“He is a professed serial killer.” I read the words again, certain that what I had read had been a mistake. It took a few more reads before it began to sink in – and my stomach began to turn.
I knew him – or I guess it would be more correct to say that I was acquainted with the physical person because it became clear that I had NO KNOWLEDGE of him whatsoever. A couple of friends suggested a double date and I agreed. He was a nice guy, but no bells or whistles went off and we left it at that one date. I had a girlfriend that went out with him as well, small towns work out that way sometimes.
It was not long after our double date that he was arrested for murder. It shocked me and I never did believe. We stayed in contact for a while with letters, and I still have him on my prayer list today. Each time our local Kairos visit the prison, I look for his name expecting to see it.
Or I expected before today – today, I am trying to get my head around the idea of “serial killer.”
I released my first novel several years back (RUN - the first in the Big Spring novels). My son and several of my friends teased me that the bad guy was obvious. Now, I am not so sure that an “obvious” bad guy is possible. Call it naiviete' or call it being gullible – who knows, maybe the other person is just awesome at hiding the truth. I spent decades defending the guy because even after the conviction I believed the responsibility belonged to another.
The articles – and even one book reference – went on to talk about the number of cases where he is a suspect. One mentioned dozens of deaths that he had (supposedly) admitted to carrying out. I am left looking around, shaking my head and wondering just how stupid was I (and thanking God that I was lucky to be on a double date).
Despite the shock of his confession, and the realization of the possibilities they imply, I think my biggest emotion is pain. I believed in him. I believed for him. After seeing the article and the image included, I wonder if the effort is even worth it.
But then again, I suspect there are times when my Father looks down at me with the same pain – and yet He never doubts that I was worth it all. I know that He believes in me. I know that He has believed for me. I know that He has acted in a way that will make my journey possible. I still fail, and sometimes mess up in a big way. He is left shaking His head - but I know in my heart that He never wonders if I am worth it.
To Him - I am.
That leaves me in a place of another question - what next? I have to find my way to forgiveness, no matter what the infraction (or how big that infraction).
No matter what he professed and no matter what he did, my job has not changed. I have to believe in him, and believe for him, and lift him up in prayer every day.
More on Forgiveness:
"Letting it go allows peace to stand in its place. I am not offended because I choose not to take offense." - Read more from Forgiveness or Offense
"Forgiveness requires forgetfulness. Forgetting past hurts creates the ability to make a new future." - Read more from Top 20 Lessons Gleaned from Children
"Trust everyone until they give you a reason not to trust them (and then learn how to forgive and how to forget)." From Journey through Reflections - 2009