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North Carolina Pastor Reconciles With Parents Who Abandoned Him as a Child

Since that day, Cox has been sober for 10 years and has served as pastor of Peace Baptist Church in Whiteville since June 2022.

It was during his time in college and seminary that God began to change Steven Cox’s heart toward his parents, he said.

Peace Baptist is not far from the neighborhood where Cox was arrested as a teenager for possession of drugs.

Soon after becoming a Christian, Cox was willing to do anything God wanted. Through various providential circumstances, he began to explore the option of going to Bible school, and God began to provide the way. He encountered an elderly couple and many others who volunteered to assist him financially.

It was at school at Fruitland Baptist Bible College and later Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where Cox would not only be informed, but transformed.

“The doctrine of Christ’s forgiveness rocked my college days,” Cox said. “It really changed and softened my heart to forgive my parents. As I’m meditating on these doctrines, God was working on my heart to apply that doctrine to my human relationships and ultimately with my parents. God saved me and gave me a love and forgiving heart toward them.

“I knew I had to forgive my parents as it was the only biblical answer. I knew God had called me to live a life of action in the context of forgiveness. I would make moves to reach out to my parents and express forgiveness, and that was not an easy process for me.

“It was like God had to drag me to do that, but on this side of the journey I’m so grateful that God’s Word directs us to forgive and restore our relationships with people. Even those that hurt us the most. They needed to know more about God’s love and forgiveness towards them even more than my love and forgiveness toward them.”

Cox led his father to the Lord in 2014 and baptized him seven years later. His mom attends another church in the area but often visits her son in his office to encourage or pray with him.

Cox has counseled many in his congregation, specifically men, through the process of rebuilding relationships and offering forgiveness.

Despite all of the difficulties, Cox said he would do everything all over again to experience God’s forgiveness and love in a deeply personal way.

“My advice to people regarding forgiveness is firstly to rest in the Gospel with your own soul,” Cox said.

“Grow in what Christ has done for you. I would rather someone get deeply rooted in the Gospel, instead of trying to rush a process. I had to walk through my own pain and my own hurt by reading God’s Word and resting in the Gospel.

“Some people told me to just leave my parents alone, but I wanted to go to my grave with forgiveness, not bitterness.”

This article originally appeared here