I never told a soul. I just stepped down quietly from the choir. I mean, who in their right mind was going to stay in the choir after that? Maybe I should have stayed, but deep down, I was disillusioned.
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Early one Sunday morning, I was praying alone in the choir section when I sensed a presence. I opened my eyes to find a tall male standing before me. I recognized him, he was in his choir robe like me. He said he needed to ask my forgiveness. I asked him for what (since I never had any dealings with him). He said for wanting to kill me.
I think I was traumatized at that moment because all I said was, I forgive you. I can’t believe that’s all I said.
Why couldn’t I have told him, “Hey dude, what did I ever do to you to warrant your wanting to kill me?” I mean, wouldn’t that have been more normal?
Eighteen years later, I think back and wish I would have had enough courage to ask him why.
I went through a whole gamut of emotions and questions. All I was doing was praying. Aren’t you suppose to feel safe in church? I did not feel safe at all. I actually never looked at church the same way again.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Times Square Church greatly. It is where God brought me, put me, planted me and where I grew up in the faith. It is where I first experienced the presence of God. The preaching is phenomenal and I’ve made great friends there. Many who are now leaders or serving overseas as full time missionaries.
It’s not the church’s fault, it’s not anyone’s. However, last night, memories began to flood my mind and emotions began to well up. Yes, I forgive this man, wherever he is. The irony of it all is that I didn’t even know his name. But his face will be forever etched in my memory.
Conceptually, I understood at twenty-seven that evil was using this man as a host. But it’s still hard to grasp something like this magnitude, especially since it happened in church by a supposed brother in Christ. I couldn’t understand it, still don’t and perhaps I never will.
However, since then, I no longer close my eyes when I pray in church. I do for second or two, but then I open them again. I only pray with abandon when I’m alone and in the confines of my home.
I wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience in church? If so, please share. I would love to know I’m not alone.