An Inmate’s Testimony of Spiritual Freedom, by Willie J. Gooding

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May God’s grace and peace be multiplied to you my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus’ name.

My name is Willie J. Gooding, and I would like to welcome all who are encouraged by this testimony and the testimonies of others. Feel free in expressing how we have uplifted you, and how we can come together alongside one another to reveal to the world what TRUE brotherhood looks like.   Amen.

Growing up wasn’t as bad for me as some of the other inmate testimonies I’ve heard.  However, there was something missing in my life that I believe could have made all the difference.  That difference was “HEARING” that I was “LOVED” by my father.  I don’t want to be misunderstood – my father was a man who knew how to provide for his family with food, clothing and shelter.  Yet, not experiencing verbally how much I was loved, robbed me of my value and worth, and as a result, it unconsciously altered my life.

At first, I believed that true freedom was linked to understanding the love of my father, which would actually turn out to be the truth.  I sought what I believed to be “freedom” through the tangible things I could accomplish on my own…which was only leading me into a deeper bondage.   I believed that having “things” would display that I was “free” to do what I want, when I want, and to whom I want, and also how I wanted to do them.  I believed that this lifestyle would somehow lead others to love me.   Sadly, I was chasing something that truly could not be caught, which was “true freedom!”

While spiraling downward, I couldn’t imagine that what I was truly searching for was already searching for me!  Freedom is defined by the world as one having liberty of choice or action, but that isn’t the total truth.  Freedom is a person, and is only found in the Lord, my Savior Jesus Christ.  Freedom isn’t something I chose, it chose me.  When it chooses you it tells you “I love you, son”, “I love you daughter”, “I love you wife”, “I love you husband”, and it never STOPS revealing that love to you.

True freedom is found only in Christ Jesus, the One who said “Who the Son sets free is free indeed!”.  This freedom restored my value and my worth, and it tells me that “I am loved unconditionally”, and that “I would never leave you nor forsake you”.  It repeatedly confirms “Daddy loves you!”.

Beloved, freedom is not something we purchase.  It does the purchasing, and it has purchased the entire world because this freedom so loved us that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).  That is a freedom to possess just by believing that our Dad loves us.  Amen.

Even though it appears to the natural eye that I am imprisoned, I can say with full assurance that being in prison is a state of mind, not spirit!  My spirit has been set free because I am NO longer a slave to sin, but a slave unto righteousness.  This is true only because of the blood of the One who has broken down the prison walls of my heart and mind.  “For freedom Christ has set me free!”  (Gal. 5:1)  Find rest in knowing that you are FREE!  B encouraged.

Willie J. Gooding EW4226,      SCI Dallas,   1000 Follies Road,   Dallas,   PA   18612

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Willie “Skip” Gooding is one of the founding members of “The L.A.M.B. Squad”, (Leading All Men to Brotherhood), a group of Christian inmates who have formed a unique ministry!  L.A.M.B. is  dedicated to sharing the love of Christ and christian brotherhood with men, both within the prison walls, and, amazingly, for men in society to help prevent them from making choices that will cause them much pain and possible incarceration.  By their testimonies and articles they are revealing a deep and unselfish love within the prison walls that is reaching to the outside world, with their message of the love of God for all men.  They pray that their testimonies will enlighten, awaken, and empower those who are inspired by their testimonies and articles.  Please feel free to contact them with encouraging responses directly at the address above (use a plain white envelope only), or you may send an email to and I will make sure that the members receive your responses!


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