Ed M. – AA Speaker – Why it is so important to forgive others in recovery
Right in the middle of that sermon, I suddenly stopped. I realized I was being hypocritical because of the passage basically saying, “Don’t come to my altar if you’ve got a problem with one of the brothers out there, go make that right before for you come back.” I realized I had never told the guy who killed my father that he was forgiven. Now, you want to know how well this stuff works and you aren’t going to believe this, because I hardly believe it myself, I could not remember the name of the guy who killed my father. Couldn’t remember the name, but I knew fore sure that I had never told him I forgave him. He had been forgiven for a long time. When you forgive somebody, it’s worthless if you haven’t told them. It’s just self-serving. I stopped right in the middle of sermon and said that to my church. Then, two and a half weeks later, I found out the man who committed the crime, had his sentence overturned. The press came to me. They were all over me and they said, “They are going to let this guy out of prison, what do you think?” I said, “Well, let him go, let him let him start fresh.” They said, “He went in there when he was seventeen years old, he does not know how to work, and he does not have a place to stay.” I said, “He can come live with me, I will take care of him.”
People just couldn’t understand that. They’ve obviously never been to AA, where you welcomed me when I was so low, so down and out. How could I say no to him? What’s different between me and him? Seconds and inches, and the amount of alcohol in a situation. But for the grace of God, there go I. How dare I not welcome him into my life? That story went all over the world, it was on the front page of the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times as well. Heck, Oprah and 20/20 were calling me and asking, “What are you doing?” I said, “Well it’s called Step Eight and Step Nine, and if you really work it, incredible things will happen.” I always liked Oprah and her producer called me and said, “We’d like you to be on the show.” They said, “How about this coming Friday?” I said, “Well, I can’t, I’m speaking in Orlando at the central central office anniversary.” Amazed, they said, “This is the Oprah show…” I said, “It’s their anniversary!” See you taught me here to do what’s right, and keep the commitment you made first, regardless of what comes up.
I’m not letting my friends down in Orlando, they’ve been waiting two years for me to come and talk. I would love to do that. The producer thought I was nuts! They haven’t called me back. Anyways, two and a half weeks later I found myself walking down a hall in a prison that I swore I’d never step foot in again. I walked in a room and I saw the guy that I hadn’t seen twenty eight years. The last time I saw him, he was sitting in a courtroom with a smirk and an attitude on his face. Back then I had so much rage toward him. But at this moment, I sat down and I saw myself doing what you taught me to do. I stuck out my hand to shake his and said, “I’m here to tell you that I love you and I forgive you. I only have one thing to ask of you.” He said, “What’s that? I said, “If there’s ever anything I can do in your life to make it better. Allow me to do it.” He looked into this old timers eyes and he knew I wasn’t kidding, there was no fun and games, it was a time to heal. I stayed for two hours. The oddest thing was, we became friends. We ended that meeting with the state attorney general being there because this was a big deal. We all held hands, we cried, and we said The Lord’s Prayer. How appropriate.