No one is perfect, and we all have made mistakes in our lives. When we mess up, we normally ask for forgiveness from the person or people we have wronged. But what happens when what you’ve done has directly affected a large group of people…or your mistake is all over the news.
We are all familiar with Eddie Long and Chris Brown, two men accused of heinous crimes that were plastered all over the news. Pastor Long’s supporters stuck by him, while a large amount of his congregation left his church. And he hit news again when was “crowned king”. (Not sure if that’s completely accurate since I had no interest in watching this ridiculous footage). He did apologize for taking part, but the damage had already been done. And just when America had decided to move on, he comes up in our newsfeed again. Chris Brown did the unthinkable, he put his hands on one of America’s sweethearts. Even though there were rumors of abuse, from both parties, before the Grammy’s of 2009, Rihanna’s battered and bruised face shocked all of us. And Chris Brown was Public Enemy No. 1. Within one year, Chris was working his way back into our hearts. And it seemed as if he was working his way back nicely. Now, people are shaking their heads again due to the former couple teaming up for songs on both of their upccoming albums. Some people say Chris is remorseful and has paid his debt while others think he should be buried never to return to see the light of day again. I have to admit, I’m a C Breezy fan.
I think the one of the most famous men to be redeemed is R. Kelly (I orgininally wasn’t going to talk about him, but he just popped up in my head). I don’t think I need to elaborate.
The main reason why I wanted to write this post was to discuss a certain pastor in Jacksonville, FL. The story of (I refuse to call him Reverend) Darrell Gilyard broke the year I moved to DC. Not to elaborate (you can research the story), but he pled guilty to lewd conduct and lewd molestation of two underage girls who attended his church, which is one of the well-known mega-churches in my old city. After Gilyard was released from jail this past December, he was hired by another church in Jacksonville, to be the pastor. Since Gilyard is a registered sex offender and cannot be around children under the age of 18 due to conditions of his parole, the church has banned children from attending Sunday services. No, I’m not joking and your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Security guards stand at the door and turn away parents who have children with them. The court stilled has not ruled whether children can be allowed in the sanctuary when Gilyard is preaching.
Yes, this man paid his debt to society. But in my humble opinion, this man does not deserve to be in a pulpit, especially since before he came to Jacksonville, he left Texas amid accusations of sexual misconduct. What are we teaching our children when we don’t allow them to come to church? That it’s ok to commit crimes against children as long as you’re a “pastor”; you serve your time and are allowed to come back to the same place where you got in trouble before? Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in forgiveness, but let’s be smart about this. Gilyard should have the decency and common sense to say, “You know what? I need to find something else to do as my career and to earn money.” Yes, the man is almost 50 years old, but I’m sure he can do SOMETHING besides preach.
So I type all this to say, should Gilyard still be preaching? And if so, is it right that children are banned from services? Can we all be redeemed from past bad acts, once we make amends? And is it really that easy to forget someone’s bad deeds? Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.
- Children barred from Florida church where sex offender preaches (guardian.co.uk)
- Today’s Lady News: FL Church Bans Children So It Can Keep Sex Offender Pastor (thefrisky.com)
- Chris Brown earns musical redemption from Rihanna – Moneycontrol.com (moneycontrol.com)