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Hurting Himself to Hurt God

After Yannik lost both parents to AIDS, resentment and anger pushed him into drug addiction and gun trafficking. He knew what he did was wrong, and offered God a chance to get him out of his life of crime. Read Transcript

Because my father worked for Delta, it was nothing for us

just to hop on a plane, fly to Hawaii, Bermuda, the Bahamas.

We were like The Cosby family.

People always referred to us as you

know that quintessential, perfect family.

NARRATOR: Yannik McKie grew up in a loving home

with all the luxuries his father, an airline executive,

could afford.

Though not religious, his parents

sent him to a Christian school where he heard the gospel

for the first time.

I remember going home that night getting into my room

and kneeling at the side of my bed

and telling Jesus that I wanted a relationship with him.

And at 6 years old, I received Jesus Christ into my life.

NARRATOR: Yannik continued to flourish taking

frequent trips with his family.

But then his parents started going away on their own

for weekends.

Yannik was 11 when his father sent him and his sister down

and explained the trips were to hospitals

for experimental medical treatments.

When he told us that he had HIV,

I didn't know what that was, but I certainly

knew what no cure meant.

It meant no more fancy trips.

It meant no more fun and games.

And eventually, it would mean no more mom and dad.

I can't really tell you how long I cried at that moment,

but it was a while.

NARRATOR: Yannik's father admitted

to an affair with a woman.

But a short time later, his mother told him the truth.

My mom looked at me and said, "Yannik, it wasn't a woman.

Your father's gay."

I really didn't grasp what was happening.

My father wasn't the man that I thought

he was because if he contracted a disease that they didn't have

a cure for and then gave it to my mom

my father was going to be guilty of murder.

NARRATOR: Although he was angry at his father,

Yannik also blamed God.

In my mind, it was God's fault.

I believed that God was in control.

So you're going to allow my dad to contract a deadly disease

and then give it to an innocent person.

Oh yeah, I was hot.

NARRATOR: When Yannik was 13, his father died of AIDS.

I remember my father dying, but me

feeling like that was a consequence of his choice.

And so why should I feel sorry when

he's getting what he deserves.

NARRATOR: Yannik's mother died of AIDS two years later.

I loved mom.

I was a mother's boy, and I felt like she was innocent.

And she died a slow death.

And that ate at me because if you

see my-- had seen my mother, she was beautiful, healthy, young,

brilliant, but AIDS ate away at her.

NARRATOR: He and his sister were adopted by family friends.

Devastated by the loss of his parents,

Yannik started using drugs.

It started with the wrong crowd, hurt

people attract hurt people.

I began to hang around teenagers with problems, people

who didn't have strong father figures,

young men who liked to do drugs and hang out and party,

and so that's what we would do.

NARRATOR: Yannik soon began selling drugs.

And when he went away to college he

discovered he could make a bigger profit buying guns

and selling them illegally.

He and a friend started running guns to drug dealers

in New York City.

I knew that I was wrong.

I knew God was real.

I would hurt myself to hurt him.

I was-- it was almost like I was trying

to get his attention some way, somehow.

To get him to pay attention to me.

To see if he cared because I didn't know if he did.

NARRATOR: Yannik continued running guns

for the next few years.

But the guilt he felt for having put hundreds of them

on the street began to weigh on him.

I remember one night praying, God, almost like

I'm going to give you a chance.

If you want me to change, I'm going

to need your help because I'm too deep in this to just stop.

NARRATOR: A short time later, Yannik

was arrested when a gun buyer gave him up.

He faced five years in prison.

I remember almost being happy.

I wasn't angry with the police for doing their job.

I got in that van and I went to sleep.

And I remember thinking, you're answering my prayer.

And they took me to a federal prison in Savannah.

NARRATOR: While awaiting trial, Yannik

says he had an encounter with God.

I began to see that the situation I was in

wasn't God's fault, it was my fault.

I'm guilty of making the same detrimental decisions

that my dad was in a different way, all still sin.

And it was at that moment I forgave him because I

realized I was just like him.

I mean I felt it, literally, like a weight lift off of me.

I was in prison, but I was free.

NARRATOR: Once able to forgive his father,

Yannik rededicated his life to the Lord.

Out on bond, he began attending church.

One Sunday, he had a chance encounter with a prosecutor

there who wanted to know more about him.

Yannik told her about losing his parents

and returning to God after years of rebellion.

Then, he had his day in court.

This is a big case, college students

involved in gun trafficking.

I mean they want us in jail.

Now this is a federal prosecutor and she defends me.

I was guilty.

But because of what she did for me, the judge showed me grace.

She did such a good job, my attorney

says, "I acquiesce to the argument of the prosecution,"

and sits down.

I mean it was amazing.

It was God.

NARRATOR: A charge was dropped and instead

of five years in prison Yannik was sentenced

to five years probation.

He began working with the prosecutor

teaching hundreds of at risk kids to read.

Today, he is married and has a family of his own.

And he owes it all to the God who both forgives and restores.

We forgive because we realize if it wasn't

for the grace of God we could all be guilty

of the grossest sin.

I believe there's a direct correlation in the grace

that I showed my father and the grace that was given to me.

You can not believe you've been forgiven

of an eternal debt of sin and not

being willing to forgive someone who sins against you.

And I experienced true forgiveness.

And so when I felt that weight lift off with me,

that was a weight, not just for that moment,

but a weight for the rest of my life.


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