Pastor’s Love Stops Would-Be Gunman In His Tracks During Sermon On Community Violence (VIDEO)

Here’s proof positive that love can stop a bullet and not only save lives, but make a life, as well.

New Year’s Eve, Pastor Larry Wright was delivering a sermon on all the senseless killings in his Fayetteville, N.C., community when a man entered Heal the Land Outreach Ministries holding a rifle in one hand and a magazine filled with ammo in the other, on the verge of committing America’s latest gun tragedy.

“I’m the first person to see him and when I saw him, I thought it was a dummy gun, but then I saw the bullet clip in his hand and the bullets were shining,” Wright said, who has lived in Fayetteville since 1976 and retired from the Army sergeant first class.

Wright was terrified the gunman might still have one round in the chamber, but he summoned the courage and faith to walk up to him and ask, “Can I help you?”

The Heal the Land pastor of the past 16 years said if things took a turn for the worse he was prepared to tackle the potential mass shooter. But then, instead of firing on the pastor or congregation, the distraught man in his late 20s or early 30s asked Wright to pray for him.

The pastor and second-term city councilman then took the gun from the man and handed it off to a nearby deacon. Then, in a true act of humanitarian beauty, three deacons took turns hugging the man in order to surround him with love.

This is all going on in front of a terrified, silent and astonished congregation, remember, scared for their lives but simultaneously witnessing what many are sure to call a miracle.

“And then I began to minister to him and pray to him and talk with him,” Wright stated.

At 20 to midnight, Wright asked the man to sit up front and wait for him to finish the New Year’s Eve sermon and altar call.

“I finished the message, I did the altar call and he stood right up, came up to the altar, and gave his life to Christ,” he said. “I came down and prayed with him and we embraced. It was like a father embracing a son.”

After the service, Wright informed the born again man with a whisper in his ear that police were waiting for him in the vestibule for scaring the congregation, at which point the man asked if he could address the room. To the approximate 60 church-goers sitting in the pews the man apologized, sharing with them that he’d intended to do something awful that night, but felt that somehow the Lord had spoken to him. He told the pastor he’d only been out of prison a short time, that he had a new wife and a good new job, yet he was distraught, overwhelmed and out of sorts.

Sixty-seven-year-old congregant Sylvester Loving said, “I think that night the spirit of God was definitely in the place.”

Another member of the congregation, Allison Woods, said she was sitting in the back of the church when the gunmen entered.

“It didn’t seem real because it was like the scripture that our pastor was reading, it was like it came off the page,” she shared. “It’s the next day, when you think of all that could have happened, what could have gone wrong, it sinks in how terrible it could have gone wrong.”

One also has the time, the following day, to reflect on the awesome, life-saving power of love, too. Wright could have simply tackled the distraught man and held him down until authorities carted him off, and no one would have blamed him in the slightest, but what would that have meant for the distraught young man fighting angels and devils on the fence of his conscience? Certainly it would have helped seal his ultimate doom, lost to mental imbalances and violence.

“It’s so hard to describe, to explain the excitement and love of God in the room. This man came in to do harm and he has given his life to Christ,” Wright said.

Folks noticed the gunman pacing outside the building as they made their way into the Watch Night service, around 10 p.m., but hadn’t thought much of it.

According to Wright, the man voluntarily surrendered to authorities after the service. Lt. David McLaurin said the man was willing to commit himself to a medical center for a mental evaluation and the police took him straight away. His whereabouts are currently unknown to McLaurin, nor does the lieutenant know if the man will be charged with a crime. Later reports state the man was, in fact, not criminally charged.

“He apparently did not threaten anyone or make a crime,” he said.

As later reports indicate, the man actually didn’t mean any harm. He came back to the church and apologized for the incident, explaining that he is a veteran struggling with PTSD, who can’t afford his medication. He also said his wife had just been diagnosed with a debilitating disease and that they were struggling financially so much their power had just been turned off. He said someone had given him the gun, but he sought to turn it in to the church because he felt it would be a safe place to do so. Being a felon, he was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm. He then thanked the congregation and is now seeking membership in the Heal the Land Outreach Ministries. Members of the congregation say they are fully willing to welcome him.

“I’m not afraid of him,” one member said. “Not anymore.”

Even atheists can dig the faith shown in love in this story, God aside. Pastor Wright’s quick thinking and genuine heart shined with love, as did the church’s, and lives were saved as a result. Not only did no one get shot, injured or die, but that distraught man’s life may just have been made anew that night, thereby creating new life where one was about to dreadfully crash and burn into the infamous annals of America’s violent history, and the means for that transformation, for that evolution, was love.

It looks like the Beatles were right.

Featured image courtesy of Pigmine 7 YouTube video screen capture.