Forgiveness – part 2

continued from part 1

He heard the door to the bathroom open as the light and fan were turned off. Dr. Crosby made his way back to his seat without saying anything. He sat down, leaning on his left side for comfort, and took a deep breath as he starred over at Justin. "Figure it out yet?"


"Do you want me to explain it to you?" Dr. Crosby didn't speak as if he was talking down to Justin, but Justin took it that way.

"Not really. You know, since I'm past the point of not knowing, to the point where I just don't care anymore." His stance against Christianity became stronger as he sat forward in his chair. He pocketed his quarter and began to rub his hands together.

"Then I guess that means you're happy, and my professional help isn't needed." Dr. Crosby tried to speak calmly, and without emotion, but you could have heard his heart break inside of a tornado. Then he said something that Justin didn't expect. "It's that or you just don't want to face the fact that you're thinking about killing yourself."

"And what if I do?" Justin almost shouted as he stood up. He felt very powerful as he looked down on Dr. Crosby. "If there is a God, and if He loves me, then won't he stop me from sending myself to hell? Oh wait," he stated sarcastically. "I forgot. He gave you a psycho dad that screwed your leg up forever. Well, why doesn't this super loving God come down and heal you, huh? You know, how Jesus did in that fairy tale story you call the Bible. How come you're not healed?” Justin was raging, but Dr. Crosby didn't feel threatened. He just sat there and took the verbal abuse. “The Bible says that you guys should have the power to heal each other, right? You know, that whole 'faith' thing. I mean, I'm not ignorant. I've read it. I've read it quite a few times, and it gets stupider and stupider every time I read it. I mean, come on. You got God killing kids with bears. Just . . . just look at Noah and the Ark. God killed everyone but eight people! Everyone! What's the big deal if I can't take it anymore, and I'm tired of trying? Really? Why would your God care about me? He hasn't shown me He cares, and from the looks of you hobbling from the bathroom, I can guess that He doesn't care about you either."

Dr. Crosby just sat quietly as he heard Justin say all the things to him that he had spoken some twenty years ago to his mother. They were almost word for word. He gave Justin the answer his mother had given him. The one he didn't want to hear at the time either. "God didn't do this to me, Justin. Satan did."

Justin felt so disgusted by what Dr. Crosby said that he spit in the floor. "Well, if Satan did it, then it's only because your God let him do it. Satan is only the bad guy because your God made him that way. What am I saying? I don't even believe any of this anymore. It's all a bunch of crap. There is no God. He hasn't healed you, I don't care what you've done. Your faith is meaningless. It's an absolute waste of your time." Justin stood there fuming, but amazingly enough, he didn't leave. Dr. Crosby felt a tugging to venture a question.

"Something happened to you that no one knows about, right?" Justin froze in disbelief. Dr. Crosby knew he hit a week spot. Thank you, Lord, he prayed to himself.

“Something happens to everyone,” Justin said as he sat back down. “That's just the way it goes.”

“I know,” Dr. Crosby admitted. He was continuing carefully, trying to get Justin to the edge, but also trying to keep him from jumping off. “But something specific happened to you that severed any relationship you use to have with God. I don't know if you ever really believed in Him, but I don't think you hated Him as much as you sound like you do now.”

“Like I said,” Justin repeated himself. “Something happens to everyone.”

Dr. Crosby opened the small refrigerator door and pulled out two waters. He threw one to Justin, who caught it, but never opened it. Dr. Crosby opened his and took a long drink from it. “You still believe in God. No one could hate someone that much and not believe in them. Look at little kids. They believe in monsters, so they fear them. If they didn't believe in them then they wouldn't fear them, right? I'm not sure about that point because I just thought of it, but I think it makes sense.”

Justin looked at Dr. Crosby hopelessly. “Just because you believe in something doesn't make it real. Those monsters that kids are afraid of aren't real.”

Dr. Crosby nodded in agreement “That's true enough, but there are things out there that are very real, and worth being frightened of. Either way I think I made my point.”

“If you did then I missed it.”

Dr. Crosby finished his water and twisted it down till it was a stump of its former self. “I just proved to you that you still believe in God. I think that's progress. Now we can work on why you hate Him.”

Justin stop agitating and sat still after hearing Dr. Crosby's statement. He knew he was right. He didn't feel like fighting with him about it.

“Now if it's okay with you, I'd like to talk about what happened to make you hate Him.” Dr. Crosby hooked the crushed bottle just as he did with the cheese puff bag, but missed by a good five feet. He shrugged over to Justin. “Hit or miss, huh?”

Justin slowly looked up at him. His face wore the signs of defeat. “I guess.”

“Was it a girl?” Dr. Crosby asked.

Justin was floored. “I didn't even tell my dad about her. How'd you know?”

“It's always a girl. Well, not always, but most teen depression comes from relationship issues. Remember how I said most parental abuse comes from fathers who don't turn out the way they want to?”


“Well, I know you probably don't want to hear it, but, 'there's nothing new under the sun.” It's Bible, but its truth. I'm not trying to lump your problems into a mold, but you're not the only one to go through it, and we can learn from previous cases on how to treat and remedy the problem. You do know it's a problem to want to kill yourself, right?”

“Yeah,” Justin admitted without hesitation. “I know.”

“Here's a better question. Your dad didn't know anything about this girl. Was it someone you were seeing that you think he wouldn't have approved of?”

Justin smiled for the first time in a while. “Oh yeah,” he said slowly.


“Cause she was as far away from a church girl as you could get.” Dr. Crosby could see the infatuation Justin had for her. “She's this cute little goth girl that lives for the moment.” Just talking about her made his face glow. That was until the light started to fade and hate filled his eyes. He went silent.

“It's the ones we love that have the power to hurt us the most,” Dr. Crosby said to let Justin know he understood.

“What . . .” Justin began to ask what Dr. Crosby could know about it, but then remembered the doctor's story about his father. He wanted to say something that detached himself from Dr. Crosby, but he couldn't find anything. He had to settle with the fact that Dr. Crosby understood and that made him mad.

“It's okay if people understand what you’re going through.” Justin looked floored at what he said. He was scared Dr. Crosby was reading his mind. “I know you think that no one can, and I also know that's what's given you that sense of hopelessness, but I want to make sure you realize that I get it and I've come out of it. You can too, but you have to want it.”

“But I do,” Justin confessed. He looked up at the ceiling as he took a huge breath. “I mean, I do, but I don't.” He starred over a Dr. Crosby with disbelief in his eyes. “What are you doing to me? I came here to make my dad happy, but I wasn't going to do all this.”

Dr. Crosby grinned at the humor of what Justin said. “Actually you did. That's why we are doing this. If you really didn't want to, then you wouldn't have.”

“But I didn't,” Justin said, trying to make Dr. Crosby understand. “You're doing something that makes me want to talk.”

“It's cause you know I really care. You know I've been through something similar. I wouldn't talk to anyone about my rage, including God, until I knew that he understood what I was going through.”

Justin let out a very faint, breathy laugh as he rubbed his eyes. “God understands all right, but only from your dad's point of view. He was the one that stood by as they beat Jesus to a bloody pulp.”

“But why did the Father let them, 'beat Jesus to a bloody pulp,' as you put it?”

Justin played along, but didn't think the doctor could talk his way out of the hole Justin thought he was in. “So Jesus could die for our sins so we could have a relationship with Him.” He said that last part with a wave of his hands and an expression of false longing.

Dr. Crosby couldn't help but feel like he was looking in a mirror as Justin mocked his beliefs. He now understood what his mother felt like when they had their arguments so long ago. “He paid the price for our sins so we could be forgiven. It was all about forgiveness, Justin. That's what this whole thing is about. It came up even before we started talking. It worked for me with my father, it worked for Cheryl at my church, and it will work for you if you let it.”

“I don't want God's forgiveness,” Justin stated, bluntly.

“I know that,” Dr. Crosby said as if it was common knowledge. “I'm talking about you forgiving that girl that hurt you. I'm lead to believe you don't want to though, but not because of the reason you’re thinking of.”

Justin was getting tired of Dr. Crosby's half answers. He knew he was doing it to get Justin to talk, but he went with it because he really wanted to know the answer. “And what reason is that?”

“Well, let me first restate that because I think I said it in a way that could make you think I believe you're stupid. I want you to know that I do not believe that at all. I just know why you don't want to forgive her”

“If that's an apology, then it's cool,” Justin said, still waiting for the answer.

“Good. Well, first I believe your reason for not forgiving her is because she hurt you.” Dr. Crosby raised his eyebrow and gave a small smile after he spoke. Justin did the same as he gently nodded his head waiting for the real answer. “The real reason you don't want to forgive her is because that means you have to let her go. Your unforgiveness still gives you the feeling that she is a part of your life. The heart breaking news is that she isn't. She's gone.” Dr. Crosby knew this was hitting Justin hard. He stopped talking and gave Justin time to take it all in. He could tell it was slowly sinking in as Justin's eyes flittered around in their sockets as if looking for something. He found one word floating around in his brain so he spoke it.

“No,” he said softly. “She made promises,” he said, starting to stammer, “and she, she told me she loved me. She, she said that we were destined to be together. She lied. She left me for someone else. She lied to me. I hate her. I hate her more than anything.” He looked up at Dr. Crosby in a quizzical manner. “Why would I not want to let her go?”

Dr. Crosby was taken aback. “Well, I can only say what I think.”

“No,” Justin said, surprising Dr. Crosby. “You're right. I don't want to let her go even after everything she did to me.” A frown began to form on Justin's face and his eyes squeezed shut trying to fight back tears. “Why? I hate her, I really do, but . . . she promised me everything. She told me she loved me. She was the first to person to do that. I mean, we had so much in common. Weird, right, because she was Goth and I’m… well, I’m me, but she loved everything I did, and we had so much fun.” Justin wiped his eyes off with his shirt sleeve. Dr. Crosby knew better than to embarrass him any more by offering him a tissue.

“That I can't answer,” Dr. Crosby said, almost apologetically. “I won't even try, but I do believe strongly in the fact that you have to let her go, and that the only way you can do this is by forgiving her. I don't know if you can do that now, but I'm holding out hope for it.”

“I use to believe in God,” Justin said through pleading eyes.

Dr. Crosby swallowed hard. “You still do.”

“Not like that,” Justin said as he wiped his eyes again. “I used to believe in everything you do. I use to believe that Jesus was the only way. I used to worship Him, and everything. I even received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. What happened? Where did He go?”

“He didn't go anywhere, Justin. Where did you go? I mean, why did you fall in love with this girl in the first place? I'm not saying that you can't be a Christian and wear all black, but you said yourself that she was the farthest thing from a church girl.”

“She found me,” Justin explained. Dr. Crosby could see the infatuation rise in Justin's eyes again as he relived their meeting. “I was painting a back drop after school for a play and she gave me a complement. She had a small role in it and stayed after to measure for her costume. It had to be resized because she was taking the part for a girl that got hurt that was already sized for the outfit. We talked a little after that and I invited her to hang out with me and some of my friends. We did and my friends attacked her for being Goth. I stood up for her and we started to hang out with her friends instead of mine. I thought they were pushing her away from God, you know, and I was going to try and meet her where she was. I tried to talk to her about God, and at first I thought I was making some progress, but then she . . . well, she kind of got me to, huh. We um . . .”

“You became physical,” Dr. Crosby answered and asked at the same time.

“Yeah,” Justin said shaking his head. “Me. 'Mr. Abstinent'. It happened one day, and I made excuses for everything, even though I didn't tell my dad cause I knew it was wrong.”

Dr. Crosby held up a hand as if confused. “Not to say anything against you, but why did she come after you? Didn't your Christianity make her uncomfortable?”

“I wasn't who I usually was, Doc,” Justin said, rather informal. “She's hot. She dressed hot, she talked hot. She even complemented something I was making. She loved my artwork. She'd start sulking if I didn't draw her at least five or six pictures a week. She needed me, and she wanted me. How could I not be drawn to her? It was only a matter of time until we got physical.”

“So you never really left God,” Dr. Crosby pointed out. “You just ignored him for quite some time.”

“And now I hate Him,” Justin said as he again, pulled his quarter out and started rolling it on the back of his fingers.

“How can you hate him? You left Him.” Dr. Crosby stood up and scratched the back of his head. “I didn't know God when my dad did what he did. I heard my parents say things to me about Him, but I didn't have the understanding that you had when this all happened to you. You know that you weren't in His will when you went after this girl. I'm sure your heart was in the right place at first, but she became nothing more than a temptation. She became your god. Now you're mad at God because you turned your back on him to follow some girl who told you she loved you, but in the end cheated on you for someone else. This is what God promises us will happen if we turn from him and follow our own ways. You knew it was wrong all along, but you still did it, and now you’re blaming God for it?”

“But I thought He was going to protect me from these types of things?” Justin asked truthfully. “I wanted to use that meeting to talk to her about the gospel, but instead I fell in love.”

Dr. Crosby looked down at him. He seemed so small as he sat on the chair with despair written all over his face. Justin looked drained and while Dr. Crosby felt compassion for him he couldn't begin to understand what Justin was going through emotionally. He married the first person that he fell in love with. Justin was tempted and fell. It was Satan through and through. He gets us to give everything we have to something that's not God, and then dash us to pieces with it. He especially felt sorry for the girl Justin spoke of. She was nothing more than a pawn in Satan's army. He realized he was just looking at Justin and cleared his throat.

“He says that He will be with you, but He also says that there will be times of temptation.”

“So what does this all mean? I mean, I guess I know I shouldn't be, but I'm still mad at God, and I really don't want anything to do with Him. Does that mean I've lost my faith?”

Dr. Crosby rubbed his eyes with the palm of his hands. He let his hands drop to his side and let out a deep breath. “No clue. This is one subject that I've studied, but I really don't have a clean cut answer. The Bible says that if you can walk away from the faith, then you never had it in the first place. It also talks about during the parable of the sower that the cares of the world come and choke what we have. Only you and God can really know if you were really saved before all of this happened, but my main care is that you're away from Him.”

“I can tell you for a fact that I was saved,” Justin protested. “It was either Christ or nothing with me. Now it's just nothing. You were right when you said that I still believe in him, I’ll give you that, but it's just that I don't really care.”

Dr. Crosby looked puzzled. “I thought you said that you didn't know. Now it's that you know, but you don't care. Which is it?”

“It's both,” Justin confessed. “The fact that I don't care anymore makes me wonder if I really did know. Maybe that means I was never really saved, but like I said. I don't care. I know your right about forgiving Chloe, and I can use that, but I'm just not ready for the whole God thing again.”

Dr. Crosby sat down and leaned back in his chair. “I can't make you do something you don't want to. I am happy to see that your taking my advice on forgiving Chloe, but I would like for you to come back and we can talk some more about everything else. That's only if you want to, though.”

Justin shrugged his shoulders and smiled. “I guess I can do that. Does this mean were done?”

Dr. Crosby leaned forward and peaked up at a clock on his wall. “Yup, times up, and I have to meet my daughter. I really enjoyed this, though. We got a lot out in the open quickly. I like that.” Dr. Crosby reached into his wallet and gave Justin a business card. “That's got my cell on it if you need to talk about . . . you know.”

Justin pocketed the card and stood, causing Dr. Crosby to do the same. “Thanks.”

“I mean it,” Dr. Crosby pressed, but then seemed to realize something. “Well, call me, but please tell someone else if you can’t reach me. Tell your parents or call 911 if you need too.”

“Okay,” Justin said. “I do appreciate it. Really. I don't want some Bible bash, though. I'll come but we have to keep the God talk to a minimum.”

“I may not be holding the Bible when we meet, but my wisdom comes from it. That sounds prideful, but it’s the truth. I won't give you any, 'Thus saith the Lord,' but I will quote it when I see fit.” Dr. Crosby laughed a little. “It’s why I’m private pay. I fully believe that God has the answer to all our problems, so it’s almost darn near impossible for me to not bring Him up. I'm not going to yell at you, of course, and you're free to believe what you will, but that's how I am. If you want to meet with me, then you get all of me. Deal?”

Justin pressed his lips and squinted his eyes while he thought. “It's a deal. Same time next week?”

“Yup. I'm going to follow you out. I’d like to talk to your father for a second.”

Justin showed signs of worry. “Are you going to tell him about all the things we talked about?”

Dr. Crosby turned to look at him, “Well, not all of it. He is your father, what the industry so lovingly refers to as your ‘guardian’, and you did admit that you have suicidal ideations. I need to confirm that suspicion and talk to him about treatment planning. Everything else is between you and me. I recommend you talking to him about everything, though. It’s in your best interest to get it all out so you can begin to get beyond it.”

“Do you really have to tell him,” Justin asked.

“I do,” Dr. Crosby admitted. “I hope you are okay with that.”

“I guess I am,” Justin conceded. “I mean, he brought me here cause it was what he was worried about, so it’s not anything new. You’re not going to tell him anything else, right?”

“No,” Dr. Crosby said.

Justin was relieved. “Good. He's a great dad, but he worries about everything.”

“He's your dad,” Dr. Crosby explained as he opened his office door. “I hate to say you'll find out when you have kids, but it's the truth. At least he cares enough to see that something was wrong.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Justin said as both men walked out of the office door towards the waiting room where Justin's father was anxiously waiting.