At 11:30 pm, a man interrupted the New Year’s Eve service, entering with rifle held high and intent on harm. Congregants bolted for the doors.
The incredible story all began halfway through the service on Thursday night, in front of a crowd of 60 people, WNCN News reports.
Pastor Larry Wright immediately confronted the man, and instead of shooting, the intruder began to open up about his past. He admitted he was intent on doing evil things, but then gave up his rifle and shared about being recently released from prison. He also told the pastor he was a veteran.
Wright called other men from the congregation to embrace the stranger and pray for him. “The power of God hit, and he fell to his knees and began to cry,” Wright continued.
The man then apologized to the congregation and proclaimed his faith in Jesus. Police came to remove the man, but not until after the service. He has not been charged, but is receiving treatment.
For all the terrible news stories out there, it’s a shame this one isn’t receiving more coverage. The brave, quick-thinking reaction of the pastor almost certainly saved dozens of lives that night, including that of the would-be murderer. The touching image of potential mass-shooting victims embracing the man who was seconds away from shooting them, and praying for him, is enough to restore at least a glimmer of faith in humanity. That’s a difficult glimmer to maintain sometimes.
So while armed citizens are necessary to prevent awful things like this from happening, that should only be a last resort. In this case, the pastor risked his own life to approach an evil man, and the best possible result came about.