Emmett Byers (not his real name) was a member of a Catholic church I attended in a different place a long time ago. I got to know him over a period of time in Bible study in a church basement classroom, along with a group of fervent Catholics. He liked me and valued my opinions on Church matters, so we often spoke freely of religion and controversies. One night in particular, a rather misty evening as I recall, Emmett confided the night’s Bible study topic had really shaken him, especially the part where we discussed that God perceives our thoughts.
That’s when Emmett said it. I couldn’t believe it. He harbored homosexual thoughts on rare occasions ever since he was a youngster in college. However he swore he has never acted on these thoughts. Emmett quickly, almost apologetically, blamed the origin of these wicked thoughts as beginning during his so-called experimental days in college when he also smoked weed and read Azimov.
Thoughts? Was he going to go where I thought he was? I hoped not.
His eyes scanned the distance for the coming of an angry God while he nearly whispered to me that the Lord surely must know. God created us, he babbled, our inmost selves; the frames of our very existence. And God knows our thoughts.
Was Emmett damned? The Bible shows what the fate of homosexuals will be (not good); but are those who merely think about committing grave sins, such as homosexuality, equally damned?
Well ol’ Emmett sure worked himself into an emotional lather on that cold night, convinced that his eternal soul was indeed damned. It still cracks me up, though. Emmett had a deep southern accent and pronounced eternal as ‘tarnal;’ and saying such while he was on the verge of tears was almost too much for me. It took everything I had to keep from laughing. Instead I composed myself, looked him square in the eyes, and placed my hands solidly on his shoulders. I tried to reassure him God would make things clear, but that he needed to go home and pray about it, to ask the Lord for guidance.
He should have listened to me.
(to be continued)