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The 700 Club

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

“It was a lot of pain, a lot of anger, a lot of violence in our home. My name was never Rick - I was always a cuss word.”

The youngest of 11 children, Rick Greene remembers the sting of verbal and physical abuse inflicted by his alcoholic mother.

“I was always belittled. I was always humiliated.  Somebody was always cryin’.  And at times there was blood drawn.”
There was one bright spot in his young life.  

“Yeah, Daddy was the one that woke us up and took us to church. Even though he was a functioning alcoholic, he loved us. And as a child, you never forget that.” 

Still, the relentless abuse left Rick convinced that he was a failure.  Making it worse was a learning disability that went ignored.

“I remember telling the teachers, how did I pass? And they just kept passing me. And by the time I got to the 10th, 11th grade, I just dropped out because I was so humiliated.”

Rick also started using cocaine to escape. 

“You can’t even describe the euphoria. It’s indescribable. Every negative pain left.  Gone.”

At 19, he married and started a family.  Rick worked temp jobs, but feeding his addiction was his priority.

“I wasn’t eating. I was skinny. My skin didn’t look good, you know. You look like you live - I looked like a slave to Satan.”

Rick eventually left his family, knowing he was only harming them. 

“Reality hurt too much. Reality was too heavy because you had to look at you and what you’ve become, how many people you truly hurt. I couldn’t deal with the pain of four boys, they had to be asking their mom, ‘Where’s dad at?’”

For more than a decade, Rick was in and out of jail on child support violations – just more reminders that he was a complete failure.   

“I was angry with my mother and I was angry with me, that I had let myself get this bad. And I was angry because I hurt this woman, my first wife.”

He was getting ready to appear in court once again, and decided to get high to soften the blow. But this time, Rick decided he’d had enough.

“I know it’s an old cliché, I just got tired of being tired.  Something had to change. And for the first time, I cried out to God, ’Please remove the desire for alcohol and drugs and cigarettes from me. I don’t want to live like this no more.’ And instantly my desire was gone. I went over to the toilet and I just got rid of the cocaine. And I poured out my beer and I broke my cigarettes and I said, ‘Father God, cleanse my tongue,’ and I’ve never cussed again. No one can tell me God isn’t real because no one can do that on their own.”

Rick asked the Lord for forgiveness and gave Him his life.  He then went to court, and was sentenced to six months.  During that time, he read the Bible and began to understand that he had great worth in God’s eyes.
“There was a joy I couldn’t even describe. There was freedom. There was no more bondage. I could make choices on my own instead of being told what to do.  We were actually human beings, we were people.”

After his release, Rick started making things right:  He found a church home, stayed off drugs, and caught up with his child support.  And in time, he was able to forgive his mother and found it freed him. 
“Before she died, I was at peace with her. I could think for the first time without somebody putting me down … I was actually living. And I hadn’t lived in a long time.”

Rick has since remarried.  He and Stephanie are active in their church, but spend most of their spare time with their two boys.  

“I’m able to show Ricky and Jermaine how to be a good husband and good father. And that means the world to me.

Rick knows he’s made his share of mistakes, but he knows his self-worth is defined by God’s love and forgiveness.

“The Holy Spirit is always reminding me, Rick, you’re forgiven, Father God’s given you a clean slate.  Jesus is sweeter than honey.  And once you taste Him, I promise you, you’ll want more.” 

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