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Live To Forgive

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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July 21, 2021 2:00 am

Live To Forgive

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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July 21, 2021 2:00 am

Being let down by those closest to us can sometimes make them the hardest to forgive. Jason Romano tells the story of the work God did to help him forgive his dad.

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Ring was lost all respect for him at that point when he calls me and asked me for money with all your money in gambling and drinking and I are calling me in college and saying, can I borrow money to family life today where we might help you pursue the relationships that matter most and nothing Dave Wilson and you can find or on our family life. So today we got Jason Romano with this one of our great friends welcome to family today.

Jason glad to have you back.

Thanks, Rev. Rebecca and Jason leads a really incredible ministry called sports spectrum where they interview athletes about their faith in you know we formerly he was with ESPN for 17 years. A job we all wish we had highway. I had a great anguish is just submetered on every day at 7 AM and turn it off at midnight. I'm just kidding, but no really what he's doing now is is phenomenal but you Jason have an incredible story with your dad that when I read your book about well. It tells today about that but man your relationship with your dad was similar to mine was.

I have a father growing up was around physically or emotionally, emotionally, so physically my parents, my story with my dad goes all the way back to four or five years old my parents divorced my mom and dad are divorced and think I was five years old and so I have no real memory of them being together that reason, I talked to my mom about this many times for the divorce was because of what was big. The beginning stages of the alcoholism that my father struggled with the addiction to alcohol grew and grew and grew and got worse and worse and worse and so as you as we were younger.

I tell people might, you know, like a typical divorced family say that what unfortunately that's what it was for us. I have two brothers so was three boys and are us three boys so my dad on the weekends that had no the will to call the legal rights to hang out with us on the weekends and during the week we live with my mom so we would spend time with my dad but my dad when they got divorced.

My dad lived and moved back in with my grandparents my Nana my path and then empower the ones that in essence we gravitated towards on those weekends.

Even though we were cortical with my dad and on my devil go to the bars you go drink and sometimes he would be there for us when we're kids session were doing sports. That was the connection but usually involve the good bottle or some kind drinking and my grandparents were the ones while my mom was working a single mom. Three jobs as a nurse.

They were the ones my grandparents who can did stuff with us, took us to the toy store took us to the mall took us to Pizza Hut. Whatever Wise's kids took us to our games to play sports while my dad was sometimes around quite often. He was drinking now over 70 years old.

I also remember my dad taking us to the bars with him and he will give us 1/4 by a soda single play pinball and go play some video games, a seven-year-old thinks that's a great night.

I don't know any better.

My dad's at the bar getting wasted and you know, at seven or eight. Not a big deal but as I got older I saw the dysfunction I saw what was happening in it what what really tore us apart.

Well, if you had to describe him as a little boy like under 12.

What would you have described him as I would describe him as a very loud, in some cases angry person who loves sports that's the best way I could describe them and then you got older and he became resentful, very much so. In fact, the 12-year-old Jason, I didn't feel I never felt love for my father. I am sure he loved me, and of course I know under the current year loved him too, because he's your dad, but I never felt that love, the love, the only way I really ever felt love for my father even growing up through high school and college was when we would have a connection for sports, and when he was sober.

Unfortunately, because of the drinking. He was sober that often.

And as I got older I started experiencing things as a teenager and seeing him in states that they shouldn't have to see your dad in usually drunk. I I became very resentful, very angry. Didn't know how to process it. I did have anybody in my life, the kind of walk me through it. Other than my mom. I will be careful here because my mom saved us until people you know when we were easily headed down the track like my father, my mom kept us back on the on the narrow straight and narrow, and allowed us to have experiences like normal kids even though our relationship with Art. My dad was anything but normal for the most part. Other than that I kinda had just a normal childhood.

Thankfully, you know just going to school, playing sports, hang out with my friends and something he lost respect for him very much. Especially as I got older and I got to my got into college even more out of college. I'll tell you a time when I definitely realize I lost respect for him and when I was in college 19 years old and I went away was a community college but it was about three hours away and I lived in an off-campus apartment grown up quickly. Just try to live my own and I got a call at like midnight for my father what's going on here, and I knew my dad was in a good place anyways and WHAT he'd already missed my high school graduation because he was in a rehab center so I knew he wasn't doing well answer the phone and my dad is on the other end calling up telling me that he had no money and was asking me for money.

I'm in college anybody listening who's ever went to college knows that we are the poorest people we have no money, but it was so bad that my dad got so desperate and I think he was hoping that I would have some kind of empathy or sympathy form feel sorry for him. Sorry dad that you're in this spot that you lost all your money. Sure, I'll send you the five dollars that I have which is pretty much what what's but ivory was lost all respect for him at that point when he calls me and asked me for money like are you serious like you drink yourself out of this. You spent all your money on it. He gambled a lot to sleep in all your money on gambling and drinking and I are calling me in college and saying, can I borrow money for you to what you do and so there's obviously in anger very much so their new even said your brothers wanted to kill and oh yeah, there was a time this is a couple years after this. In fact, one of the chapters and live to forgive is the time my brothers wanted to kill my dad like I wouldn't know how else to title that chapter other than what it was and this was a story that they told I wasn't even around. For this, but I wanted as people read the book to see that it wasn't just me that was affected by what my two brothers went through this tonight a older or younger and younger son, the oldest, I'm the oldest of my middle brother Chris was one that led me to Christ is two years younger. My youngest brothers for years. Our enemies were pretty close in age and today were all still best friends and that's great but it's weird because my dad's parents my grandparents my Nana and Pa were amazing people like they were this stability when my mom was working that we needed and they were also the grandparents gave us anything we want, which is great.

You always want those grandparents in your life.

We definitely took advantage of them and in a bad way. I would say like saying okay man I need 10 bucks to go to whatever.

And here it is those two were allowing my brothers to live in the upstairs apartment at their house at this time. One day my dad comes home and my dad was. It was up and down with him.

I mean, when he had his bad moments.

It was really bad and my dad shows up drunk and my grandparents were there was their only son to so this was really hard for them to walk through with a son who was in essence produce three grandchildren for them that they love dearly, but couldn't get his own life together in one day he comes home, and he's just drunk as a skunk and that my brothers saw that my dad was yelling and screaming at our grandparents and my one brother Damien and him got in a verbal exchange but also physical exchange and at this point and then if you are believers to follow. None of us are now so we have no faith, no understanding of who Jesus is and even after that which we can talk about. I still had a lot of issues with my father but at that moment my brother saw what had happened to my dad and he said listen, you gotta call the cops on this guy because I'm going to kill him if he doesn't get out of my face right now.

It was that much anger that had spilled up in my brothers life.

When I told that story for the book. I remember talking to the incident. I don't think I knew all about this. I remember them telling me, there was a time and was told that felt like we wanted to kill him, but I had not experienced that. But I'm glad they told me because I went through my own stuff with them, but they went through to so this wasn't just adjacent story.

This was all three of of my dad son story that we all went through.

It was bad. And so, a few years later you surrender your life to Jesus and it all goes away ranks just as wonderful on this not so early Monday because some people may think that's true but you still a struggle and you had to go on a journey tells what happened. Very much so. So for me I'm so grateful that that day took place that I began the journey with Jesus and my brother Chris what is mentioned led me Lord Mother's Day 2001, 20 years now and never forget it but I had to understand who Jesus was, for me it was my relationship but there were many moments even after that, where I didn't understand truly what forgiveness was about and understanding how to process what was going on with my father and even after I became a Christian. My dad still continued his battle and his struggle with alcohol for the next 15 years and has shared your faith with him.

Yes, Motown C multiple times with a few times all three of his boys now are Christians you know a little bit of a spoiler alert.

My dad's not walking with the Lord still to be stacked so that is a tension in our home a little bit and I'll get to how he's doing. The second but he at that point you know I'm walking and trying to learn who Jesus is trying to understand salvation and the cross and forgiveness, but I was kinda like the character in the in the I can only imagine movie if you've seen that movie with Bart Millard Wright, and Bart has the struggle with his dad and his dad gets cancer and bar is able to shift faith with him but there's a moment in the movie were Bart looks at his databases can can God ever forgive me. His father says to Barton. Bart looks at him and says God can forgive you, dad.

But I can't and I was like oh my gosh that was my life for the next 15 years. It wasn't intentional. It was like I was saying I'm not going to forgive you. It was just understanding what Ephesians 431 and 32 is about. And if you read the words of Paul. He says let all bitterness and anger and wrath and slander and clamor, be put away from you, along with all malice. Verse 32 the kind to one another. Forgive as God in Christ ever given you. That part the let all bitterness and wrath and anger like that didn't happen and I took me a very very long time to understand because it won't happen is my dad and I we live two hours apart you know my dad unfortunately had a DWI in 2006 he lost his license so he was able to drive so we very rarely saw each other couple times a year, even in the midst of his drinking, but we would talk so his his outlet was to pick up the phone and call my dad has not never had a smart phone.

He doesn't have never been on the Internet.

To this day has no email. It's good old-fashioned 1993 relationship Murray picks up the phone ecology that was good but it wasn't good because that was where he would go to.

Especially when he drank he would pick up that phone, he will call here so I knew I had forgiven my father when he will call and he was sober. Everything was fine. We can talk can have most of our conversations revolved around sports we could talk.

When he called and he was drunk. I turned into a different person. I turned into an essence him I wasn't drunk, but I was angry.

I was bitter I was lashing out saying things back to him that you would want to wish anybody would say to anyone that he would say some things to me to and I can claim that on the victim here and say that no father should ever say those things to their son shouldn't say these words it shouldn't use these words but I wasn't being Jesus here I was being Jason and Jason was angry and Jason was responding and I was so upset with what he was saying that I want to inflict that pain back onto him. I want him to feel what I was feeling. That's not the example of Jesus, and it took me a long time to forgive him know what happened. I mean, there's a journey I've been on a journey so I know I can take a long time but what changed. I think what changed was this powerful word that we all need more of a think in our lives. Empathy see I never saw my dad and and thought about what he was going through. I only thought about what he did or how he acted and how it affected me how effective my wife, my daughter, my brothers, my mom, extended family, me, my dad wanted lot of relationships because of his drinking and so I always thought about the effect it had on other people.

I never thought about how it affected him, he must not have enjoyed the life he was living seriously and I was thought men disguised this guys probably know, just as bad dude would say these things and I just wish you would stop drinking and for many years. That was my prayer.

My prayer was simply even after I became a Christian. It wasn't that he would come to Jesus's dishonesty here. Yeah, it was that he would stop drinking, but it came to a boiling point in 2013 where my dad, his lowest point. So at this point my dad is not only drinking heavily still and he's in his early 60s here.

He's also struggling with depression and so when you combine the alcohol and the depression that's a recipe for disaster.

It was bad and so my dad hit his lowest point in 2013. He tried to end his life woke up one day Justin want to live here and hinted at that in the past and different phone calls, but I've heard that since he was 40 years old on phone calls that maybe eldest of my life. Maybe I'm just not worth living for. And there were moments I hate to admit this puts the truth and where was in my walk where I thought it would be better.

Maybe if he wasn't here.

I hate saying that was true because I I didn't again have that empathy for my dad. I just thought this is easy if it just would all go away. And so my depth thought that way to any tried to end his life. He took a bunch of pills I'm thankfully thinking really quickly. After he took those pills, he recognized that this wasn't a good situation.

He called 911.

They came and took him to the hospital and they saved an essence, and he's alive still live today. Thankfully, but it was at that moment when I got the call from the nurse and here's where I know where my mindset was with my father at that point since 70 years ago. Now the nurse calls me and says Jason, your father's here at the hospital took some pills last night. We have amenities. He's okay and you know you to survive. We didn't know if you want to come visit him or if you wonder you don't come up and see him or whatever and I said no I'm good thank you for call me let me know that I hang up the phone and I had nothing I was numb. I didn't even have any feeling there was no there was no sadness there was no empathy there was definitely no jumping in the car and going to visit him. None of that and I think about where I was in my relationship with them. At that point that's anybody else in my family I'm jumping in the car right away to go be with them but I was so bitter and the relationship at that point. Again, I'm Christian. At this point to the relationship with my dad at that point was really just the thought of no maybe this is just what needs to happen. He just needs it just needs to go away, but I spent the next week really diving deep in the prayer talking to Mike, my pastor, my small group, and sharing. I've always shared about my dad to say can you pray for him.

He still struggling with his alcohol while at this point I'm saying. Can you still pray. What can you pray for him, but he's now in a really really Best Buy try to end his life. My pastor and I had a conversation one day and because you know you need to think about forgiving him, and when we talk about I'm fine.

I forgive them years ago I had thought I have forgiven him for many years but every single time he would call and he will be drunk and I would lash back, I realized I hadn't forgiven I was still better. The bitterness was there in allowing him back in my life I thought was forgiveness but that's not what it is because forgiveness is not about the other person.

In fact, it's never about the other person. Forgiveness is about ourselves and the chains that we carry when we hold onto that bitterness and unforgiveness is a week later, my dad actually from the hospital calls me and he's lifeless. The voice I hear on the other end is just a man who has known contention to want to live anymore and you know he spent four months in that hospital in the psych ward just trying to better and treated for depression, not just the alcoholism. Of course, but when I heard my dad's voice that day.

Maybe it was because what my pastor said maybe it was just because I finally had empathy for my father for the first time in my life. That was the moment where I told him verbally that I forgive him solicit that I don't going from so sorry I said, it's what you know, I forgive you. And don't worry about anything else right now. Just get better and what was his response. You know my dad was was not feeling great at that time so there wasn't really response it was most like it was even, thank you. It was like get whatever, but it wasn't about my father at that point was that for that moment is what I needed. Now, it also was what my dad needed, but I had to make a decision that my dad never could get sober still had to choose to forgive him because it wasn't about him and I'm happy to report that day when he went into the hospital. That's the last day to this day that he's had a drink. He's been able to stay sober now for seven almost 8 years and that's not a miracle.

It's all right as it answer to prayer because that's where my dad wise enough to but I pray for was for him to get sober now are hoping someday that you know he begins a walk with the Lord and that still hasn't happened yet, but our relationship now is is better but it's not great but it's not horrible anymore and there's no bitterness to know and other still things my dad does right just like Josh.

But I forgiven him you know and you know reconciliation for us to place but I tell people forgiveness is always required because Jesus tells us to just read Matthew 18 various other passages in the Bible, but where forgiveness is always required reconciliation sometimes can't always take place. Sometimes the damages is not repairable again, remembering that the forgiveness is not about anything that other person does this for yourself. So yeah, I remember when I was toward the end of my journey of forgiving my dad. I read this quote by Lewis Smedes, Seth, and Lewis is often one of the guys that my opinion authority so much written about forgiveness. But you know Lewis says when you forgive someone you set a prisoner free only to discover you're the prisoner I met. I literally dropped the book. I mean hit me second. I rented a mic. Oh my goodness on the prisoner. I thought I was locking him up, and that's what he gets. And that's what he deserves for it all these years of alcohol and we are abandoning your son, Bubba, and when I read that I was, it hit me like I was saying year the prisoner and you're never again be free. You get the key.

You've got it you get on like that in forgive your dad again. It didn't happen that day, but when I did, and I can sit here now in my 60s and I used to say to the men my church. I became a man at age 35, because that's when I was free to become who God wanted Dave Wilson to be.

I was lie was not able to be the husband she needed the dad my kid. I'm a cinema perfect man, but it was like man.

It was dad big holding onto that bitterness and I know there's listeners right now like I can't forgive I know what you can't hear can I and Jason could neither. But God can through you and I really think it's supernatural is the supernatural thing a divine power of God, especially when the wound is that deep and and hurtful to be able to let that go look at the example of Jesus, I was beaten and mocked, spit on, you know, made fun of everything you could imagine a person goes through and yet he's standing there are up there on the cross and the people who put them up there or mocking him and making fun of them. He looks down he says father forgive them for they don't know what I will say is a wife. It was probably the most marked difference in Dave that I've ever seen because he became free.

I think he had a an anger issue, if simmering below the surface. All the times I Jason was say yeah and that what you really were released from our bed here is that the thing is so critical to understand and if your dad or your mom please hear this if you don't deal with this, you will continue it.

It will go into your legacy you pass it on the sins of the father visit through the generations, and I didn't know it then that my decision for my dad would affect my sons yeah you know they they didn't really even know they were so young at the time and again I'm not saying they don't have bitterness and no skin issues, but man it change the legacy because they have a dad now whose free again that perfect freedom, but as you know we get triggered. At times, but it's like now and I no longer have this desire to punish him and that's what Smedes defines forgiveness you give up your right to probe, punish, you know, God was punished for us and for gave us and we can do the same thing. So I would say that if anyone learning in a later day, and it'd absolutely choose forgiveness, but it doesn't mean were perfect either. I have struggle with, not anger. I would say but lashing out. Sometimes you know it.

My daughter my my wife or you know if you people but I will say that having chosen forgiveness, especially walking through writing a book about forgiveness has helped me understand that that that's available to us every single day when that's what we do every single day we wake up to Jesus and we say God like forgive us of our sins were asking for forgiveness every day. But then it's our responsibility than to be Christlike in that to exude that on everybody else and if we don't were basically putting a hand God's face and saying I got this yeah and that's what we get in trouble and we don't have this we don't have it so I say I think pick up Jason's book today live to forgive.

I love the subtitle moving forward.

When those we love her to see you want to move forward. Star Trek here Dave Lee pray just for people that are struggling with that is striving for getting none of the gently spray father. You know better than any of us. The pain of what it took to offer your son as the payment for our sin and to forgive us. We didn't deserve it.

We didn't even ask you for it. But you unconditionally loved us, and you love is still in you made a way for us to be completely forgiven and free and through the blood of our Savior Jesus and even through his resurrection we have not only forgiveness to ourselves that we actually have the power of God residing in us to empower us to forgive others that don't deserve it. So Lord, just as you have forgiven us. Give us the power to forgive others and set them free, but in the process set ourselves free and learn. I know we cannot do without you and we need you desperately to help us.

We ask right now, and we commit we will do and will be what you cause to be through your son Jesus, and we thank you for his forgiveness. We pray in his name. Amen.

I have to think that many of us as we listen today to David and Wilson talking with Jason Romano about his relationship with his father. We thought about people in our own lives.

Maybe parents may be siblings, other family members who have wounded us and the question is have we been able to move to forgiveness.

Jason is written about his relationship with his dad in the book called live to forgive moving forward when those we love hurt us.

It's a book we've got in our family life today resource Center, it's a book I think many of us would benefit from reading the Bible makes it clear that a failure to forgive says something about our own relationship with Jesus. If we are forgiven. People we forgive others. You can get a copy of Jason's book live to forgive when you order it or call to order at 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today in our goal here at family life is to effectively develop godly marriages and families. We believe that what the Bible teaches about relationships is something that all of us need a better understanding of something we need to embrace and live out as followers of Christ.

So each day on family life to a week provide you with practical biblical help and hope for your marriage and your family. We want to challenge you and encourage you and equip you to live out your faith in your home and were able to do this because your fellow listers people just like you have reached out in the past and have made today's program possible family life. Today's entirely listener supported the program you've heard today happen because of their contributions. I want to challenge you. If you're a regular list or to family life today. And if you've never made a donation today would be a great day for you to join the team to pay it forward to help others in your community and around the world benefit from what they're hearing on family life to. There are hundreds of thousands of people who connect with us every day you help make that possible when you donate and if you're able to make a donation today would love to send you as a thank you gift a copy of Arlene Peloquin's book, screen kids, all about how as parents we can wisely manage the screen time in our homes and with our kids, not just our kids with us to mean we gotta be shrewd about how we handle screens Arlene's book is our thank you gift when you go online today and make a donation of family life to or when you call one 803 586-329-1800 FL today and make a donation over the phone. Just ask for a copy of the book, screen kids and thank you for being part of the family life to a team and making this program and all that we do at family life possible for so many, and we hope you can join us again tomorrow when were to talk about managing screens at home. Arlene Peloquin was with us last week. She's back again this week to continue the conversation. Hope you can join us for that in behalf of our hosts David and Wilson on Bob Lapine will see you tomorrow for another edition of family life today. Family life today is a production of family accrued ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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