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

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

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Steven Cox, pastor of Peace Baptist Church in Whiteville, N.C., baptizes his father in 2021.

WHITEVILLE, N.C. (BP) – For years, pastor Steven Cox of Peace Baptist Church held a deep anger toward his parents, who abandoned him when he was a child. Now, with God’s help, Cox has a good relationship with them both and is in the process of discipling his father.

Cox told Baptist Press some examples of spiritual fruit he has seen in his parents include are his mother’s peaceful and encouraging relationship with him and his dad’s decision to follow Christ. Cox baptized his dad at Peace Baptist in 2021.

Pastor Steven Cox prays with his mother at the altar of Peace Baptist Church.

“I can now confidently say that both my parents love and care for me dearly and I do have a growing and thriving relationship with them,” Cox said. “All three of us are continuing to learn even more about each other.”

“I’m learning my Dad is actually a loving and caring person. He’s inviting me into his world, and I’m inviting him into my world. When I hang out with him, I see it as a discipleship process. My Mom texts and talks to me almost every week to just check up on me. We haven’t even had an argument in like two years. This wasn’t the case growing up.”

Cox said the restoration process was slow, and it took several years after becoming a Christian to begin the process of forgiveness.

The couple had Cox when they were in their early 20s, but separated when he was a baby. By the time he was 2, it was decided that Cox would go to live with his father while his sister would go to live with their mother.

Cox would soon come to stay with his step-aunt, where he would spend most of his childhood. He would see his parents off and on, but sometimes would go months or years without seeing either or both of them.

Drugs, violence and all types of immorality were the norm at his aunt’s house. Cox would sometimes participate by stealing things and selling drugs for his aunt.

Describing himself as an angry child who always wanted to fight, Cox said the root of bitterness began to grow in his heart.

“I was seeing all this and just wondering why is my life like this?” Cox said.

Steven Cox was arrested for drug possession as a teenager. He now pastors a church not far from the neighborhood where he was arrested.

“I had friends with both parents in their life, so around age 6 to 13 I started forming a deep hatred and bitterness toward both my parents. This hatred kept growing. I didn’t want to be around them.

“I thought there was something wrong with me or weird with me. I would literally shake my fist to the sky and just say, ‘God why do you hate me so much? Why did my life end up like this?’”

During his teenage years, Cox began living with his grandparents who were strong Christians.

His grandmother would often talk to him about Jesus and invite him to church, but he was uninterested and can count on his hands the number of times he went.

That all changed when he graduated high school. The challenges of the real world mixed with an increase in drug use caused Cox to fall into an extremely dark place.

“Something dark was just happening in my life, and I just felt weird and knew something was wrong in my life.,” Cox said.

“I just knew there was always something different about my grandparents. I remember calling my grandmother one Friday and asking, ‘Will you go with me to church on Sunday? I need to be saved.’

“I couldn’t tell you what the preacher said, but I knew when I walked into that church I needed to get saved. After the service, I went down to the altar of that small North Carolina church, and a friend of mine led me to the Lord.”