A Troublemaker Discovers Genuine Peace
By Amy Reid
The 700 Club
CBN.com -Pastor Scott Hayes is a well-loved by the people of Newark, Ohio, but years ago, they didn’t know Scott as a pastor, they knew him as a menace. “Some of these houses I used to come to and sell either weed or cocaine or meth or a combination of them, “says Scott. For Scott, illegal activity started out as entertainment.
“When I was 14 years old, I first started just drinking some alcohol,” Scott recalls, “And I just did it a few times. And then it became an every Friday night thing and then me and my buddy we were taking flasks filled with liquor to school. Then we started smoking weed. That quickly progressed to LSD, prescription pills, heroin and cocaine.”
By the time Scott was twenty and joined the Airforce, he was a hard core drug user, selling drugs to support his habit. “I would use drugs and sell drugs, but mainly just to people I knew that were in the Air Force,” says Scott.
One evening while on leave, Scott and his brother got drunk at a bar and got into a fight. They were both arrested and released on bond. Later that night, they came back to the Police Department and that’s where the real trouble started.
“We had these large survival knives and kind of snuck up and took those big knives and cut the tires on the police cruisers,” Scott explains. “And we left and went to another policeman’s house, and threw a concrete block through his picture window. We went back to the Heath police station again, and we felt like we didn’t do a good enough job, so we sliced the tires even on the personal cars that were parked in the parking lot.”
As if that wasn’t enough, they went on to the Police Sergeant’s house.
“I fired four shots through the house,” Scott recalls. “It was very loud, dogs were barking. I just kind of laughed. I almost felt like I was outside of my body and I was watching myself. And every action I was doing, it sounds kinda weird, but I think I was just doing it to have a good time.”
Scott and his brother were arrested and went to prison for eighteen months.
“We would kid with some of the other inmates and say we’re here on the family plan. Which wasn’t a humorous place to be, but we were definitely making light of the situation,” Scott recalls.
When he got out of prison, Scott was discharged from the Airforce. He couldn’t keep a job, so he went back to dealing drugs.
“When I first started just selling drugs it was just to support my habit,” says Scott. “But it just became such quick, easy money; it becomes an addiction in itself.
I was probably maybe 23 or 24 years old the first time I did meth. And that became my favorite, my drug of choice. “
Over the next seven years, Scott overdosed twice.
“I had a lot of bouts with paranoia,” Scott says. “You think somebody’s out on the other side of the door; you’re spending lots of hours pacing; you think people are after you. I had a couple of guns, several boxes of ammo; I was very delusional. And I became so upset or overwhelmed with it I felt like I might as well just take my own life. I was in an unfinished basement and I’d taken a dog chain and I tied it around my neck and I stood up on a chair. And I took the other end of the chain and I hung it on a pipe. And all I had to do was kick that chair out from under me.”
Scott passed out before he could go through with it. And then, one night while he was out drinking, he met Bernice, a waitress who started talking to him. She invited him to church.
“God wasn’t real to me; people that went to church were pretty much Bible-banging, weirdo kind of Jesus freak people,” Scott remembers. “But I went there to impress her. I liked her; there was something different about her.”
Scott continued seeing Bernice, but he also continued drinking and using drugs. He hid his addictions from her, and three weeks later they got engaged. Still, Bernice worried about him.
“He would be gone for two or three days at a time,” she says, “And I didn’t know where he was or what was going on or what he was doing and so it was very scary.”
Bernice’s pastor told her that Scott had to be free of drugs at least a year before he would marry them. Scott loved Bernice, so he started the long process of overcoming his addictions. In time, he became a Christian.
“I kind of was at my bottom, so to speak,” says Scott. “At that time, I just didn’t know, you know, how do you deal with when you’re feeling anxious, you know? How do you deal with life on life’s terms when things are going bad? How do you celebrate when things are going good? Apart from, you know, the learned behaviors of drinking and drugging. When I invited Christ into my heart to be my Lord and Savior and then to really get deep in prayer and in the Bible and being around other Christians and accountability and those things, what really started to help that process.”
In 1999, when Scott had been drug free for just over a year, he and Bernice married. Scott has since become an ordained minister and is now chaplain of the Licking County jail, where he was once incarcerated.
“God placed on my heart to go back and reach out to men that maybe experienced the same lifestyle and struggles that I had in my life,” Scott explains. “And so I wanted to be able to be the living vessel that God was to give them to offer hope for them and for their lives.”
Scott is also founder of Look-Up Ministries, which provides weekly meals and a free dental clinic. They also host an alcohol-free sports bar and café. He is humbled by his past, but Scott wants more than anything to share the new life he has found in Christ with others.
“Guys and women alike in the jail setting will say, “Well, Scott, how can you prove to me God is real?” And I say well, I really can’t. And I can’t give you what I have. But here’s what sold me on it. I have a sense of peace when I go to bed just like when I got up this morning. Doesn’t mean I don’t have hardship or struggle or a bad day or an argument with my wife,” says Scott. “It just means I have a genuine sense of peace that I know can only come from the power of Christ.”
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.