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Erik Reed: Forgiving the Unforgivable

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
April 25, 2022 10:00 pm

Erik Reed: Forgiving the Unforgivable

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 25, 2022 10:00 pm

Author Erik Reed knows well the searing anger toward someone who's changed your life forever. He retraces his path toward forgiving the unforgivable.

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Running to Win
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All those questions about a future that you don't control started crippling my heart and I'd never deal with anxiety had never dealt with panic attacks in my life hunting. The other was going crazy. Eddie notes have been to metals of an architect drummed on the road. I might too young to have a heart attack that can't be bothered, but the bit about just you know that's what it felt like I pulled over and saw the road and call my wife on the interstate and I was like I don't know what's happened in my heart I'm sweating is 30° outside.

My heart is beating on my chest and she said go to the hospital. I don't know she will examine either and so I learned soon as I all that's a panic attack and I would irrationally have those for years ahead. Out of nowhere, they would happen. Welcome to family life today where we might help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm in Wilson and I'm Dave Wilson and you can find or on our family life app.

This is family life today, so not too long ago I said in a diner with a good friend of mine whose dad and his daughter was in Oxford high school walking down the hall when one of her classmates started shooting kids in the hallway and I knew his daughter was at Oxford has got in know the details that she actually saw the shooter realize it was a shooting and ran out of the school got in her car and drove home. As a friend of yours that you coached with coach. The coach I school football with him for a decade, almost in his question to me is how do I trust God. How do we trust God. How do I help my daughter trust God in the middle of this kind of tragedy when she seen friends shot and she's asking the questions. How does a good God allow this yet. Her biggest thing was she still afraid it's hard for her to shut the door at night and even sleep in her bedroom as a I think she's a junior in high school and you know that tragedy like any tragedy rocks the world and it rocks. Nonbelievers who say that's why can't believe and believers like us say yeah that's that's the reality of the world we live in it. There are not easy answers to that question. And we've been discussing that already with Eric read his back in the studio with us a pastor and a man wrote a book called uncommon trust. So for confined so I can help us understand how we trust God in the situation Eric you're the guy's a welcome back to family life. Yeah, I'm not sure if I'm the guy, but I'm certainly a fellow traveler trying to figure it out yet and obviously we've Artie talked about your pastor, husband, three kids and on our first episode we talked about it. I want to take us back there. We don't have to go through the whole story because it again.

If you missed yesterday. Go listen to it because Eric told us the whole story, but one things that was fascinating about your tragedy is when Caleb is born. There's a surgery that can be done that you think is going to make everything okay and that's I never got to ask you this question before is like okay so the doctor botches the surgery makes a mistake. That's in my mind even harder. It's like things in life happen there out of our control.

All you can say is it's a natural disaster or something went wrong, but when a human mistake causes tragedy not only in your life but in your son's life. It feels like it's even harder to understand. Talk about your your feelings in that moment. I mean how do you deal with not only the sadness but the anger I'm guessing you had to feel what we would do if with bitterness and resentment and anger for a good year after the surgery. We would replay that conversation so many times you know and his demeanor, his attitude all the things a neighbor retelling, you know, he became more of a monster in the bed for our listeners that maybe haven't heard yesterday that Dr. unknowingly removed both kidneys and so bedridden in the good care. Newborn son is left without kidneys and he has to be on dialysis and he looks as if he was completely indifferent and you know and no remorse, no empathy, and so you know, honestly, we grew to hate him. We were so shattered. Every time we would watch our son struggle every every time he was sick every time we would have to go back to the hospital every time where a surgery waiting room, eager to hear a surgeon come out and say it went okay and still wondering. I didn't really go okay. We would go back to that moment and that man and I remember having dreams about what would I do if I got the run into them. If I was in the Army, so I wasn't always a pastor though, so those times when I was like boy if I found him out just out what I do, you know, because I couldn't stand, and we even have family talk about like was fun at work… You get to that place and it was a new site that is not healthy is not healthy is not healthy for our hearts. Forget healthy legally.

This is forget jail.this is not good for our souls and it wasn't.

It was so you know bitterness and resentment is like drinking poison. Every little step is killing and is us a glimpse into how angry and how well you have a name for the person that because this isn't something out. It's like I know guys not abstract. This is a real person to face and its Arab son who is living out the applications of it. Yeah, you're looking at them every day, every day. So how long would you do so over the course of that year, finally reaching the end of what I knew was healthy us for the turmoils I we gotta figure this out. We've got to get to a place for our hearts can forgive him.

Forgiveness is all over the Bible site.

You can even read the New Testament without hearing Jesus say something about forgiveness and it's all terrible stuff when you're heightening somebody you know when you're hating somebody and then Jesus says Ito forgive as you been forgiven.

You know you will be forgiven.

Your center like no you know you peters is having to actually forgive somebody that's heard is the 07 times.

Jesus is not a 70×7. You know, and he's not telling you do the math descendents it and see you forgive, you forgiven definitely and he tells a parable about a king who forgave a lesser servant. You know great that the netlist or servant goes out and holds over the head of a don't even let your servant a lesser debt, and the king hears about it and actually puts the debt back on them. And then Jesus into that whole story that will parable bussing so be with you if you don't forgive those who have hurt you and such. So I had to start grappling with okay what is forgiveness look like, and here's what I realize forgiveness has nothing to do with the person because the reality is, as he wasn't asking for our forgiveness. We may never have the chance to see him face-to-face to give him forgiveness. Forgiveness had everything to do with our hearts before God and so it could be said like this forgiveness always begins vertically ever before goes out horizontally in the way that we finally come to a place and it was not a light switch right is a what might flip it on flipping it off. Forgiveness was a process. It was a process of going vertically to God to say, you have forgiven me infinitely more than I've ever been asked to forgive another and really feeling that I think as Christians is that you have guts, forgiveness of our sins you cite, do you really understand the gravity that what what have you been forgiven. What if you been rescued from.

I mean I deserve eternal judgment. My life has not been lived in righteous is it that if there's a getting IN on your own account. I'm to be at the bottom of the list and so as I looked vertically at the grace and mercy of God, and for giving me through Christ.

I'm not being asked to do anything more than Christ is done for me. In fact, I'm actually been asked to do a lot less and so I had to really keep preaching that to my heart over and over and over before I could get to a place record really say I forgiven the forgive this man and it was a process for me and my wife together process then that we had to lead our family through because our bitterness just echoed out to everyone else. And so we had to say because this is not honoring to God and he's given us so much grace and so much mercy. So were not being asked to do something that we have been recipients of and so that process led us to a place of forgiving the doctor genuinely in our hearts and truth be told, it's not one time we have to keep choosing to forgive get triggered and that I even as a seer before you let my mind wander off into everything that surgery cost. Our family when I met my son's grave with my daughters and were talking about his life. If I let my mind wander off into you know he could possibly be here today. At that surgery won't happen. It doesn't take much for bitterness and resentment to come back so forgiveness is a choice that you had to keep making and so that became our mantra site were going to keep forgiving to keep choosing to forgive and anytime Armand starts focusing horizontally on all that he did regress in the back vertically to all that Christ is done for us and that's the only way that we can give forgiveness. Is it has to come from above we able to see if Caleb was able to forgive after 78. This was a process so from the time he was little.

His whole life. This was a conversation we were having. Talk about suffering and sovereignty and forgiveness and trust in God's plan for your life. It was mandatory immediate could not be a part of the conversation with his whole life as we regret to explain him while he was different from his friends must got this feeding tube in her stomach. You know why galley scars on his chest and was he had to take these medicines every day. Why does he have to do all these things that are normal to him but then he sees his friends is like all young have feeding tubes in your stomach. May we just had to raise some understanding. I hate this is your story, and this is what is so unique about you and this is how God has worked in your life.

Caleb, fortunately never had the issue of having to forgive them because he does.

He understood God had his life in his hands. Even surgical mistake.

I'm also imagining that watching his mom and dad. Yeah, being able to forgive.

The doctor was a powerful model for him. So a fascinating story that we never anticipated.

So one day after finishing dialysis in the hospital.

Caleb had not had a transplant.

Yet it was almost too. It was getting close to Tom where it was like they were running out of time. He needs a transplant just for our listeners that may be listen to the first one they were. We can elect them on the cliffhanger template.

So what happened so we decided we want him to live will do whatever it is. Going forward, you sell it to. He had a kidney transplant. So he ended getting a kidney translate was on the list forever. Write a national registry. We never got a phone call. Everybody got tested me and Katrina got tested. Neither one of us were match and he was having to have new surgeries all the time for new catheters because his captors were caught often and we are running out of spots for catheters he was getting mean that literally the last when he got the surgeon was like I don't know if we'll get another one in which is terrifying site. Well, we don't have surgeries scheduled already. So what's our options you know and then they retested us in a moment of desperation and my wife can make as a match who is not previously match that's miraculous. It's unbelievable. It's unbelievable. And so my wife ended up being the donor for his estrangement when he was two years old and right before that surgery happened.

We were there for dialysis and I was coming down elevator molding Caleb in my arms and the elevator door opens and it's the surgeon that took his kidney out standing right and harassing him in two years. He stank face-to-face and is on those moments where you know if you see somebody you like to try to buy if you want to look away up her delicate face each other.

Yeah, we both like try to do that but light were literally face-to-face in an open elevator. There's nowhere to go. I attempt to walk one direction. He's like going the same direction to even do the little dance with and if I was like okay this is so awkward and after acknowledge each other that it wasn't like you are just some patient he knew what he saw your eyes the same thing and so actually asked him I said cannot talk to for seconds. We actually stepped out into the lobby with your son still in your arms. Caleb dry her arms and I looked at him and I said I just want you to know that my family and forgive you for what happened and he broke down crying in the lobby and I broke down crying. After that, of course, you had over hundred tear ducts that day, so those letters, you know, prayer exceptions, listen we forgave them even if we never saw him again, but what it showed me was as he had actually carried a deep burden as well and we found out later he was a Christian surgeon. He actually done all kinds of missionary work on children who could never have care in courses like course that's the case, of course family never considered the night that he did not just knowing himself because you know when you're bitter you don't want to consider the other side. You know, and so you will some time and some maturity. Hopefully, you know, I'm a little back and go. There's no telling what he came across that day. The way he did. We were hurt.

We may have heard even think he is like you just can't even trust what you perceived on that day to be completely accurate, but even so, he broke down and he tell me said you have no idea how much that means to hear and other salsa members on but it was transformative for me because it reminded me that we often make people into monsters and then they're just people it others people to be made a mistake and he felt that mistake all the time. Just think how different that moment would've been if you were bitter, absolutely. And you open elevator that have in the area were I don't. I mean, I don't know what I'm saying to or doing to it so sweet of God to connect you guys to free you both up because I needed that freedom and for us it was, we had forgiven him, but it you talk about just the the weight off your shoulders to be able to say that to them to look him in the face and to go we forgive you to see his face just break in front of me.

It was a powerful lesson is a picture of the gospel it is that's exactly right and what forgiveness is all about the gospel.

You can only forgive by the power the gospel right price forgiveness to use, how you can ever forgive another person that what you did and as you said you're still doing still choosing to have is not possible. Apart from the power got I don't think 100% mean you can't get there.

Well, if you were hoping that somebody will be forgivable right to come begging for mercy and forgiveness that they're gonna come to their senses of what they've done. There's no conditions that Jesus puts on our forgiving so when you always put it on the other to be forgivable. I think you can.

The founders of withholding forgiveness or finding excuses to withhold forgiveness for some people who will never want your forgiveness who you need to forgive them. If God did that for us were still that forgiven exact that's exactly right.

We've never gotten to the place were never available for the person who may be to state angry with God, yeah, I think that's a really good question. So going back to when I was with my Bible in hand and notebook in hand. That day, you know, God is able to save us.

But even if he doesn't, that thing that I kept reading in the me shack shed recommended Osorio was after the thrown into the furnace. He's in it before figure in the fire. There is another and I would sing it with you about your listeners shall be spared the heads you note for somebody who'd never read that you know there was no cliché for me to say God's in this furnace right now, he's with us. He has the power to rescue them and keep them from ever going in it yet allows them to go in it, only to show himself to be there, what's really fascinating to me to is that is not like God decided to show up, God was always that they are having great point. He was always with them, but fascinatingly he became visible to them in the fire, and so this is all and I saw him in the fire. He was always there. The fire made him visible and I think that's true in life. I think God God is always with us, but it's in her suffering and sorrows that he's I believe most visible to us because man of sorrows Jesus is the man of sorrows who came and suffered, and I would argue were never more like Christ than we were in our sufferings, right one who came and suffered for us, so those three things immediately in I'm just sitting there with my son in the room with me and I'm going I've got a lot to learn because I can grasp these with my head that I've got to get these in my heart. The Lord showed me a few other things I knew would guide us that day. The presence of God and that fire was on display to everybody outside the furnace to the satraps the prefix the governors and the Lord made it clear other people are going to watch oil go through this and so you need to be faithful and yet it's itching as I read your story that you know you have these miracle moments him and your wife. They will give the kidney and Caleb's going to have somewhat of a normal life.

Yes, and the first two years yeah and then you experience panic attacks and anxiety we have is so normal, but what are they look like you been listening to Damon and Wilson as they been talking with Eric Reed on family life to a way to hear Eric's response in just a minute, but first we'd love to send you a copy of his book uncommon trust learning to trust God in life doesn't make sense. It's our gift to you.

When you make a donation of any amount this week to support the work of family life to become a partner with us, you can give and become a partner in family life to or you can call with your donation at 1-800-358-6329. It can be a one time gift or you can become a partner with us and give a recurring monthly gift. Again the number is one 800 FS in family L as in life and in the word today. Right now, back to Dave and Anne's conversation with Eric Reed that I had all the right ideas from the text. And yet, my heart would soon be under crippling panic attacks and I think that's another reason why I'm saying it had to go for my head to my heart because I could agree with those things. But those things were in my bones yet to trust that God is with us and that that's enough wasn't in my bones yet and so I was still fearful while still worried everything was still about what's going to happen tomorrow. What's going to happen next month. Is he going to survive to get a transplant. What happens if he gets the transplant and it doesn't last long because here's what we knew we knew from the homework we had to do his life would be forever affected, there's no there's no reset at this point, and one transplant isn't gonna last a lifetime. Which means it some point that kidney would fail and we be back in the boat needing dialysis until he got another kidney and all the questions of that we almost ran out of dialysis options. This time are we going to build a do dialysis and whose could give him a kidney and all those questions about a future that you don't control started crippling. My heart and I'd never dealt with anxiety had never dealt with panic attacks in my life. I know I thought was going crazy.

Eddie know what was happening to him at those having a heart attack, drive down the road. I might too young to have a heart attack that can't be bothered by the BMI chest you know that's what it felt like I pulled over and saw the road and call my wife on the interstate and I was like I don't know what's happened in my heart I'm sweating is 30° outside.

My heart is beating on my chest and she said go to the hospital.

I don't know Charlotte seven either and so I learned soon as I all that's a panic attack and I would irrationally have those for years ahead. Out of nowhere, they would happen and it was really a shame when I hear say that so many of us think believers don't have those home pastors. Certainly, I don't have panic attacks but there you were. Anxiety is real and I was ashamed of it. I want to learn what it was for a while and never told anybody because I think crazy yet how are going by the thing like oh wow he's a rat can have his life together and then asked her to realize I owe.

Actually, a lot of people struggle with this and so what would begin to unfold in the years ahead would be not only learning to deal with that. But learning to get under the root of why I was having them and so I didn't want to treat symptoms. I wanted to get to the root so much.

My anxiety was driven by leaning amount. Understanding trying to make sense of what was happening what was going to happen. Trying to control and cling to what the future was that I didn't have any ability to direct and that's a hard thing to do when it's your son and his future and his health.

I think what you said what you are learning to trust God that you hadn't learned to trust in your bones yet yeah and I think that's where a lot of people are hearing that thinking, I learned that either need to know how to do that we find out because we've all quoted what you said brothers three interest Lord with all your heart, not lean on your own understanding.

We don't know what that looks like and will have time for you to do it so we have are you back okay you have a combat even listening to family life to a if you know of anyone who needs to hear a conversation like the one Dave and Nan had with Eric Reed.

You can share it from wherever you get your podcasts and while you're there. It really help if you rate and review us so how do you answer the theological questions of a child who is gone through what Eric's son went through really hear how Eric handled those difficult questions tomorrow on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm shall be added will see back next time for another edition of family life, family life to days of production of family accrual ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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