
29:49 This family is steeped in this gang lifestyle,
29:52 alcohol and drugs, people coming and going so
29:55 I knew there were some huge challenges for Max
29:57 just to make it as a guy on a parole.
30:00 The challenges were huge - so we are not even
30:02 talking about stepping into integrity and Christianity
30:06 and all that kind of stuff.
30:08 What kinds of things did you just tell him, I would
30:12 want to grab him by the face and say this is your life,
30:15 you cannot, what kind of things did you tell him,
30:18 did you do to just help him to stand up?
30:21 The first thing that had to be done was to build
30:24 a relationship with Max more then parole officer and parolee.
30:29 because there is no relationship there, I have the
30:32 authority, do what I say and if you don't do it your
30:34 going back to prison.
30:35 You can't disciple, you can't mentor, you can't
30:38 encourage people if that's all you do.
30:41 I tried with all the guys on my caseload,
30:44 but especially with Max to build that relationship.
30:47 There were times that I kind of bent the rules that I
30:50 was supposed to operate under, but there were
30:53 good reasons for that.
30:54 Max's family is a Latino family, and they cook
30:57 incredible food and one of the rules is you don't
31:02 eat at the offenders home.
31:04 I know that that is the rule but oh my goodness food.
31:07 I'm sure with these incredible smells.
31:11 We began to build a relationship and he saw, and his
31:15 family saw, that I was really for all them, I wanted
31:18 them to succeed, but guys we have to follow the rules.
31:20 So as they saw that I wanted to help, then it was
31:23 worse because mama wanted me eat, and dad wanted me
31:26 to eat, and the brothers are like Kerry it's good
31:29 to see you we are glad you are here, thanks for
31:31 working with Max please eat.
31:32 And so there comes a point with some of those rules,
31:35 the intention of the rules is we don't want the
31:37 offenders poisoning us and we go home and die.
31:40 So you kind that step out sometimes and take a risk
31:44 and say, alright a quick plate of food, Max let's
31:48 talk about how your week is going and we built a
31:49 relationship that way.
31:51 One of my philosophies was these guys have to come
31:55 to me, stop thinking like criminals and trust me
31:58 to stay on my case load.
32:01 What am I risking, they are risking a lot, because
32:04 I'm a pro social person, I'm not an antisocial person,
32:07 I'm not an addict, I'm from the law enforcement
32:09 community so there's also reasons for them not
32:11 to trust me and open up to me.
32:13 Yet I asked them every week to trust me,
32:15 open up to me, work with me and I got to thinking
32:18 what am I risking?
32:20 Where's my side of the risk, why would they invest
32:23 in this relationship?
32:24 If they don't they're not going to succeed.
32:26 I didn't break the rules that I operated under, but I
32:30 reevaluated the rules to see their intent and see how
32:33 far I could come towards Max as a friend and encourage him.
32:38 Sometimes, literally grabbed his face and say, look
32:41 buddy your future, your destiny, your purpose,
32:43 don't throw away for this.
32:45 Cheri: so what were you risking?
32:46 Kerry: my job - right - because you have
32:50 to follow those rules.
32:52 Within the correctional environment it is unfortunate
32:56 that many times officers get compromised by offenders.
32:59 Sometimes in a romantic sexual way, sometimes just
33:02 in a friendship way.
33:04 And it is such a common occurrence that the
33:08 administrators put the rules down that you as a parole
33:11 officer have to follow the rules, and if you don't
33:13 then an investigations ensue, and if they find you
33:16 violated the rules in the wrong way, you could be let go.
33:20 You can be moved to another caseload, so there was
33:22 some risk involved.
33:24 You know what is amazing to me is when Kerry was
33:27 coming up and coming over and I know that you played
33:32 him like crazy, or tried to, but he is coming over and doing that
33:36 When did you realize that this person is probably
33:40 going to help you get your life back?
33:43 Well one of the things I think that as a convict or as
33:47 a criminal with that kind of thinking you're used to
33:53 breaking rules and you think rules are only there to
33:57 keep you from doing things.
33:59 So when Kerry went out of his way to build that
34:02 relationship, I really did deep down start to trust him.
34:07 I think all of us want to trust people but were nervous
34:10 on how you're going to handle all this junk, because we
34:13 have been stepped on before and hurt in our own way.
34:17 Maybe a lot of its we've done our self but still this
34:20 is tender and this is all I have, so I'm not going to
34:23 give it to you if you are going to step on it like
34:25 everybody else has done.
34:26 So I really felt like I could start to go like this to Kerry.
34:29 One day I made a mistake and I stayed out when I
34:35 shouldn't have, the sad part about it is I would go
34:37 to church and afterwards me and my cousins would go
34:39 to the bar and drink beer and shoot pool and I did
34:43 that for a while.
34:44 Cheri: you're not supposed to be drinking, your not
34:45 not suppose to be staying out late.
34:46 So he came and looked at me and he said Max,
34:51 basically in short just said, if you do that again
34:56 it's going to be trouble for you.
34:58 He could have violated you right then!
35:02 He could've for sure, but I think or what I understand
35:06 now about rules is that they protect you.
35:09 So I knew there was a protecting that was going on
35:12 there, he wasn't trying to enforce some rule,
35:15 he was trying to protect what the Lord was calling
35:18 me to and I just really sensed that and I knew that.
35:21 And I think from then on is where, I was living with
35:25 my girlfriend who is my wife today.
35:27 He said you guys are living like you are married,
35:30 you need to make a decision.
35:32 My wife looked at him, like are you crazy?
35:34 You don't tell us what to do and I don't even know you.
35:39 I love that, that's hysterical to me.
35:43 But you know what it brought us to a place where we
35:47 knew that something had to happen, we needed to make
35:50 a decision and I fasted and prayed for 3 days and knew
35:55 that she was my bride.
35:56 11 months we stayed abstinent and didn't touch each other
36:01 and for the last 4 months we didn't even kiss.
36:04 I remembered her hand, just a touch of
36:09 her hand just moved me.
36:10 Pastor Mark said, Max in this day and believe it
36:17 or not on our marriage, Kerry and a few other
36:20 ushers were carrying guns, because we had a family
36:22 from California and we didn't know that and my wife
36:25 is like in the room, saying you're so pretty.
36:30 Kerry is like, ok, you guys got your guns,
36:32 okay listen now listen, this is how it's going to go down.
36:35 But it was very innocent for my wife and I.
36:40 The pastor said you may now kiss the bride.
36:43 Cheri: even going to that point where all the sudden
36:45 absence and the courting and all those kind of things,
36:48 you had never done that in your life.
36:50 That kind of innocents had never been a part of your
36:52 life in for me there is a joy in that this little kid
36:56 gets to feel what it feels like to be innocent
36:59 and have it be good.
37:01 Oh man I love it.
37:03 I was kissing her all over our honeymoon the Lord
37:05 blessed us to be able to go to Jamaica on our
37:06 honeymoon and I kept kissing her on the cheek,
37:08 and she said it's okay to kiss me on the lips now.
37:13 I want to say Max we are going to take a break
37:18 and come right back.
37:19 But I want to say I love you and God bless you in
37:22 your recovery, and how God is going to use you.
37:25 I can't even wait to see all of that, but it is
37:28 fun to know that even the most hardened heart,
37:31 God says I can soften that.
37:34 I see in your eyes when you talk about your past,
37:38 and this is what I fell in love with when you
37:40 initially talk about your past, and there are tears
37:42 that come up even thinking about who you were
37:45 - you just related to us, I can see the pain
37:47 in relating at times.
37:49 And I just love you and God bless you.
37:51 Ok, we are going to be right back.
37:54 I think I'm going to bring Max back because I want him to say
37:57 a few things before we end this program, so stay with us.


Revised 2014-12-17