Some time ago, a young man confided in me that his father was trying to reconnect with him and that he wanted nothing to do with him whatsoever. I could hear the hurt in voice, see the pain in his eyes as he tried to hold back the tears. Then he just blabbed out “I hate him – I Hate him”. “He abandoned me when I was six years old. It was my mom who raised me, cheered me on at my games, helped me learn new things and was the shoulder I cried on when I broke up with my first love”.
Unfortunately, in today’s court of public opinion, it is automatically assumed the father was bad for leaving. By no means do I support a child growing up without a father but we do not always know the issues. Having stated that I also believe that most issues could/should be worked out.
Last week in part one of these series, we talked about the definition as well as the characteristics of a father. The title father should be designated to the person raising the child and not necessarily the person who assisted in creation if not the same person. We also discussed some biblical points of being a father.
Today we are going to talk about reconnecting with a father that was not there. Let’s be clear on one matter though, if you have a step dad that has raised you and you refer to him as dad this does / will get a little more complicated and way out of the scope of this message. Lets also be clear that just because your father was bad or abandoned you doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have some or all the characteristics that we discussed last message.
Let’s get started by remembering God’s command to fathers:
Proverbs 22;6 1 Corinthian 16:13
Recognize the Loss
Before you can do anything to restore a relationship with an absent father or one that was not a good father. The first thing you really need to determine is that this is something you really want to accomplish. You must consider no matter what you do, the father may not want any part.
Once you have decided this is what you want, you will need to list all the faults that you have against the subject father. For this to work you need to recognize all faults.
Now we need to let go of our negative feelings that you have for all those faults you added to this list. You need to be able to forgive these faults with yourself.
Ephesians 4:32 Matthew 6:15 Mark 11:25
This is a journey that may take some time depending on the number of faults are on that list. Just remember that you need to be encourage by anything that you start.
Philippians 1:6 Matthew 5:4
I personally believe at this point that if you choose not to move forward that you should go forward with these steps anyway. You may not be able to physically forgive your father at this point, but it will put you on a better spiritual journey and if should the opportunity arise at a later point you are on a better track.
Your Spiritual father
You are ready to move forward but you need a partner to help you through this. The person that I refer to is of course God. We take everything or at least we should take everything to God, so why not take giving forgiveness to Him as well.
Philippians 4:16 Matthew 7:7 Psalms 121:2
We need to remember during this stage that our best confidant is the lord. He will listen to your concerns without interrupting and he will guide you to the right solution. Now unlike sitting their discussing this with your best friend or a relative, you can’t see him or hear him but he there.
1 John 3:1
Because Jesus died on the cross paying the ultimate price for our sins, we have all been adopted into the family of God.
Forgive Your Father
At this point you have listed all the faults you have against your father. There may be one big one, a few or a long list. You have gone to the Almighty Father for His support and guidance. Now we are at the stage we have been working for.
I will tell you right from the start that to forgive your father will be one of the hardest things you will do. To do so you are basically dismissing all the faults that you listed above and will have no claim to such faults again.
Forgiving your father will not replace the pain you have suffered from the wrongs committed against you. The sadness you felt when you looked up into the stands when you hit that homerun and he is was nowhere to be found after promising you to be there. How about the horrid feelings of fear, guilt, confusion leading to depression and isolation from the abuse you encountered at the hands of your father.
There are two sides to forgiveness. The first is your forgiving your father and the second part is your father needs to acknowledge the wrongs and apologize. The forgiveness part is for your benefit and not completing this task will affect your life negatively. Remember God will one day right every wrong.
Revelation 21:4-5 Matthew 6:14
Just remember you have the Lord with you on your side when you come face to face to your Father. Depending on the person, different faults may be harder to forgive for some than others, but you will be glad you did.
Pray for Your Father
The final step of this process no matter what happens in any of the steps above is to pray for your father. Now this could be in your daily prayer time or during time with your father if the above was a success.
We must remember the fifth commandment:
Exodus 20:12 James 5:16, Matthew 7:11
Our prayers honor our father in ways we may not be able to with our actions.
Let me close with this quote from an unknown author:
The first to apologize is the bravest The first to forgive is the strongest The First to forget is the happiest
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