Three generations of Robertsons recently shared their testimonies of God's grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ on I Am Second. Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family, told of his battle with "sex, drugs, and rock n' roll" and how the Lord redeemed him.
"We all go six-feet-deep in the ground ... we all end up in a casket," Phil began.
Phil Robertson met Miss Kay when she was 14, and married her two years later. The couple's first son, Alan, was born when Phil was 18 and on a football scholarship at Louisiana Tech. "We were so poor," remembers Kay - "So in love, but so poor."
Phil had never drank alcohol before, but started to party with the football team once he got to college. "It was scary to me," Kay said - she had never been exposed to drugs. They soon had their second son, Jase, and Phil's drinking habits worsened. Kay suspected that he was also doing other drugs and committing adultery. Phil became very angry, and was rarely with the family.
One day, a man came into Phil's beer joint with a Bible and tried to tell him about Jesus. Phil ran him off, and later got in a bar fight that made him in trouble with the law. He came home that evening and told Miss Kay that he was going to go hide in the woods and probably wouldn't "surface" for the next two to three months.
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"There I was, a bar maid - who doesn't drink - and had three little boys," said Kay. She had been fighting for her marriage for a long time, but it just wasn't working. When Phil turned up, the drinking continued - "He became more and more mean, and mean-spirited," said Kay.
Phil eventually told Miss Kay and their three children to leave their home."I would say the low point is when I ran Miss Kay and the kids off - you're all alone, no hope, miserable," Phil said. He began to seriously contemplate if there was a way out of all of his troubles, and Miss Kay suggested that he talk with the man who had once approached him about the Lord.
"I didn't even know what the Gospel of Jesus was," said Phil - "I was blown away when I heard that Jesus died for me, was buried, and raised from the dead - something so ... simple, but profound - that happened back there almost two thousand years ago."
Kay came home that day to a note which said that Phil was at the church. She and their three boys went and saw Phil standing in the baptistry. Kay rejoiced - "I heard Phil say, 'I want to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I want to follow Him from this day forward.'" Her three boys were so excited that tears streamed down their faces. "The boys started hollering and singing, jumping all over the place ... they were so happy," remembers Kay. Phil told her that he was turning away from his sinful past, and it was in that moment that their family felt complete.
As a young Christian, Phil was put to the test when he caught men stealing fish from him down on the river. In the past, Phil says, he would have confronted them with his shotgun - "I was fishing for a living - it's my livelihood. I'm working my tail off," he explains. Phil had been reading Romans 12, however, which says -
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them ... Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink ... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (English Standard Version, from Romans 12:14-21).
Phil was puzzled, but felt convicted - "They're stealing my fish here, Lord, and You want me to do what?" Though he felt that it made no "earthly sense," Phil determined to do good to the men. He caught them stealing from him red-handed, just as they were about to pull his fishing net on-board their boat.
"Here's the good news - I'm going to raise the net, and whatever is in there, I'm going to give them to you," Phil told them. The men were incredulous, and from that day forward, they quit stealing his fish. "I took that to mean God was right all along," Phil says.
Phil fashioned a duck call named the Duck Commander soon after he became a Christian, and made $8,000 in sales his first year. The family-operated company eventually grew to a multimillion dollar business - something that Phil does not chalk up to chance. "I am giving the credit to God Almighty and Heaven for the duck call sales, the fish that were in the nets way back, [and] for my life," he says.
Phil's son Jep and grandson Reed proceeded to share their testimonies as well, rejoicing in all that the Lord has done for their family.
"We all go six feet deep in the ground. The grave is a problem. So is sin," concludes Phil - "Jesus came down in flesh and solved both of them. So for me, my household - I just think that we would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other. At the end of the day you will be happy, happy, happy."