Gawd Loves a Sinner
© 2012 Donald M. Hart
“Gawd loves a sinner. Are you with me? I said Gawd luvs a sinner. You ask me how I know Gawd luvs a sinner? He told me so.” Preacher Billy Bob Burton paused for effect. He knew how to excite a crowd.
It was nothing for the folks attending The True Pentecostal Holiness Church of God to be roused into a frenzy of shouting, clapping hands, running up and down the aisles, speaking in tongues and confessing of all kinds of sins. As a matter of fact, it was expected. That was the reason people came to hear Preacher Burton give his Sunday morning sermons.
“Gawd luvs a sinner because a sinner is a lost sheep, and a lost sheep needs to be found. And finding lost sheep is the duty of a Sanctified, Baptized by the Holy Ghost, and lead by the rightly divided word of Gawd, Pentecostal Preacher, and a man of Gawd.”
“As I look about this here Congregation, I can see, by the divine grace of Gawd, who is a sinner and who has backslidden. I can tell it by the looks on yer faces and by the way you’s squirm in your seats. Gawd has given me the ability to know when you’re hiding something. And by what I can see there is a whole lot of you’s that need repenting. And I aim to preach to ya until every last one of you’s that have sinned and not asked forgiveness come to the alter and pray for that forgiveness. It’s my duty as a man of Gawd to lead the misguided back onto the path of righteousness. It is this path that leads to glory and everlasting life. For it is written, ‘That all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of Gawd’.”
Holley Denbrough was trying not to let her countenance betray her sin. She had sex with a boy out of wedlock. She knew that it was considered a sin to do so, but she had been weak and wrapped up in desire. She was only 17, and new to the aching of the flesh. But her date last night, Paul Riddle, a senior and all-American quarterback had been too much for her defenses. The evening started out with a dinner and a movie that was “R” rated – which was also viewed as a sin. After the movie, Paul drove to the top of Paris Mountain to a secluded spot under the towers of TV stations. They began kissing and one thing led to another and before long Holley was no longer a virgin. As she thought of the past evenings events, a slow rise in temperature began in her feet and made its way to her head and along the way caused her face to turn red.
Holley bowed her head hoping Preacher Burton hadn’t noticed her face turn red. She felt ashamed. She knew she had sinned and was scared of going to Hell. What was she supposed to do? She couldn’t tell anybody because it might get back to her family, and they would surely tell Preacher Burton and ask for his guidance. If that happened, the preacher would make her stand in front of the congregation and openly confess her sin then have her kneel at the altar and pray for forgiveness.
“Holley. Holley Denbrough.”
Startled by her name being called she raised her head. As she did, another flash of heat suffused her face. It was the Preacher who was calling her name. Her eyes met the Preachers, and his gaze seemed to bore a hole into her head. Tears started to run out of the corners of her eyes. He knew. But how could he? There was no way for him to know. But he did. He had to because he had called her out. Holley didn’t know what to do. She just sat frozen; not even daring to breath.
“Holley, am I boring you, honey? Cause if I am I surely do apologize.”
Holley didn’t know what to do now. She just stared.
“Holley, there’s no need for tears. Everyone sooner or later gets bored and dozes off during a sermon. It’s not a sin. Hold your head up, now, and pay attention.”