A pastor from Nevada who was stabbed nearly two dozen times forgives his attacker and said God kept him alive through the ordeal.
CBN News reported that Abundant Peace Church's Rev. Russ Smethers was attacked by an unidentified assailant and stabbed with a six-inch butcher knife 21 times on the night of March 8. Smethers was rushed to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas and survived the attack with injuries on the neck, head, face, arms, and chest.
CBN News said Smethers has forgiven his attacker and "hopes to inspire others to do the same."
"I forgave him that night when I was laying in the trauma center. People need to do that. You can't have that hold you back from moving forward in life...that negative approach. That spreads like a virus. It goes into your life. You're never going to forget but you must forgive," Smethers said.
"God didn't do this to me, He gave us free will. It means that that gentleman had the free will to stab me. God kept me alive and He made me a better person from it," he added.
Smethers said that in the most critical moments of that night of the attack he knew that God was protecting him.
"God spoke to me and said, 'You're going through some stuff right now, but you're not going to die tonight.' It helped me, but God got me through it. It was all God. He put that extra skill in the doctors and nurses," he recalled.
In addition, Smethers disclosed that the man who attacked him is now in prison, which he called as a "controlled environment," which is what that man "needs" and is "safer for him." Smethers also hopes the man will get psychological care in the same way he is getting one through a psychologist to heal from the ordeal.
Smethers revealed plans of setting up a group to help those who have encountered traumatic experiences discuss freely what they've been through in an environment that's safe for them.
CBN News revealed that the University Medical Center held last July 13 a recognition ceremony for Smethers who expressed his gratefulness "for the life-saving treatment" given him by its medical staff and the first responders. Smethers said the incident has changed his life for the better.
"We get complacent sometimes, especially with COVID. We tend to forget about medical professionals and what they're sacrificing to help others," Smethers said. "These professionals showed compassion, empathy, were there with me and prayed with me. Sometimes little reminders are needed. There are good people out there that are sacrificing a lot."
During the recognition ceremonies, The Christian Headlines said Smethers commended first responders and reminded everyone of their importance. He stressed that he "shouldn't be here" had God not put him in the hospital because God "put the skill into the hands of the doctors and nurses" to treat him and help him recover.
"People say, yeah, first responders are important, and that's about all they say. There's no meaning behind it. And I think all of us need to be reminded every once in a while, exactly how important those first responders are," he said during the recognition.
Smethers also recalled how the medical staff were very caring and even prayed over him during the day, constantly assuring him that he will get better.
The Christian Headlines said reporters were present during the event along with Las Vegas City Councilwoman Victoria Seaman who presented a certificate of recognition to the hospital for their efforts.