You and I are called to get involvedBy REV. ROYCE LOTT,
AD-MON-ISH – to reprimand firmly, the Webster guy would say. Well, I won’t say that I often have the place to reprimand anyone firmly, but in this case, may I chastise us, lovingly.
The week of June 18-22, an event tradition continued in this county which has been in the offing for at least five years – Revive Yazoo. To be honest, my travel schedule only permitted that I attend on Tuesday evening, but what a blessing it was to be a part of the pastor-on-pastor foot washing – we are called to serve!
My point is this in raising the issue of Revive Yazoo. On the night I attended less than seventy-five people had turned out for an opportunity of worship, and God is worthy of our worship.
WHAT IF!? What if only ten percent of the people in this county had committed only one night to Revive Yazoo? How would our county have been impacted had approximately 2,500 people spent just one night last week as a part of this unified effort of worship and The Word?
Now on to my article . . . The phone rang a little after 2 AM, and again it was a local sheriff’s deputy. This time the deputy was transporting a sixteen-year-old boy to a detention facility, and the officer wanted to put me on speaker phone so that I could counsel this very shaken young man.
We talked for some forty-five minutes, and I committed to the young man that I would be in court with him the next day.
About 5 AM my phone chimed with a text message telling me to be at the Sheriff’s Office by 7 AM because the detention facility was full. I brought breakfast, and from seven until about nine we talked life, this young man and I. His world had seen a lot of hard places.
When his case came up in youth court, I learned that he was accused of attempting to stab his mother’s live-in, and she made it clear to the court that she didn’t want him back. I then met the accuser, and immediately discounted the entire case. This man (the accuser) had beaten his own son senseless the year before, walked in the door of our office, and literally threw his kid down with these words, “I beat the Hell out of him and ya’ll can do what you want with him. I don’t want him back!”
In court, the mother arose and asked to address the judge. “Your honor, my son is accused of threatening the man who lives with me, and he doesn’t want him back in our house. To be honest sir, I’ve been with five men, and this man has a six-figure income, and I enjoy being with him. So, I cannot take him home with me, and it really doesn’t matter to me what you choose to do with him.”
The judge then ordered the court referee and me to contact the young man’s father. On a conference call, the birth-father of the child proceeded to curse the judge, the referee, me, and the lawyers all sitting in the room on the conference call. He then politely told us that we could do whatever we wished with his “S.O.B.” child and hung up.
For the remainder of the day, the court referee and I were charged by the judge with the task of finding a shelter for this child until further investigation could be done, and all of the details of this VERY destroyed family could be sorted out.
We processed case after case as the court docket continued to be worked, and in between cases, through lunch, and by text, as other cases were being worked, we both worked diligently to find a facility for the child, as DHS could not take his case because of the charges against him.
Now, late in the afternoon, with all other cases concluded, we reconvened on this young man’s case and called his family into the courtroom. IN FRONT OF THE CHILD, the mother again espoused her desire for this man and his money and clearly stated that she did not want him back, as he would interfere with her current relationship.
The judge then looked at the referee and me for a solution. The referee spoke up. “Your honor, I regret to say that Brother Royce and I have not been able to find a single facility which can take this child – possibly for as much as seventy-two hours. However, I have arranged for the young man to go to the regional adult men’s prison until we can house him otherwise. Please be assured that the young man will be in an isolation cell, and will have no contact with adult prisoners since he is a minor child,” the referee concluded.
In a moment, without even a second thought, I knew the Spirit of the Lord had risen up in me, and I stood, asking permission to address the court. I began, “Your honor, may I please address the court?” The judge acknowledged me and gave me permission to proceed. “Your honor, I have a long-standing relationship with this court, and with you personally, sir. I in no way feel comfortable sending this young man to an isolation facility for possibly seventy-two hours. If it pleases the court, I would ask permission to be granted that I take temporary legal custody of this minor child until further arrangements can be made.”
The judge, with a shocked look on his face spoke up. “Brother Royce, yes, this court has enjoyed and appreciates the relationship we enjoy with you, but do you recall the charges against this young man?”
“I do, your honor,” I continued. “I’m not afraid of him. I’ve been getting to know him since two this morning, and I in no way fear taking this child home with me today.”
When all was said and done, the court granted me temporary legal custody, and the young man got in my car as we all said our goodbyes and the day of court concluded. We had no more gotten out of the parking lot of the courthouse when the young man spoke up. “Dude, can I ask you a question,” he spoke looking at me with eyes of deep curiosity. “Why did you do that!? You don’t know me!” – He continued, “Dude I have to tell you. Either you’re the nicest guy on the planet, or you should be getting a Crazy Check every month,” He exclaimed! – I laughed out loud, and simply replied, “To tell you the truth, son, it’s probably a little of both – but mostly the crazy part.”
Well, seventy-two hours came and went, and the story had just begun. This temporary custody of a child torn by the circumstances of dysfunction, drugs, and self-serving pursuit ended up as a child living in our home and being my legal charge for fourteen MONTHS!
You see friends; I continue to preach it, because the word commands. YOU AND I are called to be the people who stand in the gap. (Ezekiel 22)
August 5th YOU have the opportunity to get in the game and get involved as our ministerial association hosts a back-to-school event at Parkview designed to address the crises which are gripping this county, as well as clearly an opportunity to present the truth that CHRIST ALONE is the answer. PLEASE put this event on your calendar now.
Thank you in advance, Brother Royce