Anger & Forgiveness

3 Seconds on Forgiveness: Jason Castro, Esther Fleece, and Katie Parks

Doug Bender

March 22, 2019 | 3 minute read

 We’ve been sharing stories about forgiveness these last couple weeks. Stories about forgiving others, about forgiving ourselves, and even working through the anger we can feel towards God. Here are a few of our favorite stories dealing with this topic. We’ve pulled some quotes from their stories to show just how powerful and, yet, difficult forgiveness can be.

Esther Fleece

“The path towards healing and forgiveness was more excruciating than the physical threat to my safety. I was experiencing for the first time these emotions that I ran from. I was finally getting the courage to not hide anymore from my past. I really had to deal with reality. I couldn’t fake it anymore that life was ok.”

“I was unwanted. I was unloved. How do I feel the full weight of what happened to me and seriously forgive people. Can I superficially forgive and then superficially move on? I struggled.”

“I had to learn what love should look like. I had to learn how to actually forgive somebody because it seemed impossible and they don’t deserve it. I had to relearn everything.”

“I realized I am serving a God who was broken. He was killed. It wasn’t just, ‘God loves the world.’ It was for me. He was beat for me. The beatings I experienced, the pain, just felt so small compared to what he did for me. He did all that for me and then he actually said, ‘I want to make you mine. I want to adopt you into my family. I want to show you what love is. I’m going to enable you to forgive because nobody’s forgiven better than me.’”

Esther found freedom in forgiving the unforgivable. Check out Esther Fleece’s story here.


Katie Parks

“I found myself having an affair with a man from work. I woke up one morning in tears. I had such a burden about keeping it to myself. I had confessed that to God and God had already forgiven me, but God told me that in order for me to move on, to be able to grow, to repair our relationship again, I was going to have to tell Nathan.”

“I was ready to just dust it under the rug and forget about it. I thought I’d already asked for forgiveness. I felt forgiven. I didn’t want to bring it out. My motto had always been if you ignore it, it will go away. But that never works.”

“God assured me that it was going to be hard. It was going to be difficult, but if I would do this, then he would make our relationship wonderful. I had never heard God speak. So that day, I told him. It was difficult. It was angry. There were names and tears. It took probably over a year until we were actually healed.”

“My biggest hurdle was learning to actually share my problems with other people, not pretending. It’s not about putting on a perfect look. I used to be so concerned with looking like I have it all together, but in truth, nothing is going to get fixed if you pretend you’re perfect.”

Nathan and Katie learned that forgiveness can outshine infidelity. Listen and watch as Katie and Nathan Parks tell you their story here.


Jason Castro

“I hate saying this. It’s embarrassing. But I was addicted to pornography. It was keeping me depressed. I wasn’t sleeping at night. It’s the addictive cycle, you know. You do something you wouldn't want to have done. Then, ‘Well, I’ve already done it, might as well keep going.’ I just couldn’t stop.”

“For the longest time I said I believed in God, but I didn’t really trust him with everything. I thought this thing was too dirty, too dark to share with anybody. But once I trust it with him, we started the road of living a godly life.”

“I’m no longer a porn addict. I no longer have this thing at the back of my mind that’s keeping me away from my wife. Instead, I’m able to just be there. I’ve done some things, but I’m able to be free from those things because of Jesus Christ. Now, I’m a free man.”

American Idol alumni Jason Castro took the crazy bold step to open up about his struggles. What he found was forgiveness. Watch him as he tells you his story.

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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