‘I Am Free’: Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin Shares How God Led him to Forgive and Publicly Honor his Alcoholic, Abusive Father

Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin
Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin

Vaughn McLaughlin, pastor of The Potter’s House International Ministries in Jacksonville, FL, shared the emotional post below with his church family on Facebook.

Today was a very emotional and very fulfilling day for me. I spent the day in Ocala, Florida at the gravesite of my father. Many of you know the stories that I’ve told of my father. He left my mother with 5 little boys and literally never looked back.

I grew up like many of you without a father in the household. I also grew up with not many fond memories of my father. He was an alcoholic.He was abusive especially to my mother, who I loved dearly.

When he died I refused to speak at his funeral. I was the pastor of the church I pastor now. But I refused to speak because I didn’t have much good to say. So I thought it best to not say anything at all.

I have wrestled with this for years. It was two years ago on Father’s Day that God gave me a release and I totally forgave my dad. I honored him before my whole congregation with a salute to his life, service to our nation and the good he produced in the lives of so many people.

Today was the culmination of true and complete forgiveness. God told me to go to his grave site and wash and groom his tombstone. My wife joined me and she helped me to wash away all of the pain of my past and to honor my father by cleaning his gravesite.

As I washed away the dirt that had accumulated over the years, I also washed away the pain from my life that had accumulated over the years.

I have been through some pretty painful and embarrassing moments in my life and ministry because of how I viewed my dad. But I can wholly and completely say that, I am free.

If you have a father, a mother, a loved one that you have not totally resolved the issues of the relationship, let this be a challenge for you to get it straight. Get it right before it’s too late. Be free. I am free.

It feels good to be free. These videos are from today. It was raining and thundering but I got it done with the help of the Lord and my awesome wife.

I hope the videos inspire you. View them all.

—Vaughn McLaughlin