Summary: It was one of the most painful events of my life. But how could I not forgive Everett, as I viewed my own sin.
THE JOURNEY OF FORGIVENESS
THEME: FORGIVENESS IS EMPOWERED THROUGH BEING FORGIVEN.
TEXT: MATTHEW 18:23-35
You are stupid Matthew. I must have heard that line over two hundred times over a period of two months. It was 2002 in Bedford, Texas, at the Brown Trail School of preaching. Everett one of the instructors whom was in charge of the student body decided that I had a pride problem that he was going to solve. He also decided that I was not firmly grounded in the truth according to the school. So for the next two months, I was required to meet with him for lunch. During these periods of lunch, he would assign extra work for me to complete and to evaluate. Some of the books that were assigned I was already meant to read, but I had to read them again. I guess he did not feel that I took in all the necessary information during the first go around. I was supposed to address what parts of the book I agreed and disagreed with. It took me awhile to realize that I was supposed to agree with everything in the books.
Everett must not have felt that I was developing as quickly as he expected so he called in my former roommate to help put on the pressure. My first roommate and I never really seemed to click. We were opposites in most directions. He moved out by the end of the first year because he got married. So instead of one person interrogating me, I had two. Everett and my former roommate were good friends, and it was hard for me to not feel teamed up on.
Each session was getting worst and worst. I feel that any good intention Everett had was dropping quickly. He seemed intent on showing me for what I really was. He kept declaring that everyone thought I was such a nice person, but he really knew the true Matthew. It was like a personal Vedanta. I would be the first to admit I have a pride problem. I will be the first to admit I got numerous character flaws, but these sessions were more of the witch trails in Salem. These sessions would run over into class as Everett pounded his message in my head. Today, I am not sure about all the conversation back and forth. All I remember is being insulted. I would start crying and confessing that I was stupid for not believing this or that. Everett would continue to remind me that I wasted my time at Brown Trail. I am not the brightest person around. But I remember it was not pleasant to be reminded of the fact. Walking out of those meetings made me feel like a piece of dirt. I was worthless and weak. Everett told me that I would never make it as a preacher and I should just quit trying.
Personally, I did not know what to do. I was at this school with no family. I knew no one in the city that was not part of the church. I felt alone. It was like walking into the ring for a fight and having two people team up on you hitting you over and over again. I just hoped that it would come to an end. I was just a kid and the bully would not leave me alone.
I hated Everett, I hated going to school to be belittled. I hated life. I started getting nosebleeds because of the stress I was feeling. I did not want to get kicked out of school. I did not break any moral rule. I did not do poorly in class. I had straight “A” through out school. What did I do to deserve this? Finally, the meetings stopped. At that point I was just looking forward to graduating school. I made it through. But on the last day of school I had one more oral exam with Everett. I was shocked when Everett one more time attacked me. It was the worst yet. He put his face into my face and was yelling at me at the top of his lungs. You are stupid Matthew. You will never amount to anything. You are a failure. I could not believe it. I was on my way out and he is taking the time to abuse me some more. I think he was hoping that I would hit him so I would be kicked out of school before graduation. Fortunately, I did not; I just put my head down and prayed that it would be fast. I finally left his office. I thought I was home free until he called me in the office again. One more time, he let me have it. This time I did not cry, be honest I was not paying any attention to him. It was the last trail, and I was not going to give him the satisfaction of beating me up one more time. He dismissed me and I walked out.