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Forgiveness and Healing: Start Here: Dave & Ann Wilson

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
June 22, 2023 5:15 am

Forgiveness and Healing: Start Here: Dave & Ann Wilson

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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June 22, 2023 5:15 am

Maybe you're interested in forgiveness and healing. But where do you start? How do you overcome a consuming anger? Podcast hosts Dave and Ann Wilson offers ideas.

Show Notes and Resources

Connect with Dave and Ann Wilson at, and on instagram @daveannwilson.

If you're intrigued by this topic, don't miss these FamilyLife Today episodes: How to Forgive (When Bitterness Feels Better)

and How to Forgive Your Dad

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

You and I should be punished for our sin. Just like you want the person that's hurt you to be punished, God should punish you and me for our sin. And guess what? There was one that was punished.

Not for his sin, because he was sinless. Jesus took your punishment and my punishment on that cross. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. Hey, today we're going to jump back into a message that Dave actually gave at a church near us.

Yeah, it's important stuff about anger and forgiveness. But before we get in there, we got to remind you, this is sort of the last week you can sign up for the cruise. Now, it isn't the last week, but we're just telling you, if you don't sign up this week for the Love Like You Mean It cruise, you probably won't get on. You'll end up on the wait list, because it's going to sell out.

It always sells out. Can we just personally invite you to come on this cruise with us? Come with us. We're going to be there. We're going to be on the boat.

We've done it, I don't know, 10 times? It's a phenomenal week of marriage content, vacation, joy, music, comedians, fun, community. Lot of ice cream. Yeah, it's still a vacation. You can do whatever you want, but it's going to be really good. It's like a vacation. In the Caribbean.

With a purpose, because you're going to enhance your marriage at the same time., you can go there right now, and I'm telling you, you better go now, because if you don't, somebody else is going to get your cabin, and they're going to be rubbing suntan lotion on my bald head. So anyway. They're not, but I will.

Yeah, they will. Hey, so what are you talking about in the second half of this sermon? Well, we talked yesterday, the message was really about forgiveness, and the amazing words that Jesus said when he hung on the cross, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they're doing. And it's just amazing that he could say that to people that were literally killing him. And yet today, he gives us, followers of Jesus, the power to do the same to people that are hurting us.

I had a real anger problem that I didn't realize was connected to my bitterness toward my dad. And this part of the message gets into how God can meet you and turn that anger into forgiveness. He redeems it.

He does. But you got to let him do it. You have a moment that was really scary, and in the moment you're like, I almost died, almost got in a car wreck or something. And then a second later, you're like screaming at the person, like what just happened? Or you're in a relationship and something's said or done and you think they're leaving and you find yourself screaming at them, that's going to force them out the door rather than bring them back. And you're like, why am I yelling? You're skipping the fear emotion. Another one is frustration. We skip it. Frustration is hard to deal with.

I remember when I was studying this, I mean, literally studying, reading books, talking to counselors, stuff with people. I was in my basement fixing my dryer. You know why?

This is 30 some years ago. You know why? Because guys like me or tightwads don't hire people to fix dryers.

We'll figure it out for free. So I'm down there in my slab basement, I'm finished and I've got everything torn apart and I'm laying in this drum and I actually fixed it. And I got to screw this little Phillips head back into this little thing, way back in the back of the dryer. I'm literally laying in lint. And my seven-year-old, CJ, who's an engineer now and he's always been into that stuff, he comes down the stairs.

I think he's six or seven. He goes, dad, what are you doing? Can I help? I'm like, yeah, dude, get in here. So we're laying in the lint under the drum of this dryer and we're reaching back down.

I go, CJ, here. He goes, let me do it. So he grabs the Phillips and he's trying to get it in there and he kept falling off because it's sort of hard to do for a seven-year-old. So I grab his hand and we do it together. And I remember having this thought right in that moment. It's like, wow, look at this, a dad's manly, massive hand around this little seven-year-old boy's hand.

I literally had this thought never in my life did I have a moment like this with my dad because he left. And I thought, how beautiful I get to do this with my son, my boy. And so, okay, CJ, here, just get it in.

And he's just kept falling off and again, we're reaching way back there and he's trying his best, but he's six and he's seven and he couldn't do it. And here's what I heard myself do, CJ, just turn in here, CJ, just, just, see, I just. And I feel his body crawl away and I hear him go up the steps. And I remember laying there. It was like a divine moment for me. I remember laying there thinking, God, I don't want to be that dad that pushes away his children with anger and I'm doing it. I just watched him leave because of my anger. Now what was the first emotion I just skipped?

Frustration. Trust me, you know this. You do something with a six-year-old, it's not going to go well.

It's not going to go well and you want to enjoy it. I'm old enough now to say you better enjoy it because they'll be gone. They're gone. Now I'm a grandpa and I got grandkids.

They're gone. And you only have a few moments, I'm like, God, don't let me miss these years. And I think God helped me get a grip on anger. So here's the thing.

So you work through that whole thing, right? Well, there's three types of anger. I got to fly.

Here we go. Situation specific. That's anger that's related specifically to a situation.

And guess what? It's not bad. Usually it's constructive, good anger. God gave us an emotion called anger. If it's handled right, it can lead to really good things. If it's handled wrong, sin is crouching at the door and it can rule you, but you must master it. That's what God was trying to say.

So anger can be really good. Have you ever looked in the mirror, maybe around new year's and you looked at your body and said, that's it, I'm done. I'm losing weight. I'm starting a workout plan.

I'm getting in the gym. I mean, that's anger. That's good. You should get mad. It's like, let's go for it.

It lasts for about four days, but it's good. You know, where you see injustice in our society, you see racism, you see people that are just pushed away by sight and you say, I'm not letting that happen. I'm standing up for those who have no voice. That's righteous, situation specific, good anger. Nothing wrong with that.

So you're actually good. Here's the ones that get in trouble. Second one's called displaced anger. You know what that is? Exactly what it sounds like. Anger in this situation that's displaced from that situation. Here's how you know if you have displaced anger. If you can step back from this moment that you're angry and then go, you know, I should be mad, but on a scale of one to 10, 10 being hot anger, I should probably be a three or maybe a four, but I'm a 10. It's like a warning light going, dude, this isn't this.

This is somewhere else. I actually asked if I could have a extension cord because years ago when I taught this, I thought it was a good visual to be able to use an extension cord. It's like, you know, you have, remember I said anger is plugged into something. So it's like you've got your life and you've got anger sort of wrapped around you, right? And you find out that you have displaced anger. You sense it.

Here's what you need to do. You need to go, where's this coming from? It could have been something happened at work today. Could have been somebody said something to you about your future. You're afraid. You come home from work. You don't know it. You're taking it out on somebody else. You got to go back and say, where's this come from?

Usually it's pretty recent in your life. I remember when I was studying this stuff, I was on the deck with Ann and a good friend of mine, Paul was there and he sort of loved us for a while. So he really had access to our life and Ann and I got into something and I remember Paul stopping us and going, Hey man, Dave, dude, I can see why you're mad right now, but you're like way madder than you should be about this situation. That's all he said. What did I hear? You're a 10.

You should be a three. And I've been studying this. You know what happened? Literally right there.

I went like this. He's right. What's this displaced anger from? I had, I was answering a question.

Why are you angry? And I'm like, I know what it is right now. Nobody there knew. Ann didn't know, Paul didn't know, but I did. Two hours before that deck conversation, I was opening the mail and I got a letter from our bank. Back when the days when you wrote checks, you know, and you wrote them in a little ledger and you're, anybody know what I'm talking about? And the bank just sent me a notice that I bounced two checks that week. What does somebody do with that? That's scary. I don't know if we can pay our bills. I stuffed it and I'm yelling at my wife.

They didn't know what happened. I just looked at him. I go, you're right, Paul. I shouldn't be this mad.

I'll be back. And they're like, where are you going? And I'm like, and let me tell you, that was helpful knowledge to know what displaced anger is.

Then there's one more. It's called chronic anger. Chronic anger is like displaced in that you have anger in this situation that's plugged into something else, but it probably isn't plugged into something today or yesterday or this year or this month. It goes way back.

See extension cord, how long it is. It goes way back to maybe family of origin. Maybe your husband walked out with another woman or your wife betrayed you or abuse, you name it.

It's back there a ways. And here's the thing. Men and women who are chronically angry, you never know when they're going to blow. It's like under the surface at all times and the smallest little thing can set them off and you're like, what just happened?

Guess what? As I was studying this 30 some years ago, I realized I got chronic anger. A guy who's hitting a lawnmower with a hammer has some issues and I didn't know it, but I had never wrestled through the pain of my family of origin. And so I had to go on a journey 30 some years ago and that journey never ends.

Because like I said, today I'm in a place where I still have to forgive people that hurt me and I'm sure there's people I've hurt that have to wrestle through forgiving me as well. And so here's the amazing thing is you think about that, you jump to this, how do we handle this? You're listening to Family Life Today and that man's voice is Dave Wilson's voice. And we've been listening to this sermon that you gave at a church nearby.

Yeah. And I'm sort of laughing. I remember when you came into the garage and saw me hitting that lawnmower with a hammer. I was like scared, like, what is happening right now?

But I wasn't much better because we had three little boys and they were under five. And I was like, I'm way more angry than I thought. So I think all of us can deal with anger issues, but that chronic anger, that's something that I hadn't heard much about before.

Yeah. And what I was saying in the sermon, which we're going to hear the rest of in a minute, was all anger is connected, it's plugged into something. And all of us have to do what thankfully God helped me do is go back and say, where's that coming from?

Is that something recent or is it something maybe buried like mine was decades in the past? But if you don't deal with it, there's carnage all around you and you're hurting the people you love the most. And I know you don't want to do that.

I didn't want to do that. We're going to hear the rest of where this journey needs to go. Well, here's, I'll give you a real quick, ABC is what I call handling anger.

A, admit you're angry, just ABC, ABC, admit you're angry. Why do I say that? A lot of times for people like you and me to go to church or maybe we read our Bible, maybe you're a follower of Christ. Here's what we think. We think the Bible says that anger is sin. It doesn't say that.

And I'll tell you where you think you get that from. Ephesians 4 26 says, in your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give the devil a foothold.

I'm paraphrasing, but there it is. And a lot of people think, oh, it's sin to be angry. That's not what God said. God said, actually, I gave you a good emotion called anger, but in it, if you don't handle it right, sin is crouching at the door. You can lead to sin.

And if you don't handle it right, the devil actually use that and destroy relationship. All right. So the first thing you got to do is go, okay, I'm angry. That's okay.

I got to start there. Okay, I'm angry. B is backtrack to the first emotion.

You sort of do this in mental. It's like, what emotion did I skip? Did I skip hurt? Did I skip frustration? Did I skip fear?

Okay, I got to go back and live in that. What did you say or do that hurt me? Can we talk about that? That's B. And then C is confess it appropriately. Confess your anger appropriately.

And I tell you what, I grew up in the 70s. We were told, let it all hang out. Just, you know, whatever you're saying, say it. It's bad advice. Okay.

Don't do that. That's inappropriate confession. Appropriate confession looks different. You settle down. You say, can we talk because I'm angry. Here's why I'm angry and I'm wrong and I need to apologize.

That's what it looks like. Now, can I say this to you? The most important thing you and I will do on this planet, it's two parts, is be forgiven by God and to forgive others.

That's one A and one B. I put it as one and two, but it's really the most important thing. And I hope you do not go to your death without receiving God's forgiveness. When Jesus said, forgive them, they don't know what they're doing. He's thinking of you and me as well.

And guess what? He forgave you. That's why he's on the cross. You and I should be punished for our sin, just like you want the person that's hurt you to be punished. God should punish you and me for our sin.

And guess what? There was one that was punished, not for his sin because he was sinless. Jesus took your punishment and my punishment on that cross and the agony of his punctured lung and all that was for you to be forgiven. Now, it's not applied to you and me until we say, I receive that forgiveness for my sin, which means we got to admit we're a sinner and say, I receive Jesus as my King. And some of you have done that and some of you haven't.

I'm just saying before you die, I hope it's today, you say, okay, today's my day. I receive your forgiveness. And then out of that, God says, now that you've been forgiven, here's what forgiven people do. They forgive people.

You now have the power. We're going to talk about it Easter. The resurrected Christ lives now in you and you're forgiven. So now you give that to others. We in the church should be known of all people as forgivers and we're known as judges.

We're really good at judging. And I'm not saying we wink at sin, no, we call out sin. But at the end of the day, when someone hurts you, we have to respond like Jesus did and say, I forgive you. Now I'm going to tell you, that is a journey that you have to go on.

It was 30 some years ago when my wife turned to me on Sunday afternoon as my three boys, about seven and younger, were playing on the family carpet after I preached at church, probably on forgiveness that day. She turns to me because I literally said casually to her, I said, can you believe my dad left when I was that age? And you know, if you know Anne, you know, she is such a wise, incredible woman. I do not deserve her. She literally turns to me and she says, you need to forgive your dad.

And I'm an idiot. And I go, I forgive my dad years ago. She goes, no, you didn't. She goes, in fact, when he calls, this was back in the days of the cord.

She goes, you hold the phone here, you tolerate the phone call and you say, okay, bye. You don't even engage. It's time. And I remember thinking, I preach this stuff. I know what the New Testament says. I know what Paul wrote in Ephesians 4, forgive others as you have been forgiven in Christ. I've been forgiven in Christ.

Forgive others. So you know what I thought? I thought, okay, this is Sunday.

I'll do it by next Sunday. I really thought it'll take a week to forgive decades of hurt in my life with my dad. And the next day, and I don't have time to get into it, but it's really a miracle. A buddy that I knew ran into me at a grocery store and he goes, dude, I got a book in a car. I don't know why I thought of you, but you got to read this. And he gives me this book. The next day, he didn't know I had this conversation yesterday with Ann. There it is. Forgive and Forget, Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve, Louis Smees.

I did not know until I started reading the book, Louis Smees is the premier expert writer on forgiveness. It's amazing. And look, you can read this thing in a day. And I did. And as I started reading it, I realized, oh, I think it's going to take more than a week.

Long story short, five years. And he walks you through. I started reading again this week just to prepare for you guys, and it's so good. He walks you through a four-step process. Now there aren't any four steps, but he says, you got to start with hurt.

There are four H's. He says, you've been hurt. You got to admit it. You got to deal with it. You got to process it.

I had never even processed the hurt in my life with my dad. Then he says, you got to acknowledge the hate. And it's maybe too strong of a word, but he says, man, you lay in bed at night and you're consumed thinking about how they should be punished and what they did and how it was wrong. Have you ever been there?

Some of you were there last night. I've been there. He calls it hate. You got to acknowledge it. That's what it feels like.

It feels like that. And he says, then you got to ask God to come in and do what he calls healing. He actually calls it spiritual surgery on your heart. You can't do it. He has to do it, but he won't do it unless you ask him to do it. And I had to go through a process, God, I can't soften my heart toward my dad.

I can't do it. I'm trying, please come in and it was daily, daily, daily for five years. And I'll never forget, you know, I was reading this book and I read it several times over, you know, many times over four or five years. And I remember the first time I came to this quote that I've never forgotten, I was sitting in my, at my home and I read here, Lewis Meade says, when you forgive someone, you set a prisoner free only to discover you're the prisoner. I remember I just dropped the book because I had always thought I'm locking my dad up. He walked out. He doesn't get back in and he tried to come back in.

I'm playing college football at Ball State and he shows up because he's reading about me in the papers down in Florida. I'm like, uh-uh, yeah, I'm not coming out of the locker room and you're going to be, you get you, you're out. And so I thought I was locking him up and when I read this quote, I'm like, if I don't forgive him, I'm never going to be free to be the man God wants me to be, that he created me to be, the husband, the dad that I could be if I, if I stay locked up. And I remember thinking, man, and Meade says it, forgiveness is this gift God gives us when we're hurt to say, I'm giving you a path out. I'm giving you a path to freedom and we think, I can't take it.

I know you can't, but he will, if you invite him in and say, would you do spiritual search, may I heart he says, that's what I do. I died for you, you're forgiven. Now I'll give you the power to forgive those who don't deserve it anymore and you did.

Let me in, let me do it. And again, it may take a month, it may take five years, it may take, I don't know, but God wants to set you free. Do not live another day, not free, because God wants to set you free and it's your choice to go on a journey and say, okay, God, this has been really hard and that person does not deserve my forgiveness. And I hope when you say that you go in, I didn't deserve your forgiveness, so could you give me the power to do what you did for me for them? Give up my right to punish.

That's the definition of forgiveness, give up your right to punish. And I'm going to pray for your freedom, because I tell you, it tastes really, really good. Father God, Lord, I pray, I know there are people listening today sitting here or watching that are bound up with hurt and they have every right to be hurt. And Lord, we need to be healed and we can't heal ourselves. We need the great physician, you, Jesus, to soften our hard hearts.

God, would you come in? I'm praying that every person that's hurting right now is saying, Jesus, come in and start doing spiritual surgery on my heart, because I've tried and I can't. God help me to experience and understand and be overwhelmed by your forgiveness and your payment for my sin on the cross. Help me to experience that myself and then help me to extend it, to give it to those that have hurt me. And I'm asking you right here, right now, Jesus, give me the power to forgive, in your name I pray, amen. You know, my hope and really my prayer is that you were praying that prayer right now.

As you're sitting there listening or driving wherever you are, I hope you just prayed with me as we did in that church that day to say, God, I can't do this without you and I'm asking you to give me the power. Because here's what I just said, and I've experienced this, on the other side of choosing to forgive someone that doesn't deserve it, just like we didn't deserve it, there's freedom. And Louis Smeed said, when you forgive someone, you set a prisoner free only to discover you're the prisoner.

That is the truth. When we hold on to bitterness and resentment and anger, we are locking ourselves up from becoming the men and women that God wants us to be. And when you choose to forgive, and I know it doesn't make sense and I know it's hard, there's a freedom on the other side of that that is so, so beautiful.

It's the most beautiful picture of the gospel. And let me ask you, as people are listening, do you think it's necessary? Like Jesus forgave me, I feel like I'm fine, I have anger outbursts, my wife, her husband have told me that. Is it important that they deal with it? Deal with? Their anger and unforgiveness? Yeah.

What do you mean? I'm just asking. Go ahead and answer that question. No, I'm just like, for you, I've seen the biggest life change in you. Would you be different had you not? Who would you be? Oh my goodness. I think you hear it all through there. I'd be the guy I was 35 years ago, an angry, resentful, bitter man.

And the scary thing is on the outside, everything looked fine, but on the inside, you felt it. So every person has to go on this journey. You owe it to yourself, but just as importantly, you owe it to your family, to your wife and your kids. And your legacy is hanging in the balance, will you? And I know it's scary and it's hard, but will you say, God, I want to go on this journey. I'm asking you to do spiritual surgery on my heart. I've tried.

I can't. I'm laying myself down before you and saying, Jesus, I'm all in, I'm all yours. Do in me what only you can do.

And then we have the freedom that you talked about. That's what's so great is that he came to set us free and he came to make us new. And that's the gospel, to give us grace, to forgive one another. Psalm 51 one says, have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love, according to your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions.

That's essentially what Dave and Anne were just talking about. God, I've tried everything. I'm working super hard and it's not working. Throwing myself on your mercy is the only way that I'm going to see change. And it's true.

That's the element right there where God is like, haha, here we go. Now we're about to see some real life change. I'm Shelby Abbott and I have absolutely loved this time with Dave and Anne Wilson today on Family Life Today. You know, Dave and Anne are passionate people.

Maybe you've picked up on that. I've spent a lot of time with them and I know how much their passion inspires passion in other people, transforms people, transform people. And you know, the cool thing is, is that Dave and Anne are going to be with us this year on the Love Like You Mean It cruise. We're counting down to selling out for the 2024 Love Like You Mean It cruise. Now we expect to sell out this week.

So it's Thursday today. We're expecting for all the spots to be reserved by the end of the day tomorrow. So hurry if you'd like to join us. The cruise is going to be in February from the 5th to the 11th and it features some of the best speakers and Christian entertainers out there today. There's going to be six romantic nights, three exotic ports. It's going to depart from Miami, Florida and it's going to be a life changing event.

So you can go online to or you could give us a call at 800-358-6329. You get that? The number again is 800, F as in family, L as in life and then the word today.

It's an easier way to remember it. And we hope to see you on the cruise. Did you know that God has a bigger purpose for your marriage than just your personal happiness?

So you might say yes to that because you know, it's quote unquote the right answer, but do you actually believe that? Well, tomorrow we are joined by the president of Family Life, David Robbins, along with his wife, Meg, to talk about how marriages need margin. That's tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-22 06:39:24 / 2023-06-22 06:51:57 / 13

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