Pastor Gentry Eddings, whose two young children died after a truck crashed into the back of the family's stationary car, revealed that although they are heartbroken, he and his wife have forgiven the driver responsible.
As previously reported by the Gospel Herald, Eddings, a worship pastor at Forest Hill Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, his wife and his son, Dobbs were traveling home to Charlotte in a caravan on Saturday when the vehicle Hadley and Dobbs were riding in was hit by a truck driven by Matthew Deans.
Hadley, a preschool teacher who was 8-months pregnant at the time, was rushed to a nearby hospital for an emergency C-Section. Dobbs died in the crash, and the newborn, named Reed, only survived two days after suffering a slight blain breed, according to a spokeswoman from Forest Hill Church, where Gentry serves as pastor.
The Charlotte Observer reported that on Sunday, Eddings addressed the congregation of Forest Hills Church, saying, "We have, in our hearts, forgiven the man who did this. It was not the easiest thing to do, but in some ways it was because we know - Hadley and I - that Jesus Christ has forgiven us our debt... So in some ways, it was very easy to forgive a man who made an accident."
Eddings also urged family, friends and other mourners at the service to also forgive Deans "and forgive anyone in your life who you hold anything against".
The grieving father shared sweet memories of Dobbs, telling the congregation of how the little boy loved to dance and clap, and spoke of the couple's time with Reed after he was delivered.
He told the congregation that he and Hadley had taught Dobbs words from the 46th Psalm: "Be still, and know that I am God." He recalled that on the day before the accident, as was preparing to preside over his sister's beachside wedding and "things were a little hectic", "It was then that Dobbs's sweet voice spoke up with a timely reminder. He said, 'Be still. And know that I am God.'"
"We were able to spend precious moments with him, holding him in our arms before he went to be with his brother in heaven," Gentry said.
In his sermon, the couple's pastor, Dave Chadwick, referenced the story found in John 11, in which Jesus wept at the death of his close friend Lazarus. "Jesus hated death," he said. "He hated what it had done to ransack his father's once-perfect world."
The pastor then offered words of encouragement, emphasizing that the couple can find comfort in the promise of heaven.
"I believe, Gentry and Hadley, with all my heart, that you'll see your boys again," their pastor said. "I believe... that Reed and Dobbs Eddings have never been more alive than they are right now."
Forest Hill Church member Rachel Jones created a GoFundMe page to help the parents cover medical expenses and other needs. The campaign has already exceeded its goal of $150,000 and raised more than $193,000.