Monday, August 28, 2006

The kids are in bed (and they may even stay there!) so I am ready to tell THE STORY.

About 3 weeks ago I found out that a person in my church (remember I have only been attending church and truly open up to Christ since May) had been convicted of a sex crime. A horrible crime that requires registration with the state and a photo being posted on the internet.

I was SHOCKED, utterly and completely devastated. This person seemed like the most Christ filled, loving, give you the shirt off his back man. He is part of our worship team, leads the praise music when the leader isn't there. Why I needed to find this out RIGHT before church I don't know. But that's when I found out. And he and his wife were greeting that week.

I didn't know how to handle it. I played it off that week and kept to myself. I tossed this around in my head. I KNOW that Christ can forgive any sin, and if Christ had forgiven THAT then who am I to judge? The picture that this person presented did not match that crime (and no I am not telling you all what it is, this post is about how God led me not his "crime" stay with me now!) and I could not deal with it.

So, I emailed my pastor. He called me and we talked for a long time about forgiveness and Christ's love and what he knew to be true of this person. We spoke about how as a parent I had every right to my feelings, and how I dealt with them would have to be thru Christ.

Well, there was more to the discussion, but that ties in more with the nature of the crime. I thought about it, and prayed about what we talked about. And last Sunday (when I made the BEST fried chicken ever!) I kind-of avoided their family. I was not rude, I spoke to and was kind to either of them if they spoke to me. I just did not go out of my way. I was still processing.

This Sunday, GOD was there in church. I cannot explain it. The LIGHT was ethereal. I have been there for months, and it has NEVER looked like this. The music was ROCKIN - just this GREAT rockin praise music, hand clappin, foot stomping, hands raised up, Praise Jesus music.

And then Jeff started preachin! We studying our way thru Mark. Chapter 7 1-22 this week. Talking about the things we hold on to and the things we need to let go of. Traditions of the elders, those who have added to God's laws and considered those additions as unbreakable as God's word. He brought it back to Revelations 22 18:19

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

And that we try to change God's word to suit ourselves. (those seeker friendly - water down the Word churches)

Isaiah 55 8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

And this one... John 3 19-21

19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

So I was learning that I needed to do this the way GOD wanted me to. Not the way I wanted to. SO I took a deep breath. And asked (we'll call him Gene) Gene if I could talk to him for a minute. I told him I had seen his picture, and that I didn't know what to do with it. So in accordance with Matthew 18 15- 16

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

So we went to the nursing mother's room (ha! kinda soundproof) with Jeff (the pastor) Gene, Gene's wife, and Gene's daughter (who was leaving in just a couple days to go to Germany with her hubby - Air force) And the situation was explained. Gene was falsely accused of horrible crimes dining a horrible divorce. His daughter was told to say things that WERE NOT TRUE. She was there to tell me this herself - (she is my age now, a married woman with 2 kids). Nothing can be done about what is able to been seen by all. I cannot and will not go into details on this public forum. I believe that he was wrongly convicted and spent time in prison for a crime he DID NOT commit. His daughter has promised to email me when she gets settled in Germany and I am looking forward to hearing from her.

The sad thing? I don't feel better. I feel like it was a test I failed. I should have trusted my God. He was telling me all along not to worry. I didn't listen. I had to know. I feel better in that I had the courage to talk to Gene. And he has no hard feelings, he told me that he admired me greatly for having the courage to confront him with this instead of letting it fester. And I am proud of myself. But I feel like God sighed at me and said "If you MUST do this, if you are not willing to trust - then this (Matthew) is how to do it."

I think next week, when I see Gene again. I will apologize for not trusting God and ask him if he would be willing to pray with me.

(STOP yelling at me about how I have to protect my babies! I know, that's why I check the site I saw him on. This ended up being about me and God and trust I am not going to be stupid about my kids safety.)


M-j said...

Hey babe,
you do have a right to protect your babies. You also don't always know the full story, just goes to show you. I am glad you found out about it. Perhaps this was GOd's way of trying to change your mind? So, don't feel stupid.

Rachel said...

That's the problem with those sites that help you find sex offenders in your area - you don't know what the offense was or the whole story.

You found that information out for a reason. You did what you had to do to put your mind at ease. That may have been what God was telling you to do too. I'm really glad that you now have the full story. Otherwise I think you would have always had that doubt when you spoke with "Gene" and his family.

Lucy T said...

Sounds like a test in the style of James Chapter One to me!!! But dear Heather, it also sounds like you did not fail. The posts you wrote is NOT the post of a person who failed. It is the post of a person who when dealt with a situation she did not know how to handle, looked to God and His Word for the answer. That's a passing grade to me.