When Davey Blackburn preaches about forgiveness, he can explain exactly what it feels like.
Blackburn, an Indianapolis pastor who leads Nothing Is Wasted Ministries, tells people to "find purpose in your pain," and shared his struggle to forgive after his wife, Amanda Blackburn, and his unborn daughter were killed with during a home robbery, FOX 59 reported.
"Friends, there is freedom in forgiveness," the pastor said Sunday at Mercy Road Church. "It's this upside-down kingdom paradigm shift that doesn't make any sense until you step into it and you begin to see the ripple effects of it, in a positive, life-giving way. Forgiveness stops the perpetuation of pain."
Remarried now with two children, Blackburn was faced in 2015 with the loss of his daughter and wife, who was also his ministry partner, as police investigated.
"The first time that I saw the images of these men who were on trial for killing my wife," he said, "I went to this deep, dark place of rage and anger that I did not know existed."
And although he tried to avoid seeing them, he buried that feeling, which he describes as "a cancer inside of us that will destroy our soul."
And he reached a breaking point.
"Then God began showing me some things and it didn't make sense to me," he said. "He reminded me of that moment where I recognized that Jesus was murdered for my sin and yet Jesus forgave."
He thought "maybe I can choose to forgive," adding "you know forgiveness isn't a feeling ... if you're waiting to feel like forgiving, you're never going to forgive."
Forgiveness doesn't take the consequences away from the person who wronged you, but it does free you from bitterness, Blackburn explained.
Though the pastor has forgiven the men who broke into his home five years ago, the case isn't closed in court yet.
Diano Gordon, 24 at the time, Larry Jo Taylor, Jr., 18, and Jalen Watson, 21, all were initially charged with murder and other crimes in November 2015. In plea deals, murder charges against Gordon and Watson were dropped, but Taylor's case is still ongoing.