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LEARN ABOUT TRUE FORGIVENESS
By Eric Jon Eickholt
The story you are about to read is true. The events
I always thought of myself as a loser, a person with
no value. Only through all that God has brought me
through did I make the discovery that in God's eyes
I am someone of great value.
My testimony begins in Lima, Ohio on
August 26, 1973, the day I was born. My mom was not married
to my dad, so not having a dad around didn't help my
When I started school I didn't have many friends. The other
children would make fun of me because I didn't have a dad at
home. I can't even begin to tell you how many fights I got
into because of the other children making fun of me.
My mom met someone in 1981 and in 1984 they got married. I
thought I was finally going to get some friends; hey I had a
dad now. I thought the other children would stop making fun
of me since I had a dad.
Boy was I wrong. It turned out that I was about to have more
About six months after they got married my moms new husband
started to beat me. No matter what I did he would beat me
with his belt or a paddle.
I was living in a nightmare. I didn't get any friends like I
had hoped for. In fact I even had to stay out of my physical
education class to keep my teacher from seeing my bruised
backside and legs.
I was getting was a violent attitude.
No one wanted to be friends with someone with a violent
attitude. So I was alone, I still had no friends.
I became a violent person because that is what I was shown
at home. I was getting paddled so much that my backside and
legs were bruised more often than not.
I was angry because I couldn't make any friends. I was so
angry that the only people that would have anything to do
with me were those involved with Satanism. I thought that
they were the only ones that would or could love me so at a
very young age I got involved with Satanism. I finally had
Once I had some "friends" I could start looking for my real
dad. That only started a new chapter in the nightmare I
called my life.
My life started to go downhill as soon as I got involved in
Satanism. My schoolwork went to pot. The man my mom married
became more abusive, and every time I thought I had found my
real dad I was let down.
The man my mom had married was so abusive that I didn't even
dare speak when he was around. He was so abusive that at
times it would seem that my mom would beat me. I don't know
if she was doing it because she was afraid of her husband or
if she felt that that was the only way she could get through
The only thing I knew for a fact was that there was a great
deal of anger building up inside of me. My anger soon turned
to hatred. Hatred for my mom, her husband, and the people I
looked to as friends.
To make matters worse my moms' husband collected guns. He
never locked them all up so I could mess with them if I
while they were gone I thought it would be cool to shoot one
of the guns. After I got the .22 caliber gun and some
bullets I started to shoot it. I shot up a metal storage
building real bad.
When the police did their investigation I was busted. So at
the age of ten I went to juvenile jail.
It was while I was at this place that I met someone very
important. The other boys tried to be friendly to me, but I
was too angry, I hated everyone. It was really odd the way I
met this person. Since I was a Satanist I didn't go to
church. I mean church was pretty much a danger zone for
someone involved in Satanism.
One Sunday morning I woke up early and couldn't get back to
sleep. They had a church service that was optional. The
guards said I had to go because they didn't want to put up
with me. So I went, under protest, but I went.
The preacher did a sermon on how there was a fight for our
souls. The two people that were fighting for our souls are
Jesus and Satan. The winner is determined by which one we
choose to follow.
The preacher was really starting to upset me by saying that
Satan was bad. He even said that Satan doesn't even care if
I had just about had enough and wanted to jump up and call
the preacher a liar. Before I could do anything he asked us
to listen to a song.
After he played the song the service was over. And for me it
was none too soon, I couldn't wait to get out of there.
After we got back to our dorms I tried to get some sleep,
but couldn't fall asleep. That song just kept playing over
and over in my head.
After four days of no sleep and a very troubled heart I went
to see the preacher. I asked him what the name of the song
was. He told me it was called, "The Champion."
I told him that the song would not leave me alone. I
couldn't sleep and every time I tried to watch the
television all I could see was a fight with no winner.
The preacher asked me if I was ready to see the end of the
fight. I asked him what he meant. He asked me if I was ready
to have a better and blessed life with Jesus.
I sat there and thought about it for a few minutes while he
got music around for the next church service. After about
ten minutes I told the preacher that I had tried everything
else and none of it worked so I said sure.
The preacher told me that accepting Jesus into my heart was
not a quick fix or a game. He said if I was serious it would
mean I would have to change my life and way of doing things.
He also said that by accepting Jesus into my heart my life
would be better but it would also be harder.
I asked him what he meant by harder and he said that there
are things God doesn't like. Things like lying, stealing, a
bad attitude, and hatred.
were all things that I was use to doing and I could
understand how my new life would be hard. But I was tired of
seeing that fight so I asked the preacher to help me accept
So on a cold November afternoon I accepted Jesus into my
life. I'm not going to tell you that from that moment on my
life was just great. In fact it was just the opposite.
It just got harder and there were even times that I stumbled
and fell. The reason my life got harder was because Satan
had lost me and he wanted me back.
to prove to the people in my life that I had changed. Satan
did a pretty good job at making that hard to do.
While I was in juvenile jail my mom's husband brought
pornographic movies and magazines into the house. So at the
age of eleven I was introduced to sex in a bad way.
I was never told that sex was for after you got married. I
thought that it was just something you did all the time.
way Satan tried to stop me from proving I was a Christian
was by tempting me to steal. I did.
It all started with candy. I would go into a store like I
was going to buy something and steal candy. Soon I was
stealing money from my mom and her husband.
Pretty soon I started to smoke cigarettes. I would steal
them from my mom and her husband. I soon found a way to
steal my cigarettes from the stores. It didn't help that my
mom would give me cigarettes for doing stuff around the
I started smoking when I was twelve or thirteen. I was
smoking up to two packs a day.
Then on March 10, 2000, I threw away an entire carton of
cigarettes. God took the desire to smoke away from me; I
have not touched a cigarette since that day.
I thought that since I had given my life to Jesus I would
find my real dad quickly. I soon found out that it would
take time. It would take so much time that I became angry
again, but I did not go back into Satanism.
Then one day there was a breakthrough in the search for my
dad. Someone told me that his brother lived in a nearby
town. There was finally some hope in my search.
I got on my bicycle to go to the town where my dad's brother
lived. I had to ride through another town.
While I was in this town I stopped and broke into a house. I
did it for really stupid reasons. I needed money for
cigarettes and I thought I could get away with it.
I never made it to the town I was going to because I had set
off a silent alarm. The police wasted no time in arresting
My day in court was not for a week, so at the age of
seventeen I sat in jail, again.
I called my mom and told her what I had done. She said she
would be up to see me on visitation day.
On visitation day my mom showed up with someone I did not
know. When he saw me he had this look of disbelief on his
face. I asked my mom who he was and she wouldn't tell me.
About half way through the visit my mom gave the phone we
used to talk to each other to this strange man. The first
thing he said was that I looked and acted just like his
brother. He was amazed.
All of his talk of amazement meant nothing to me because I
didn't know who he was. He could tell I was starting to get
He asked me why I was getting upset and I told him that all
of his amazement meant nothing to me because I did not know
who he was.
Then he told me who he was. It didn't register at first then
he told me who his brother was.
I had questions; oh boy did I have questions! I started to
ask him questions so fast that he never got to answer them.
This man was obviously my uncle so I asked him the most
important question of all. Was my years of searching going
to be worth it? Was I going to get to meet my dad?
The answer I got did not look good. My uncle did not know if
all my hard work was going to pay off. He told me that my
dad lived in Texas . So there was at least a chance that I
could meet my dad.
Just before the visit was over my new uncle asked me to put
him and his family on my visitors list. So I did because I
wanted to learn as much as I could about my dad.
The day before I had court was a visitation day and I was
kind of bummed out because I knew that no one was coming up
to see me. I was wishing that someone would come and see me
because I knew I was facing jail time. Just before visiting
hours were over one of the correctional officers called my
name. I had a visitor.
When I got to the visitation room the person that came to
see me was not the person I had hoped for. I was hoping that
my mom would show up so she could put some money in my
person that came to see me was my new uncle and his family.
There was also another man with them. As I spoke with my
uncle he introduced everyone but the strange man that came
in with them. There was something strange, almost familiar
When my uncle was through talking I asked him who this guy
was. He just smiled and handed the phone to the stranger.
When I asked him who he was all he did was cry.
My uncle got the phone and asked me what I had said. I told
him all I had done was asked him who he was and I still
man had my uncle ask me who my mom was and when I was born.
When I told him he had some problems remembering back that
far then he remembered. I had done it; I had found my real
When my day in court came I was in the courtroom alone. I
had no lawyer and the judge said he was going to try me as
an adult. The reason he was going to try me as an adult was
because it was so close to my eighteenth birthday. I thought
I was done for; the judge was going to "throw" the book at
To my surprise I was only sentenced to six months in the
state correctional system. They sent me to a place called
CRC, which is where they send you before they send you to an
actual prison to do your time.
I stayed in constant communication with my dad while I was
there. One night while I was talking to my dad he asked me
to come live with him when I got out of jail. I told him I
That was going to be the payoff for all the time I put into
looking for him. So when I was released from prison I moved
to Texas to live with my dad.
It was great. I got to meet my two half-sisters and the
woman that was married to my dad.
After I got settled in and rested up from the long trip I
started to look for a job. After looking for about a month
or so I finally found a job. It was at a fast-food joint,
but at least it was a job.
feeling pretty good about myself and thought there was
nothing more I needed. Then it happened, I saw her.
One day while I was walking to work I saw a woman trying to
get something out of her car. She asked if I could help so I
did. It turned out that she was pregnant.
I knew that she could use all the help that she could get
because of the baby. As I helped her we spoke and I
discovered that we had quit a bit in common.
asked her where the baby's father was and she said that as
soon as he found out she was pregnant he left.
There was not a day go by that we didn't get together and
talk before I went to work. Our friendship soon turned into
finally had the best things in life; a mom, a dad, a job,
and someone to love. I was on top of the world.
I got a letter in the mail one day from the Ohio Court
System. It seemed that there was a child in Ohio that I was
the father of and the state of Ohio wanted me to pay child
After the DNA paternity test was done I discovered that I
had a son. When I told my girlfriend she was happy because
she thought that her baby would have a brother.
Almost three months after we got together my girlfriend had
her baby. She had a beautiful baby girl.
I was never a daddy up to that point in my life. I mean,
sure, I was a father but there is a difference.
As I looked into the eyes of this baby girl I saw the love,
the kind of love that God gives us everyday. The kind of
love that only He can give. The unconditional type!
I finally had everything going for me. I thought I had it
all, a son, a job, a woman that loved me, and a baby girl
that looked at me like I was daddy.
My girlfriend's baby and I did everything together. There
were even times that her mommy couldn't get her to stop
crying and it was no problem for me. She was defiantly a
My job was going great. My bosses liked my work so well that
they were even thinking of moving me into management. There
was not a whole lot that I couldn't do so why not. It would
not be easy but I wanted it.
The relationship with my dad was great. I mean I actually
had a dad in my life that didn't beat me. We were getting
along pretty good. Don't get me wrong we had our
differences, but he loved me and I loved him.
After my girlfriend and I had been together for about a year
and a half I asked her to marry me. She said yes.
I was on top of the world. It seemed that everyone loved me.
I didn't know it yet but the love everyone had for me was
about to be tested, and tested hard.
One night I was closing at work and it was late when I got
done. As I was walking home I was hurt really bad. The back
of my head was broken; I had suffered a traumatic brain
When someone found me and called 911 the EMT's didn't think
I was alive.
When the doctors saw me they only gave me a 3% chance to
survive. They told my dad that I probably wouldn't make it.
My dad called and told my mom in Ohio . My mom was in Texas
the next day. I was still in surgery when she arrived.
After the doctors were done with the operation they were not
very optimistic. They told my mom and dad that I had
clinically died three times during the operation.
The doctors were still staying with the 3% survival rate.
They also told my parents that if I did survive I would most
likely be a vegetable.
My parents saw this as devastating news. They were thankful
that I had survived the operation, but they were not
prepared nor were they going to accept the other news.
They went to God in prayer and put me on church prayer lists
in Ohio and Texas . I had people praying for me all across
I spent one month in a comatose or unconscious state. Then I
was in a semi- comatose state for another month. All I can
remember is a dream that I never wanted to end.
All I can say is I guess I hadn't done what the Lord wanted
me to do so I had to come back. As much as I wanted to stay
with the Lord He sent me back to answer a lot of people's
After I came out of the semi-comatose state I had to relearn
a lot of things. Things like walking, talking, eating,
dressing, and even how to act in a civilized manner. The
head injury really messed me up.
I even had to relearn who my family and friends were. I had
a hard time even knowing who my mother was.
I am thankful that everyone stayed by my side and prayed for
me. If the people in my life hadn't been praying for me I
don't believe I would have made it.
My girlfriend stayed with me through the whole thing. I wish
I could tell you that we stayed together and got married but
that didn't happen.
The two months that I stayed on the rehabilitation floor in
the hospital really took its tool on our relationship.
Neither of us could stand the other so we broke up.
I felt really stupid on the rehabilitation floor at the
hospital because I was a twenty-one year old baby.
The specialists were finding it difficult to teach me
things. I was very combative with them because they were
trying to make me do things I didn't want to do. Thank God
they had the patience to put up with me.
It took them three weeks to teach me how to speak, two weeks
on how to eat, and almost five weeks on how to dress myself
and tie my shoes. In all I was on the rehabilitation floor
for almost three months.
The doctors told my parents that they didn't know how it was
done but I was not a vegetable. They said that I shouldn't
have been able to do the things I was doing, but there I was
doing them. I only have God to thank for that.
The doctors also told my parents that I would have some
memory problems. My parents didn't think anything of it, boy
was that a mistake.
I had some pretty serious memory loss problems. I even had a
hard time remembering who my family and friends were. I
couldn't remember the names of people, phone numbers,
birthdays, or even my address.
There were even times that I didn't want to talk to people
because I couldn't remember who they were. That took a
pretty hard toll on my dad and the rest of my family. It
made it hard to talk to me because people didn't know if I
would remember them.
No matter how much I want to tell you that I am okay I
can't. I still have some problems with my memory.
The doctors have said that my memory will never get better.
I want to prove them wrong, but it's hard to do alone. My
memory is a little better than when I got out of the
hospital, but it is not as good as it should be.
Another thing that the doctors said is that I probably would
not be able to work again. The way I was to survive was is
by living off of a check from the government.
I was going crazy and driving the people in my life crazy
because I didn't have a job. I couldn't deal with it any
longer; I had to get a job.
Every time I tried to get a job somewhere they wouldn't hire
me. They thought I would be a liability because of my
I was so angry with myself because I felt like a failure. I
mean I could not support myself, and my dad either couldn't
or wouldn't put up with my attitude.
So about eight months after I got out of the hospital my dad
called my mom. He told her that he couldn't deal with me so
he was going to send me back to Ohio .
I'm not saying he was a bad father because he was great. I
mean he did the best he could. And that is all anyone can
ask of another person.
When I tried to get a job in Ohio I got the same thing I got
in Texas . No one would hire me because they thought I would
get hurt on the job. I finally got a job at a fast-food
About one year after I moved back to Ohio I met a woman. She
had a daughter that was about the same age as my son.
After we had been together for about a year we got married.
That was not a real smart thing to do because we knew each
other yet we didn't know each other.
I can look back and say that was really stupid. I didn't
really know her, in fact the only two things I knew about
her was she had a child and she paid attention to me. Just
about the only thing we had in common was the fact that we
About two and a half years into our marriage she became
pregnant. Our marriage was pretty rocky up to that point.
I thought things would get better because of the baby. Well
we both got real moody during the pregnancy. It got so
bad that we were fighting more often than not.
It was so bad that after she had a baby girl she had to be
put on a medication called Prozac, a very strong
anti-depressant. She had to take it once a day.
One day after I came home from work she was trying to take
her medicine. She had already taken it before I left for
work. When I asked her what she was doing she said she was
taking her medicine.
When I told her she had already taken it she tried to take a
handful of pills. She didn't get all of the pills in her
mouth because I had knocked some of the pills out of her
hand. She picked up the pills and told me to leave her
I told her that if she took that much of the medicine it
would kill her. She said she didn't care, she wanted to die.
She was trying to commit suicide in front of the kids and I.
I got upset and tried to stop her. I did the only thing I
could; I took the medicine and put it in my pocket. Then she
went for the kitchen knives.
I finally had to take my belt and bind her hands and feet
together. After I got her restrained I called 911.
When the doctors pumped her stomach they found eleven pills.
If those pills had stayed in her system any longer she would
There was nothing I could do so I suggested that she stay in
the hospital and talk to the professionals. She didn't want
to do it but the doctors agreed with me so she had to stay.
While she was there she said she wanted a divorce. I wanted
to try and save our family and marriage so I said no.
We tried to work everything out but it didn't happen. We did
everything but let someone else run our lives.
When we discovered that there was no saving our marriage we
started the divorce.
While we were in the courtroom the judge told my wife that
since she tried to commit suicide she had given up her
Her oldest child would go to her natural father. The judge
asked me what I wanted to do with my daughter. I asked him
for some time to think it over, he gave me one month.
After the month was up and we went in for the final hearing
I told the judge what I had decided. I was going to put my
daughter up for adoption.
When the judge asked me why I told him that I was not
financially or mentally fit to raise a child. That was one
of the hardest things I ever had to do.
The judge commended me for making that decision because it
takes a real man to admit those kinds of faults. Then
he granted the divorce and my daughter became a ward of the
Since the divorce I have moved four or five times. I don't
know nothing ever seemed right.
I didn't have many people in my life that I would call
friends. I didn't let people into my life very often because
I didn't want to get hurt. I guess I have some trust issues.
Every time I think I can trust someone they let me down.
Even my family has let me down. I mean I was abused as a
child, and I didn't want to move back to Ohio after I got
I would like to have more friends, but that is something I
will have to wait on. I know that God will help me in that
area, all I have to do is be patient.
do hope that God has led me to a place where I can
grow and become more like Him.
I have been homeless, and on June 17, 2004, I moved into a
shelter for the homeless run by a church. I lived in the
shelter for five or six months.
Once I got a job and some money saved up I started renting
an apartment from someone in the church.
As you have read I have had to move into a homeless shelter.
That has to be one of the best things I have ever done.
The reason I say that is because of one of the rules the
shelter had. The rule was that we had to attend church. This
was not a rule I had a problem with since I had attended
church since I gave my life to Christ.
The church I chose to go to was the one that ran the
The first time I walked into the church it felt like home. I
mean everyone loved and accepted me for who I was and who I
could be. This was different from most of the other churches
I had attended before.
I knew I had walked into a different kind of church when the
pastor admitted some of his own faults from the pulpit. What
really got me was that he had gone through some of the some
stuff as me.
I was amazed at the love the people in this church had.
Everyone I spoke with showed genuine interest in helping me
get a better grip on life.
After I had been in the shelter for about two months one of
my old problems became known. The problem was my addiction
I had said some things to a young lady that were not
appropriate and the director of the shelter, who was also
the pastor, found out. He told me I had twenty-four hours to
get my stuff and get out of the shelter.
After I wrote a letter of apology to the pastor he let me
stay. He also introduced me to a man in the church that was
willing to help me break my addiction with pornography.
When I met with the man all he said he was going to do was
pray with me. He told me that it was a way to let God into
a part of my life that I hadn't let Him into yet.
When we started praying and I asked God to come in and help
me clean up that part of my life He showed up in a big way.
He helped me clean up more than my addiction to pornography.
While we were in prayer God showed me that there were other
areas of my life that He wanted to clean up as well. Some of
these areas included my language, my thoughts, and the
desires in my heart.
My language, thought, and the desires of my heart were
pretty bad and not very pleasing to God.
When God showed up and I let Him in He really turned my life
First He took away my addiction to pornography. It is an
everyday battle but with the Lord's help I am victorious.
Then He helped me with my language, my thoughts, and the
desires of my heart. I am now doing my best to serve and
bring Him honor everyday.
Then one of the ladies from the church asked me what had
happened to my teeth. I told her that when I suffered the
head injury the doctors had to put me on a medication to
help prevent epileptic seizures.
The medicine they gave me was called dilation. It did a good
job at preventing the seizures but one of the side effects
of it hit me.
The side effect of the medicine is that it robs the body of
calcium. The first thing it hits are the teeth.
The medicine had rotted all of my top teeth. I was pretty
self conscious about it. I wouldn't
smile or laugh and the people in my life could tell that it
The lady asked me if I would go and see a dentist. I told
her that I didn't have a problem seeing a dentist I just
didn't have the money to do it. She told me that she was
going to set up an appointment for me.
When I went to see the dentist he told me that the few
remaining teeth I had were bad and needed to be pulled. Then
he told me that I would need dentures.
When I told him that I didn't even have the money to pay him
so I wouldn't be able to pay for dentures. He told me not to
worry about it. All he wanted was for me to wear the
dentures and have some confidence in myself.
I agreed and the following week my teeth were pulled and I
was fitted for dentures. Two weeks latter I had a new smile.
God provided a way for me to get my self-confidence back. I
don't know who paid for the dentures and I don't care. The
important thing is that God provided me with another
About two months later the pastor introduced me to someone
that was willing to help me with my finances. That was good
because I had a hard time saving money.
Another thing that the people of the church have helped me
realize is that God is training me up to be one of His
soldiers. He tells me to put on the armor that he provides.
I tried to do that but I kept getting beat up by the devil.
One day while I was in prayer with someone from church God
showed me something. I wasn't allowing Jesus to tighten the
straps of my armor.
I was still
having problems with people trying to run my life. So I went
to a class that the pastor ran about setting up some
boundaries in my life.
There is another
class I took to help me get over the pain in my life and to
forgive those that have caused the pain. It was a recovery
class much like AA and NA, only the class was entirely
Since I have
taken the class I have found it easier to forgive someone
when they have done me wrong.
Let me say this again. It is only by the grace of God that I
am victorious over pornography, can forgive those that have
wronged me, and most importantly forgive myself.
After I was baptized in April of 2005 I heard about a
Spiritual Renewal Retreat.
Six months later I went on this Retreat. It was the most
rewarding time of my life.
The retreat was all about what being a Christian is all
about. At one of the worship services we had God showed up
in a big way.
As we were singing I looked up and saw His heart. It was as
if I could reach up and tear off a piece and put it in my
pocket for when He stopped loving me. Like that would ever
All I have to say is that becoming homeless and getting
involved with this church has really helped me grow
I am in no way giving the people of the church credit
because all the credit goes to God for what He has done in
Now I've only told you a
few of the things that God has brought me through in life.
There are so many more. The things that I've written about
are the things that have helped make me the man I am today.
I would like to end this story in a special way.
To my mom, I have this to say. I forgive you for not helping
me find my real dad. I forgive you for getting married to an
abusive man. I also forgive you for abusing me as a child.
To the man that my mom married, I forgive you for being
abusive and bringing pornography in to the house when I was
To my real dad I have this to say. I forgive you for sending
me back to Ohio after I was hurt.
To all the children that made fun of me as a child I have
this to say. I forgive you. I forgive you for making fun of
me and beating up on me.
I only hope that all the
people that I have hurt in my life can forgive me for
I would like to thank and praise the Lord for allowing me to
be able and write this story down to share with others.
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Meaning of Forgiveness in the Bible
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Meaning of Forgiveness in the Bible
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