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Forgiving Absent Father Brought Healing

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“I felt like I was a horrible Christian. I felt like, God doesn't really love me that much because I must be one of his bad sons.”

It had been eight years since Hermes Yanes gave his life to Christ. Now at age 30, he’d just received a DUI, and an ultimatum from his wife, Joana.

“She said, ‘You keep this cycle up and we're gonna have to get a divorce. You have an addiction to alcohol; you really need help.’ I was in denial. I didn't want to really admit that I can't stop. It was crushing.’”

Hermes' path to finding purpose and faith in Christ had started when he was young. Raised by a single mother, he’d decided early on that his ticket to success was baseball. By the end of his freshman year, three colleges had offered him scholarships.

“My life was baseball-- I lived, ate, breathed, slept baseball. That was my identity right there. I became very arrogant, very cocky. I was a ninth grader thinking I ran the world, you know? I was like, ‘I got this.’”

Now, Hermes was hanging out with his older teammates, smoking pot daily, and sneaking into bars. His grades dropped and in his junior year, Hermes was cut from the team. Any shot he had at a college scholarship was gone.

“My world stopped. It completely froze. I was shameful. So, even when I would brush my teeth in the mornings, I remember I would look at myself. I used to curse at myself, spit toothpaste to the mirror. Like, ‘I can't believe you!’”

Almost overnight, Hermes became an alcoholic. “I would bring a water bottle with me and people would think it's water, and I'll have vodka in there, and just drinking it. Like, it was normal. I was literally drinking my life away, I was committing suicide slowly.”

Then one night, drunk, high, and on his way home from a club, Hermes was in a terrible car accident. He woke up in an ambulance with a paramedic looking over him. “He goes like this to me. ‘I'm a Christian, man, and God saved your life. Nobody usually survives an accident like this.’ I just kind of brushed it off. I just didn't understand that God would save me. You know? That there's somebody out there that loves me. I didn't feel loved.”

Hermes kept up his party lifestyle. A few years later, a friend insisted that he go to church with her. “I heard who Jesus is. I started hearing about my sin problem. I had no idea what sin was. But it hit me, it started touching me.”

What hit him harder was what the pastor said at the end of his sermon. “A young man in here, he's in this building right now, and you've been going through this and this, and everything he was saying was exactly what I've been through in the past four years. I was like, ‘It has to be another kid in here, that can't be me."

“He's like, ‘Young man, if that's you, don't leave this place without giving your life to Jesus.’ And it hit me. And I broke down like a baby right there. I surrendered my life to Jesus. I said, “Jesus, I don't know who you are, but I ask you to come into my life, right now.’”

Even then, he wasn’t convinced Jesus was who He said He was. So, a few days later, while struggling with pain from an old back injury, Hermes decided to test him. "And I said, ‘Jesus, if you are real, you come and you heal my back pain.’ It was just me on my knees and I'll never forget this moment. It felt like the whole atmosphere around me just changed instantly. And I felt like this heat, and I knew something was there. I knew it was God. So around my back from, from the whole spinal, it was like a heat that went up and down. I've never had back pain ever again in my entire life. And I knew that it was Jesus Christ who healed my back. I knew it was Him. From that point forward, I was convinced.”

Hermes says Jesus also set him free from drug addiction. He dove into his new faith wholeheartedly. “I found myself a mentor. He started teaching me the word of God. I got me a Bible. So, I started reading the gospel. I started growing in the knowledge of Christ. I started understanding, you know, that I'm a sinner, that I need forgiveness.”

Soon after, he met Joana and they married and started a family. Although growing in his relationship with God, he still struggled with alcohol. “I would fall into addiction every time a situation would happen to me, you know? 'Cause there was still pain in me that I wasn't really dealing with.”

That pain stemmed from his childhood and the father he never knew. “That wound of anger and hatred that I had towards my father was just getting deeper and deeper as the years went by, you know? I hated him, even as a Christian. I was like, 'I don't wanna forgive that man. He doesn't deserve it.' You know? So, I was struggling with that.”

Then came the DUI, his wife’s threat of divorce and, a few nights later, a dream where he was wrestling with a man he knew was his father. “And it showed me in the dream how I had to forgive him, and I must release him and let him go. I knew that was the root of everything right there.”

For that, Hermes needed God’s help. “I was challenged to forgive him through prayer every single day. And God would pour into me His love and help me feel what God felt for my father. And when I would pray for him, I started feeling compassion for him. I started forgiving him. And this took a while. It took months. But that was my freedom.”

Hermes has been sober since 2019. He and Joana have a beautiful marriage and their family is thriving. He’s now a pastor at a Christian recovery center for men called The Caring Place. “There's a God out there who really, truly cares about every single detail of your life. Now it's like, I eat, sleep, live, breathe, Jesus! Like, that's it. I'm sold out. He loves me with an unconditional love. There's nothing better.”

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About The Author

Amy Reid

Amy Reid has been a Features Producer with the Christian Broadcasting Network since 2003 and has a Master’s in Journalism from Regent University. When she’s not working on a story she’s passionate about, she loves to cook, garden, read and travel.