Rodney McNeal's Journey to Selflessness
By Gorman Woodfin
The 700 Club
CBN.com - “I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it and how I wanted it. And if I couldn’t get it the way that I wanted it, then I was unhappy. And once Rodney was unhappy, it wasn’t any good for anyone.” Everything Rodney McNeal did was for himself, whether it was drinking, drugs or women. “If a particular female made me mad or hurt my feelings or what not, I moved on to the next one.”
By college he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. He went from one woman to another until 1993—when he married Antoinette. But the couple fought constantly. Rodney complained to his female co-workers, who were more than happy to tell him what he wanted to hear.
“For every ‘no’ you would hear at home, you would hear ‘yes’ at work. When you would tell your stories or speak about your arguments or your frustrations at work, I would hear how I was—I was right and she was wrong. ‘If you were my man, I would treat you this way and you would have this and you would have that. And you deserve better.’”
Rodney started having affairs with women at work. Antoinette knew something was wrong. “Knowing that he would be seeking somebody else definitely made me just feel, just less than a woman.”
He admits he saw as many as five women at a time. “I stayed away from home as much as possible. And if I wasn’t at home, I was with another woman.”
The couple divorced in 1999. By then they had 2 sons. Antoinette knew she had to get right with God and started going to church.
“She stopped drinking, she was dealing with me,” Rodney recalls, “She was trying her best. We were in and out of church.”
Rodney missed his children and Antoinette. They remarried a year later. Nothing substantial changed in their relationship, but the family started visiting churches.
One day at church Rodney says God spoke to his heart. “God just pressed upon me really strong. He just asked me, ‘Aren’t you tired, son?’ You can’t lie to God, you know. So I was like, ‘Yes, Sir.’ So he asked me, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ So in the midst of everybody worshiping, I kind of just got out of the seat, got out of the aisle, and I went and I walked up to the stage.”
The pastor prayed with Rodney as he asked Jesus to come into his life. “The whole weight of the world just came off my chest like the 5,000 lb. Gorilla that was sitting on my chest and on my back just jumped off.”
“I asked God to take away my addictions.”
He also knew he had to make things right with his wife. “I saw the damage I did, not just to her, but to my sons. The pain I caused within her was just… to this day, I regret it. And I understood that I had dug the hole. I had made that bed. I had to be accountable for that. So I was willing to do whatever I had to do to earn that trust back. First and foremost, I knew it was going to take time.”
Antoinette started to see a dramatic change in Rodney. “He would look to what I needed, what I wanted more. He would be more attentive to the boys and –and speak into their lives more. I saw the—the softness that I saw in the beginning, his attentiveness came back.”
Rodney remembers, “The old Rodney was a very, very selfish, spoiled brat. All he cared about was himself. The new Rodney cares about everybody more than himself. I care about my wife more. I care about my children more.
Antoinette says she is grateful that God gave her a new husband. “He’s dedicated. He’s devoted. You can tell he’s devoted to God. It’s just not just when he’s in these walls of church. He does it when he’s home.”
Rodney encourages husbands to get their hearts right with God. “First and foremost, admit to Him that you need Him. You have to surrender. And that’s the hard part. But it gets so much easier once you do that. Because once He takes those things away from you - and He can do so - you’re free.”
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