A Stranger in the House: Part 5

Part 5. An Alternate Route

“…Son? What is it?”

            “I’m not your son. My dad’s name was Theodore Hayes. We used to come to a church like this when I was growing up. Well, it wasn’t as fancy as this one. We didn’t have a huge choir… just a couple of ladies with an old out of tune piano, but the preacher knew everyone’s name. He visited us when mama got sick. He came after she died. He tried to minister to my daddy when he lost his way, but you don’t want to know about that. None of you do.”
“That’s not true. I—” 

            “Mr. Thomas? Is everything alright out there?”
            I looked around and then I noticed that he was wearing a walkie talkie. “Let me guess, they’re looking at us from a security camera somewhere—”

            He nodded but then he turned off his walkie talkie. “I just want to help—”  

            “If you want to help, tell me why there isn’t room for people like me In the front row? Why is it for pastors, who won’t even shake our hands?”

            The man did not have a response.

            A few moments later, a security guard approached us and said, “The pastor asked me to come outside to make sure everything is alright. He said he’d like to speak with you before you leave.”

            Smiling at the security guard, the man nodded his head. “I’ll be in after I finish up here with this gentleman.”

            The security guard turned toward me with a cold stare. “Is everything alright?”

            I didn’t respond.

            “Mr. Thomas, we need you to keep the walkie talkie on at all times. The pastor insists—”

            “Your pastor is a joke!” I shouted, angrily.


            “Don’t sir, me! I needed help. I needed to go to the altar today. I needed to give my life to God, but your pastor didn’t care. He asked us to scan some code. What’s that? A code? When you have an altar, who needs a code on a phone?” I shook my head and said, “He’s doesn’t care. None of you do!”

            “That’s enough! It’s time for you to leave—”

            “Please. I’ll turn my walkie talkie back on, but I need to handle this on my own.” Mr. Thomas insisted.

“I’m not a this. You don’t be calling me no this.”

“Yes, sir. I apologize. Please, give us some privacy. Everything will be fine.” Mr. Thomas said to the security guard.

            Brooding, the security guard turned and walked slowly toward the church a few moments later.

            “I’m sorry about that. Now where were we?”

            “Save your breath. I’m leaving.” I announced.

            Mr. Thomas reached out and grabbed my shirt. I jerked back, ready to fight, and the security guard rushed back toward me. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that he could take me, but I wouldn’t go down without a fight.

            Mr. Thomas stepped between us and said, “If you want to give your life to God and follow Jesus Christ for the rest of your life, we don’t need a pastor or an altar to do that. We can do it right here in the parking lot.”
            I was shocked. “We can?”
            “Yes. Repeat after me. Lord Jesus, I confess my sins and ask for your forgiveness.”

            As I opened my mouth to repeat those words, every sin I ever committed came back to my mind and I couldn’t imagine that I could ever truly be forgiven. “I’m sorry. I can’t do this. He’s not going to forgive me. You don’t know what I’ve done. I’m not a good person. I’m a liar. I’m a thief. I’m a drug addict. I’m an alcoholic—”

“You’re loved. You’re forgiven. You’re His. Just repeat after me. Lord Jesus, I confess my sins and ask for your forgiveness.”

“Lord Jesus, I confess my sins and ask for your forgiveness…”

After we prayed what I later learned was the Salvation Prayer, Mr. Thomas said, “As we prayed, God gave me a message for you.”
            I’ll be honest. I was very skeptical about people, who claimed to have a word from God, but something had changed inside of me. I wanted to hear from Him. I needed to hear from Him.

#To Be Continued#

#Soul Searching Short Story#