One night, many years ago, when Sally and I were living in Louisville, I was awoken by what I thought was an intruder. There had been reports of some break-ins in the area, and someone had recently broken one of our garage windows. Startled from my sleep, strange noises pierced the darkness! I detected movement, like things being shuffled around, and something that sounded like it had been knocked off a shelf and smashed on the floor. Suddenly, I was on high alert! I felt an adrenaline rush and every hair on my body was was standing on end! I tiptoed into the kitchen and then into the family room thinking maybe it was just something that fell over on its own inside the house, but the disturbing sounds persisted. I realized that they were coming from the attached garage. I surmised that the only thing between an intruder to our home and me was the locked door to the garage, and an intruder could easily smash it open with one swift kick. What should I do? How could I protect Sally and myself? Should I open the door and confront the intruder, or should I call the police and hope that they would arrive on time? I had to think quickly.
So, I came up with a plan. I went back into the kitchen and grabbed the largest butcher knife that I could find, and snatched up the wireless phone. My plan was to quietly exit the front door of the house, slip into the driver’s side door of my car that was parked outside the garage on the driveway, open the garage door using the remote, turn on the headlights, surprise the burglar in the act of rummaging through my garage and call the police. I would be safely locked inside the car, should the intruder decide to come after me.
After tiptoeing to my car, getting inside and quietly clicking the door shut, the moment of truth had arrived. It felt like my heart would beat through my chest! With the butcher knife in one hand, and the garage remote in the other, I pushed the button. As the door slowly raised, I flipped the headlights on bright. Something else crashed off a shelf and a startled, masked intruder ran towards me, took a sharp left, then a right, and then sprinted off into the darkness of night! To my relief, the masked “intruder” turned out to only be a curious raccoon that apparently had entered the garage at some point when the door was left open. I was greatly relieved. My night of terror had a happy ending.
An actual home invasion is a serious matter, however, especially when the invasion involves the loss of a loved one. Such is the story of Louis Barrios, who publicly forgave his mother’s murderer. “Forgiving the Unforgivable” includes an exclusive filmed interview with Barrios. His mother, Viola Barrios, was killed in her home in San Antonio, Texas. She was a well-known restaurateur, often featured on nationally televised cooking shows. Her violent murder shocked the community. “But her son’s response was even more surprising,” said Lifetree’s Craig Cable. This is the final episode of the Lifetree Small Group Series, “Authentic Forgiveness.” Hopefully, none of us will have to deal with the horrors of a home invasion. This story, however, will inspire most people and will be especially helpful for anyone dealing with forgiveness issues. You are invited to share your story or just listen at Crossing Community Church in Room 130 on Thursday, March 31st at 7:00 p.m.