It was my senior year.
I had been eating lunch with a pretty junior named, Mary. In that same lunch room at Penncrest High School was a young man determined to make a point that seniors shouldn’t be hanging around juniors—especially, not attractive ones. And, so he began to throw small, empty Wawa milk cartons at the back of my head. After the second one slammed against me, I got up and confronted the guy. BIG mistake! He stood and towering above me calmly asked, “So, what’s your problem?”
I remember thinking, “Now what am I going to do?”
I turned to Mary and said, “Time to go, sweetie.” I instructed her to go one way and I’d go another—thinking he’d follow her.
Well, she did, I did, and he didn’t. He went straight for me and grabbing a chair he broke it over my head. And, that’s the last thing I remember. I woke up in the hospital a few hours later, surrounded by friends and a Police officer.
The cop said, “This guy is real bad. Sign here and we’ll put him away.” “It’s that simple?” I asked. “Yep,” he replied, “it’s that simple.” So, I took the ballpoint pen and signed the complaint.
Okay, now it’s a couple of weeks later. I’m in this Christian bookstore in downtown Media telling the clerk behind the desk about my ordeal. Just then, she begins to look rather anxious and begins to clear her throat—you know, to get my attention that someone had just come up behind me. And, no kidding, there he was the guy who had just weeks earlier tried to literally beat my brains out!
I turned to the clerk and said, “You’d better pray.”
The guy says, “I want to see you outside, man.”
So, I turn back to the clerk and say, “You’d better call the police, I’ll pray.” So, I nervously, reluctantly go outside for my pounding and the guy instead begins to pour out his heart to me saying, “I was going to kill you that day, but as I lifted the chair to finish you off you screamed out the name, ‘Jesus!’”
“I was paralyzed,” he continued, “and so, I just placed the chair on the floor and sat down waiting for the police to take me to juvi.”
“After posting bail, I talked to a guy in my neighborhood who told me that you were a Christian and that Christians forgive… So, I thought if I came to you—you know, man to man—you might just forgive me, too.”
“I don’t want the charges dropped; I just want you to forgive me.”
Of course, I was stunned. Choking back the tears, I barely squeaked out the words, “I forgive you.”
But, it doesn’t end there.
I was driving through Media, home from college and I happened to pull up at this gas station with—you guessed it!—Mary in my car and there at the pump was the same guy who had pummeled me a year before. Same guy! Same girl! What are the chances?
We didn’t speak, but I could tell by his behavior that he recognized me and as I was about to make a clean getaway, after paying for the gas, he threw something in the front seat of my car—right on Mary’s lap…no lie! So, I just peeled outa’ there.
Not able to contain my curiosity, I asked Mary, “What the heck did he throw in the car?!”
“It’s a track, a Christian track, and it talks about having a personal relationship with Jesus.” “No, way!” I shouted. “Yes,” Mary said, “And, on the back, written in pen, is the date he’d accepted Christ as his Savior and Lord.”
“What’s the date?” I blurted out. And, of course, it was the same day I had forgiven him.