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The Beautiful Struggle to Forgive

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The Beautiful Struggle to Forgive

Sports broadcaster Jason Romano candidly discusses his past struggles to forgive his alcoholic father for the pain he caused Jason as a child. Our guest describes how God comforted him, transformed his heart, and enabled him to fully forgive his dad.
Original Air Date: November 26, 2019
Live to Forgive

Live to Forgive

Receive Jason Romano's book Live to Forgive for your donation of any amount!

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Live to Forgive

Live to Forgive

Receive Jason Romano's book Live to Forgive for your donation of any amount!

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Episode Summary

Sports broadcaster Jason Romano candidly discusses his past struggles to forgive his alcoholic father for the pain he caused Jason as a child. Our guest describes how God comforted him, transformed his heart, and enabled him to fully forgive his dad.
Original Air Date: November 26, 2019

Episode Transcript

Jason Romano: And I just told him, verbally told him that I truly – “I forgive you, and, uh, I’m sorry for what you’re going through.” Now, two things happened there. It wasn’t an immediate; it’s all done.

Jim Daly: Right.

Jason: I exuded the forgiveness…

Jim: It’s a process.

Jason: …Work – it was a process. But I realized at that moment that the forgiveness wasn’t for my dad, even though I had to tell him. It was for me.

John Fuller: That’s Jason Romano talking about forgiving his alcoholic dad. And you’ll hear more of his story today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim: OK, John, I have a challenge for the listeners today. Think of that person who has hurt you deeply. I mean, to the point where maybe you even haven’t forgiven them yet. Um, it might be a parent, a sibling, a friend, a former spouse, maybe a work colleague.

Now ask yourself this. Have I truly extended forgiveness? Because that’s on your side of the equation.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Has nothing really to do with them, the one who offended you. Forgiveness is complex, and we get that. It doesn’t excuse abuse or harmful behavior, of course. But forgiving someone does mean that you’ll let go of bitterness and leave revenge – I would say judgment – up to God. Someone once said, “Forgiveness is surrendering my right to hurt you for hurting me.” And I think that’s a powerful way to sum it up, John.

For us as Christians, showing mercy to those who have harmed us can be one of the most beautiful ways to display God’s amazing grace to a hurting world. That’s the testimony of us as believers. And our guest today is a wonderful example of just that.

John: I would agree, Jim. And as I said, Jason Romano is our guest. He’s an Emmy Award-winning sports journalist, a former ESPN producer. He’s a husband and dad and has a book that we are offering for you today, Live To Forgive: Moving Forward When Those We Love Hurt Us. We’ve got copies of that at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Jason, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Jason: Guys, it’s great to be here. Thanks so much for having me.

Jim: Well, I want to say, good job on being a wonderful husband and father, but then I want to talk to you about being a sports journalist.

(LAUGHTER)

Jason: It’s my two most important jobs.

Jim: But I want to get the order in there…

Jason: I appreciate that.

Jim: …The way I need to.

Jason: Thank you so much.

Jim: But that must’ve been pretty fun.

Jason: To work at ESPN?

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: Holy cow, it was – it was a dream job. It really was in many ways. And I got to work there for almost 17 years. Did production mostly, so I was behind the scenes. But got to spend time with some of my heroes. Got to meet and become friends with some of my heroes that I grew up with. The person who wrote the foreword to the book is Darryl Strawberry, who is my sports hero.

Jim: He’s been on the broadcast. He is a great guy. And his wife, too.

Jason: He’s an amazing guy. And he was my hero. Like, I wore his jerseys and kept his stats and had his baseball cards, and suddenly, I’m spending a day with him at ESPN. So yeah, it was an amazing, amazing opportunity.

Jim: Let me ask you this off-the-wall question. I mean, when it comes to us as believers – and we are in a sports-saturated environment. I love sports, too.

Jason: Sure.

Jim: I played in high school, played baseball, football, basketball. How do we, as believers, how do we peel back a little bit so it doesn’t become an idol?

Jason: You know, it’s so hard, I think.

Jim: (Laughter) It is hard.

Jason: It is so hard. And you’re coming – you’re talking to a guy who sports was my god for so many years. Even after I became a Christian. I became a Christian at 26, 27. I had to kind of learn in a slow way that sports really isn’t that important to the grand scheme of life.

Jim: But, you know, sports is such a connection, Jason, especially between fathers and sons.

And this was really your story, and, um, it was hard, uh, for you. You had a pretty positive view of your dad until one night. I think you were at a football game or a baseball game. Uh, what happened? And I’m telling you, I so relate to your story because I think we had the same father but hit it.

Jason: It’s probably, uh…

Jim: Same type, yeah.

Jason: …Unfortunately common with a lot of people who are listening. My dad and I – you know, my earliest memories of my dad – you know, my parents got divorced when I was 6. So, I really didn’t have a – a ton of memories of mom and dad being in the same house. I have really no memories of that. So, it was always kind of, like, spend the weekend with dad and spend the week – during the week with mom. But my dad loved sport – loved sports and loves sports. And, I mean, he just – that’s all we still talk about to this day. And so, my memories of him are pretty much all revolved around sports, good and, unfortunately, bad. And, uh, I write about it. The first chapter in the book, I take you to 1984, and it’s my first time ever going to an NFL game. Uh, it’s the Eagles and the Giants. My dad is a…

Jim: That’s a good one.

Jason: …Diehard Giants fan. And we all get in the car, me and my two brothers and my dad and my step-mom, Patty. And we’d take the drive from Albany, New York down to Philadelphia, PA. And when you go to a game, I remember, you know, arriving and seeing this huge stadium and walking in and just seeing this giant 100-yard football field and thinking, “Oh, my gosh. I’m here. This is amazing.” Uh, you know, and a 10-year-old kid that’s just the greatest thing ever – right? 11-year-old kid.

And as quickly as, and as excited as I was for the game to start and so just really elated with joy, it turned sour really quickly because my dad, who had been drinking at that time – and he was still in his early to mid-30s – um, he’s getting his drinks in and getting his beer in. And we’re sitting in the 700 Level with these rabid Eagles fans, and he’s a Giants fan.

And probably halfway through the game, I just remember my dad suddenly getting into this verbal sparring and lots of bad words being said. And I thought, “This is not right. I’m confused here. What’s happening?” You know, “Why is this happening?” And, uh, and my dad was unfortunately really intoxicated. And then we had to drive home. And it was the scariest four- or five-hour drive I ever remember as a kid…

Jim: Because he was drunk.

Jason: He was drunk.

Jim: Jason, one thing I caught in the book that really captured my attention – because as a little boy, you stop calling your dad “Dad” and started referring to him as Joe, his first name. Uh, but it’s connected to this disappointment. Explain why you did that. And what protection was it providing little Jason?

Jason: Yeah. It was weird because there were times when I’d call him dad, and there were times when I call him Joe. And I figured, looking back – ’cause it’s – it’s funny. You remember things as you start to write a book, and all these memories come back, you know, things I hadn’t thought about in years.

Jim: Right.

Jason: And I was working with my co-author, Steve Copeland, and we were talking and working through it. And I’m like, “I think I called him Joe more than I called him dad growing up.” And then we were starting to expand on it. And I realized a lot of the times that I was calling him Joe was the times that he had been drunk or done the things that would embarrass me. And I’m like, “That’s not my dad. That’s just – that’s Joe. That’s not my dad. My dad is the guy who’s sober and supportive and loving,” which I didn’t get a lot of. And so, I found myself calling him Joe a lot more than I called him dad.

Jim: Now, I just resonated with that, again, having a similar father. I never did that, but I could understand the relief of doing that. That this is not the guy I love; that’s the other guy.

Jason: It wasn’t. It was weird because especially being so young, you’re confused. It wasn’t till I was in my teenage years till I really started to see that this man had a problem. Something really was wrong and off. When I was 11, 10, uh, younger, it was more confusing than it was, uh…

Jim: Yeah, is this normal? Is this what everybody does?

Jason: Right, my mind’s not able to process that on a mature level like you would when you start getting into teenage years. But, you know, I even took that with me as I’m writing the book. There were moments where I called him dad, even into my 30s and early 40s. And there were moments when I’d write about him as Joe, even writing the book. So, it was still kind of resonating with me now at 45 years old.

Jim: And I connected with that. Where was God in this picture for you? I mean, obviously, I don’t think your dad, maybe your stepmom or your mom, had real commitments of faith. But did you sense God? Did you have a – kind of a childlike belief that there must be a God or…

Jason: I grew up, uh, in a Catholic household. But to be quite honest with you, I’d never heard or understood salvation, Jesus, faith, the cross, grace. None of that. I really had no religious anything in my life growing up. God was not a part of my life.

Jim: Did that evolve for you then, that knowledge, that awareness?

Jason: Not until I was 26 years old.

Jim: OK.

Jason: And it was my brother Chris, my middle brother, who was the first in our family to be saved and to begin a true relationship with Jesus Christ. But after a few years and watching him live out this faith, truly live it out, not just…

Jim: Every day.

Jason: …Hammer it home to me but watching how he loved his wife. How he loved his newborn child. How he loved his family, it was different, and it was attractive. And it wasn’t till 2001, Mother’s Day, when he introduced me to Christ. And that’s how the journey began for me and my faith work.

Jim: That’s so awesome. You have a story – and this is really – again, it caught my attention. You have a story where your feelings of hatred… so maybe it started with embarrassment. I mean, I can relate, again, being embarrassed with your dad at that little league game when he’s drunk and slurring and talking to the ump, and he, I know, is thinking he’s helping you while you’re at bat, but you want to just crawl into a hole because you’re so embarrassed.

Jason: Absolutely.

Jim: But then you talk about a day that you can remember that embarrassment turned into hatred for your father. Describe that.

Jason: Hatred is a – is such a, you know, I think of the word hate now and I – and I – (chuckling) I hate the word hate. It’s just such a hard thing to think about, but…

Jim: But it’s real.

Jason: It’s very real. And, uh, as my dad got older, um, there’s a lot of moments where I’ve discovered hatred for my father, if you want to call it that. You um, know, him calling me in college and asking me for money, um, to pay off…

Jim: When you were a college student.

Jason: When I was in college. Remember, I don’t have money. I’m in college (laughter). No college student has money. And he’s calling me and saying, “Hey, I’m behind on this or that, and I need to borrow a few dollars” and completely wasted when he’s calling. And then he calls. And sort of the first time I ever heard him say that he wanted to end his life…  when I was in college. And I was so angry and bitter at him at 20 years old, not, you know, empathetic and wanting to help him. I was just stopped at him. I was so mad. I can’t – I hate my dad. But then a moment comes when I’m – I’m in my 24- 25-year-old stage when he calls up. And this is how bad it got for my dad. And he’s – he’s drunk, and he calls me. And he tells me this story that his wife, Patty, had died in a fire. And we loved Patty. She was our stepmom and so close. We hadn’t seen her in a few years. And so, we’re all very sad, and he’s crying. And then two or three days later, maybe a week later, he calls, and he tells me he made up the whole story.

Jim: Oh, my goodness.

Jason: He made up the whole story. And I – I said, “Why would you do that?” And he said, “Listen. I – I don’t know. I’m so sorry.” And it was – just shows you the fact that he was so – in such a bad place at this point. This is 1997 or ‘8 – that he had to lie to try and get people to feel sorry for him. And then he had to come and tell us what happened, that he was lying about this whole thing. And that was a moment when I hung up the phone; I said to my wife – I said, “I can’t believe this guy. I really hate him.” I said, “How can he lie about the death of his second wife?” And there were more stories like this, unfortunately. But it was a – a pure hatred for this guy that I had to work through myself. And this is pre-Christ for me.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: So, I had to figure out what that meant to, in essence, hate my dad.

John: Well, if what Jason is sharing right now stirs up emotions in you that haven’t dealt with, and you’d like to take some steps of healing, please don’t overlook the opportunity to give us a call. You can schedule a time to talk with one of our caring Christian counselors here at Focus on the Family. It’d be an honor to pray with you and to help you in any way as you move forward toward forgiveness – the healthy place of forgiveness. Especially as we head into the holiday season.

And certainly, we have Jason’s book here, Live To Forgive. So, ask about that, as well. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or online you can find the help you need at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Jason, you have really set the table. And I think the listeners fully grasp that emotion inside of you. That hatred that had developed for your dad. And some are connecting with you saying, “Yeah, that was my dad too.” Whatever their situation, that – that overwhelming sense of I just wish this person was not in my life – ’cause it’s so destructive.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: But then you begin to turn the corner. You start to – in your book, you say you started to feel, which was the first step to forgiveness.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: Help the person that hasn’t put those two together. What did – what did it mean to help begin to feel?

Jason: I think at that point, uh, you know, I call it feeling the pain, is what we’re trying to do. Acknowledging that there’s pain. You know, a lot of us, when we’re angry at someone, we try to just suppress it or put a big wall in front of it and pretend it’s not there.

And for me, that’s what I did for many years. I mean, I – I talk about when I went away to college. I looked at that as sort of a boundary for me to get away from my dad, you know. Get away from all the garbage and crap that I was, you know, living through having him be close to me and around me in my life. When I started to feel the pain, I think it was probably around the time when I had gotten back from college. And I – I just met my now-wife, Dawn, and – you know, I’m having somebody to talk to.

Jim: Right.

Jason: And I also went and got some counseling early on. I didn’t go through counseling as I got older. My counseling, I guess, was – was with the Lord and with, you know, uh, my pastor and people like that. But I went to a counselor before I became a Christian, and I remember just bawling my eyes out and thinking, why am I crying right now over this?

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: I shouldn’t be this mad. Like, I can’t stand this guy. Why am I crying? And it’s because I knew that I still cared about him.

Jim: Where’s my grief?

Jason: He was my father. There’s grief.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: It was almost like a person who would cry when somebody passes. It was grief. And it allowed me to begin the process of feeling and understanding that, OK, I have pain. It’s not – it doesn’t feel good, but it’s there. Let’s acknowledge it and not try to, like, push it away and ignore it because so many of us do that. And – and for me, that was really the first step in moving forward when I realized that eventually I had to come to a place to forgive him.

Jim: Yeah. And you mentioned, uh, meeting Dawn. And what an amazing stabilizer a spouse can be.

Jason: (Laughter) So true.

Jim: ‘Cause you do get that other perspective. And, you know, I’m a big believer in the Christian relationship that your spouse completes you.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: So, your blind spots, they often will be able to see things differently from how you see them…

Jason: Oh, she did.

Jim: …And be able to bring some reality, right?

Jason: Oh, so true. And my – my wife, um, you know, when we got married, we weren’t – neither of us were Christians. Got married in a Catholic church, but again, didn’t really have a faith or care about religion or God or anything like that. But we had each other. And, uh, even our motto at our wedding was “Two become one.” And so, we – we didn’t even realize when we were getting married that we were, you know, sort of living out the marriage in a biblical sense on the idea of two becoming one person, which is – which is right from the Bible. But having that person who came from a – a very strong mom-and-dad-together – still together to this day – relationship. Married over 50 years and have been together and not knowing what it was like to be around such brokenness in that realm. And so, she comes into my life – and I write about this too in the book – that I was almost scared to bring her…

Jim: Into the mess.

Jason: …Into my crazy family mess.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: You know?

Jim: Embarrassing again. Yeah.

Jason: Oh, my goodness.

Jim: “Don’t look over here, Dawn.”

Jason: Yeah. “Don’t worry about that. I just – you and me.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: “Don’t worry about my crazy dad and all the…”

Jim: Wow.

Jason: “…Garbage that’s going on.” And I remember the moment when she first saw the effect that my dad had on my life. And it was right before we were getting married and inviting my dad to my wedding. Like, he had missed all of those big moments in my life when I graduated from high school, graduated from college.

Jim: He missed ’em all.

Jason: He was – he was in rehabs or…

Jim: Oh, wow.

Jason: …In binge mode or whatever and just not doing well. And he missed all of those what I call pillar moments in a young person’s life. So, I had no father to attend these things and celebrate with me. And so, at my wedding, I really wanted to have him there. It’s, like, listen, he’s missed everything else. Let’s bring my dad to our wedding. And my wife was great. She’s like, whatever you think is best. You know your dad. I’m all for it. So, we invite my dad. And then, like, five days before, a week before, I get a call. And he’s wasted drunk, and I found out that he had been on a binge for five or six days of drinking. And I had to uninvite my dad to the wedding. And it was awful.

Jim: So, the one thing you were hoping he could be there.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: Wow.

Jason: And then my wife again was so great on supporting. But I knew that this is her day.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: Even though it’s our day, this is her day. This had to be the perfect day, November of 1999. And, um, so we uninvited my dad. And – and Dawn was greatly – great and – and supportive. But there was a void there.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: Everything – was a perfect day. It’s one of my favorite days of my life, but there was a void.

Jim: Yeah. Let’s talk about the 12, uh, steps of forgiveness that you really go after in the book. And we only have time to couple of them. But let’s hit a couple that really are important. And then, folks, you need to get a copy of the book. And we’ll post those…

Jason: Mmm hmm.

Jim: …If we can. We’ll post the 12 at the website so people can see that. But, um, what are some of those important things in that 12 steps of forgiveness?

Jason: There’s so many steps. Um, you know, I break the book down into feeling the pain, evaluating the trauma, transforming the wound, and living to forgive. And I think it’s the transforming the wound one is not necessarily in part of the 12 steps, if you will, of that. But I think that’s a big one because when we get a hold of who God is, and understanding forgiveness that we ask for every single day – right? We come to God, and we say, “Lord, forgive me for the things I’ve said, the things I’ve done, the things I’ve thought,” and then we don’t turn around and exude forgiveness to others.

Jim: Right.

Jason: We are literally putting a hand to God and saying, “I got this. I don’t need you.”

Jim: I think that was exactly his point with the woman caught in adultery, right?

Jason: Yes…

Jim: That was exactly his point.

Jason: Hand to the face. And so, I think one of those steps – if you want to call it a step – is to understand what God’s forgiveness is about. That he exudes it to us for free. All we got to do is ask. It’s undeserving. We do nothing to earn it. And it’s there every day, over everything that we’ve ever done, that he forgives us. And so, it’s like the old prayer I learned when I was a good Catholic boy. You know, the Our Father. The Lord’s Prayer, you know, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It’s literally Jesus’ words telling us, “This is what we need to do every day.” It’s not easy because that pain is real, and we’ve been hurt. But the step, the process, the move of understanding God and what his forgiveness is about and then trying to do that to others. Looking at people with an empathetic heart. Looking at people in different ways, not through our lens, but through God’s lens. I think that’s one of the big steps to go forth with is just understanding the forgiveness aspect of who Christ is in our life.

Jim: And this kind of ties into the whole thing, how you did that with your father.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: Which is the right place to land. How did that happen for you with your dad?

Jason: It was a process. As I like to tell people, forgiveness continues to be a process even after you sort of start that process. But my dad was in a really bad place about six years ago or so. His alcoholism and drinking continued. But he was compounding that with depression. And he had a lot of mental illness things going on in his life at that time. And when you put alcohol and mental illness or depression together, it’s a recipe for disaster…

Jim: Sure.

Jason: …In many ways, right? And so, my dad is really in a bad state in the middle of 2013. And I get a call one day in June of 2013 from a nurse at a hospital in Albany, N.Y., telling me that my dad had tried to end his life. That he got to the point where he just didn’t want to live anymore.

Jim: Oh, man.

Jason: And he took a bunch of pills and tried to end it. But I guess he got really scared because he immediately called 911 after he took those pills. And the ambulance came, took him to the hospital and, in essence, saved him. But I get this call from this nurse and – just to give you an idea – this is only six years ago – how bitter I still was about my dad, when I got the call from the nurse that he was in the hospital for this reason, there was no empathy on my part.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: I just said, “Really? I’m so sorry to hear that.” Uh, and she’s like, “Well, if you want to come and visit, you know, you can.” I said, “No.” I said, “Thank you very much, but I think I’m OK.”

Jim: That’s a wounded person.

Jason: Oh, my gosh. I was so – I was so – yeah, I was wounded. And I had no empathy for this man.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: I had no sorrow. I had no – to be honest, I had no love in that way.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: But over a week’s period – and I remember going to a small group, and my pastor was leading it, Pastor Joe. And I said to him – ironically, the same name as my dad – and I said, uh – I said, “I’m not really knowing what to feel right now.” And honestly, before this, I had pleaded and asked and told a lot of people about my dad’s situation and asking for prayer. But I couldn’t – it’s like I always thought, “Yeah, God can forgive you, Joe, but I can’t.”

Jim: Right.

Jason: You know, that’s how I looked at it. And over the process of about a week, I started talking to my pastor and he just said, “You need to read what Jesus talks about with forgiveness. And how it doesn’t matter what that person has done. It’s about – it’s about you. And you’ve got a lot of wounds right now.” And literally, a week later, I get on the phone with my dad, and I talk to him at the hospital. And he’s broken and empty and lifeless and just sounds horrible. Unlike any time I’ve ever talked to him in the past. And he’s telling me at that point, he still doesn’t want to live. “I don’t even know what I’m doing here.” And I remember just at that moment, my heart opened, and I had empathy for the first time in my life for this man.

Jim: Wow.

Jason: And I just told him, verbally told him, that I truly – “I forgive you, and, uh, I’m sorry for what you’re going through.” Now, two things happened there. It wasn’t an immediate, immediate forgiveness; it’s all done.

Jim: Right.

Jason: I exuded the forgiveness…

Jim: It’s a process.

Jason: …Work – it was a process. But I realized at that moment that the forgiveness wasn’t for my dad, even though I had to tell him. It was for me. I was the one that was stuck in bondage. I was the one that had these sort of chains on me, keeping me down. And the clear evidence of that was when I got the call that he was in the hospital. I had no – no feeling at all.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: There was not – I wasn’t – I wasn’t gonna jump in the car and go visit my dad and help him and love him and be there for him like most people would. Like, if my – my wife calls me right now and says – you know, or somebody calls me and tells me my wife’s in the hospital for whatever reason, I’m jumping in the car right away.

Jim: Yeah. But that’s a terribly wounded person that…

Jason: Terribly wounded.

Jim: …Responds that way, which I did with my dad, as well.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: So, I totally get it.

Jason: It’s hard. But I finally – to the point where I told him that, and then it began the process of forgiveness. And understanding Jesus. And understanding that if I’m going to call myself a Christian here, and walk around, and put this on social media and eventually, like, write books and things like that, then I need to be able to forgive.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: I can’t hold grudges.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: I can’t. And this includes the most hurt wounds that I’ve ever experienced with my dad. I cannot hold a grudge there. And so, it was a process. But at the point where I finally came to forgiving him, you know, it was six months, a year before really started to see a situation with my dad start to come back in focus. Now, the irony of this whole story is that from that day that my dad went into the hospital, he hasn’t had a drink since.

John: Mmm.

Jim: That’s – that’s incredible.

Jason: Six and a half years…

Jim: Six and a half years. Good for him.

Jason: …Now, and he is sober.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: And it’s – it’s a clear miracle from God. Now, my dad – my dad does not have, uh, this sort of relationship that I would hope that he would have with – with Jesus. Uh, I think he believes in God. But he is very – still, you know, struggles with that world a little bit.

Jim: Well, we need to pray for him.

Jason: We do.

Jim: (Laughter).

Jason: Yeah, I tell people, “If you want to do anything for my dad – he’s sober now, but he still needs prayer because…”

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: “…He’s not ready to fully submit his life to the Lord.” But he cannot deny that there is a miracle that has taken place.

Jim: Jason, that – that’s one of the sensitive things I want to mention here and highlight. For the listener who may not have a deep or even a relationship with Jesus, this is exactly the profound nature of God…

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: …And his character. For you to be able to make that turn, for you to feel empathy. That, in my mind, is the spirit of God. These are the things that come from him. Those are the characteristics of God in us as human beings that have his divine nature.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: So, we can overcomplicate this – it has to be a bolt of lightning. No, it’s that moment when you feel for someone that you’ve hated all those years. That’s the spirit of God.

Jason, this has been so good.

I hope you, the listener, have a better understanding of that.

If you’ve got that bitterness eating away at you, um, get a copy of Jason’s book. And if you can afford to help Focus on the Family with a gift of any amount, we’ll send it as our way of saying thank you. If you cannot afford it and you’re in a tough spot, call us anyway. We’ll send it to you, trusting that others will take care of that expense.

Uh, it’s so important, from our perspective, that you have a tool in your hand to help you get through this area of bitterness. It’s key to growing in your relationship with Christ. So, do it. Don’t hold back. Don’t be embarrassed.

We’ve been at it for 40 – over 40 years. We’ve heard – I think we’ve heard it all. You never want to say that, but, uh – but you know what? We’ll be able to talk with you. Call our counselors and let us share the love of God with you.

John: And our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Online, you’ll find the help you need at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Jason, it has been so good to hear your heart. I really do feel like we’re brothers. I’m you’re older brother, obviously.

(Laughter)

Jim: That’s okay. I love connecting with that pain aspect of what you’ve expressed. I’ve lived it. I know it. And, uh, I just – there’s an instant bond when you go through that kind of emotional warfare. So, thank you for sharing.

Jason: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for having me. It’s been an honor.

John: Well, it’s been great to have you here. And um, especially as we have Thanksgiving preparations and the holidays coming around, it’s just not the time to hold on to unforgiveness. In fact, speaking of, next time you’re going to hear on this broadcast from a mom who challenged her family to go an entire year with an attitude of gratitude…without grumbling or complaining.

Teaser:

Mrs. Tricia Goyer: I knew it was the breaking point when the waitress put our plates down and they were arguing over the fries that spilled on the table, because they all wanted the three fries on the table (chuckling). I’m like, “There’s so much grumbling. There’s so much complaining. We cannot, first of all, go all the way home like this. But we really need to work on it.”

End of Teaser

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