For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

Forgiveness

There it is! Right there in God’s word. I know you’re thinking that forgiving some people is just too hard. Take heart. It can be done even if someone has wounded you greatly. I want to take some time today to share a little more of my testimony with you. I want you to keep in mind that even though I had it bad in the story I describe…somebody out there had it worse. Who knows…it might be you. My hope is that you can find it in your heart to forgive and release yourself from the chains of unforgiveness before it leads to bitterness of soul.

Hands open in forgiveness

My Journey of Forgiveness

I shared in an earlier post that I was hospitalized in April of 2011 for a manic depressive episode. While I was in the psychiatric hospital, I was under the care of a doctor who had earned the nickname “Doctor Ice” on the hospital floor. I came in with Bipolar symptoms and when I was released I was taking 15 pills a day to maintain my mental health. I somehow received treatment as though I had full-blown schizophrenia. To this day I’m not sure why this happened. I was released after a couple weeks and my mental health deteriorated so badly that I was admitted back into the same hospital a second time under the care of the same doctor.

I was locked in solitary confinement and knocked out completely with some kind of tranquilizer for many days during my second stay at the hospital. They did this because I was experiencing extreme paranoia and psychosis. While I was locked in solitary, the medications made me feel like my skin was crawling. My tongue felt scorched and I didn’t have access to water. I felt like my brain was in a vice, my body felt like it was on fire and my ears hurt tremendously from the faintest amount of noise. I was placed in solitary for making a vague threat. I remember making the threat because I was scared when all those symptoms overwhelmed me.

After all my screaming and banging on the door for what seemed like forever, I passed out. I remember waking up briefly and it felt like the movies where everything was moving in slow motion with muffled voices around me. These were the voices of the nurses who came to check my vitals. After this traumatizing ordeal, I was transported to what I call the dark room. Where I slept for days until I came to. There they would come and feed me and help me go to the bathroom. Unfortunately, I remember waking up cold and wet several times. Apparently, there was a time when they found me fully clothed sleeping in the shower completely soaked.

My wife would come and visit me every chance she got. I know it was horrible for her to go through seeing me like that. I remember her holding me while I wept hard in the dark room. I honestly don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for her and my sons. She stood by me and endured the trials like a good soldier of Christ. She interceded for me in prayer for several years before and after this ordeal. I know many people would have given up on their marriage at that point, but she did not and I’m thankful to God for that. As traumatic as these hospitalizations were…it was nothing compared to what my family went through the last seven and a half years.

The Lost Years

Being on all that medication took its toll on me. Upon my second release from the hospital, I began sleeping for twenty to twenty-two hours a day for the next four years. My family would wake me up to feed me, take my meds and go to the bathroom. When I would shower I would forget to wash certain body parts and or rewash the same body parts for lengthy periods of time because I was so disoriented. I was so sedated from all the medication that I was on that all I did was sleep. I couldn’t hold a conversation with anyone because I would forget what they were saying all the time.

When I would be in a room full of people I couldn’t differentiate between conversations. Everything would blend. My family suffered and they hardly ever went out during this time because they had to take care of me. My sons grew up without a dad and my wife missed out on having a husband during the years that I slept. There are times where I will see pictures of the kids from that time period and I get so sad because my wife Mary Beth would tell me I was there and awake when the picture was taken, but I have ZERO recollection of these memories.

It used to be so hard when I would see videos or photographs of my son, like this one. I have no recollection of my son Max at that size or age. I would just cry and I couldn’t help but think of how that doctor set the course of my life for those years. As my psychiatrist helped me wean off most of those meds over the years, I started to have a better quality of life again. I am thankful for having such a good psychiatrist now. As for Doctor Ice, it hasn’t been easy to forgive him, but I did eventually. It took me a long time to get rational and realize he did the best he could to help me and he didn’t mean to harm me.

Sometimes the enemy tries to get me to think that the doctor meant to harm me, but when these thoughts come up. I take them captive and I confess that I already forgave him. I refuse to let my mind wander to a place where I question the doctor’s motives. I just can’t go there because it has always led me to a dark place that I’d rather not go in my mind and it gets me thinking nasty thoughts about him. The way I forgave him was by pushing aside my emotions and feelings and I made myself do it. It was definitely a process. It took effort, but when I did it felt like a huge weight lifted off of my chest.

Since then I have prayed for him. I pray for his soul and that he would come to know Jesus as his Lord and savior. I pray that he would be healed of any wounds from his past. There is freedom in forgiveness. When I forgave him I released myself from mental prison and torment.

Friend, I pray that this post encourages you to forgive that person who may have wounded you. It’s not worth being held hostage to yourself in your own mind. Let go of any offense big or small and give it over to God. He is the righteous judge.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

I want to take a moment to reflect and end this post on a positive note. I wrote a song that was motivated by my testimony that I shared here. God has set me free from the pain and trauma of this whole ordeal and I wanted to share this with you. If you made it this far, I just want to thank you for investing your time. Thank you for caring and I hope this made an impact on you for the good.

You thought you had me

Thought I was down and done

Through all the years, yeah I counted ’em

And no I ain’t bitter, I’m blessed

It ain’t about me, it’s all in his righteousness

Now it’s Sunday and I’m standing tall

Thinkin’ ’bout everyone else you afflicted

Abusing your title, yeah you hurt them all

Now you got ’em poppin’ pills thinkin’ they’re losing it

Dear God I pray…

I pray for the least of these

Pray for the least of these

That in the thick of it, you won’t let ’em quit

Pray for the least of these

Pray for the least of these

Through the heartache and pain

Fighting thoughts they can’t contain

Pray for the least of these

Doctor doctor, it’s time for an evaluation

See people like you, affect this entire nation

But it’s you that I’m worried about

How can you live with yourself?

When you be takin’ people out?

You went to school, became an MD

But we both know your soul’s the one that’s empty

I know I ain’t the only one

There are more of us out there

Praying for those that hurt us without a care

Doctor doctor, I ain’t about to mention your name

See, I would never want to bring you shame

Let me correct myself, I mention your name

I do it when I pray for you, speak blessings over you

I pray for the least of these

Pray for the least of these

That in the thick of it, you won’t let ’em quit

Pray for the least of these

Pray for the least of these

Through the heartache and pain

Fighting thoughts they can’t contain

Pray for the least of these

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for that psychiatrist

That his soul would thirst for nothing less than righteousness

That before the end he would accept your Son

And His true grace gift of salvation

And to anyone who can relate to my story

I pray that God will use you to bring Him all the glory

And with one voice let us pray

We pray for the least of these

Pray for the least of these

That in the thick of it, you won’t let ’em quit

Pray for the least of these

Pray for the least of these

Through the heartache and pain

Fighting thoughts they can’t contain

Pray for the least of these

Love, God

Love People

Love you