I have basically kept silent about a lot of unfortunate occurrences that have taken place in my life over the last 10 years. I have basically allowed anyone who had an opinion about my life to say and do just about anything with impunity. Although I would never respond physically to such aspersions, I can’t say that the thought has never crossed my mind.
Fortunately, my pastor, the Rev. Donald Jenkins, preached a sermon this past Sunday at St. Paul United Methodist Church on God’s desire for us to be witnesses for Jesus. “Go throughout the world and make disciples of men!” he said. Anyone who has ever suffered for one reason or another, rightly or wrongly, and has been brought to the cross by God’s grace and mercy needs to share their story with everybody.
I thought my only obligation was to simply display my ability to withstand the violent and abusive language and horrible misinterpretations of how I have tried to live my life. I have always known that God was in charge of everything and that no one can take that away or change it into something else.
I mentioned in one of my previous columns that while I was serving my prison sentence at Butner, I was drawn to Martin Luther King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail. Soon after the piece was published, I was sent an article written by a columnist accusing me of portraying myself as Dr. King. That, of course, was not the case. I was simply stating that, like King, no weapon formed against me shall prosper – not even prison bars.
The long and short of it is that God changed my life. He showed me that there was only one perfect person who has ever graced this Earth – Jesus. But God forgives, and He equips us with everything we need to live in this world. He taught me that one does not need to live in the lap of luxury in order to be happy and content. No, I’m not a preacher, just a soldier for Jesus.
I’m not worried about anything. I’m not worried about anyone. And I’m not angry with anybody. I just want to do God’s will. I know you’ve heard that before, but that sincerely reflects my present condition.
This is my declaration to all who may have by intent or accident tried to –and succeeded, perhaps – in mistreating or belittling me: I forgive you, unconditionally. And, yes, I do know who you are.
You don’t owe me an apology. Just pray for me and pray for our people – that we will get to know God and claim Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
Ernie Pitt is the co-founder and publisher of the Winston-Salem Chronicle. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.