In 1918, a notorious criminal named Tokichi Ichii was sentenced to hang.
While in prison in Tokyo, he was sent a New Testament by two missionaries, Miss West and Miss McDonald. After a visit from Miss West, he began to read the story of Jesus’ and crucifixion. When he reached the point where Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," something "clicked" within his heart. He wrote:
"I stopped: I was stabbed to the heart, as if by a five-inch nail. What did this verse reveal to me? Shall I call it the love of the heart of Christ? Shall I call it His compassion? I do not know what to call it.
I only know that with an unspeakably grateful heart, I believed. "People will say that I must have a very sorrowful heart because I am daily awaiting the execution of the death sentence. This is not the case. I feel neither sorrow nor distress nor any pain. Locked up in a prison cell six feet by nine in size, I am infinitely happier than I was in the days of my sinning when ...
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