by Richard Pelfrey
I forgot it was Father’s Day this weekend. You know that saying “any man can be a father but it takes a special person to be a Dad”? Well, I have a father. This can make me resentful and jealous, even hateful, if I allow it to. For years I had hate for the relationship between us. There were many times growing up when this hate turned into rage. I once punched my Father in the face…my own father. I’ve cursed him. I’ve hustled him for money. I’ve acted with no consideration for his feelings or interests for years. Praise God that, although it hasn’t been restored completely, the feelings here have progressed from total hate to just an absence of Love. We have a difficult time loving each other. This is progress.
God won’t just heal this relationship for me. It is me who has to take action with God in my heart to start this healing – if there is to be any healing at all. You know I still wonder sometimes why He gave me this father. Why did other kids get to spend time under the hoods of cars and fishing and playing ball with their Dad’s, while I fought and plotted against my Father? But if I’m to trust God, I’m to believe what He says in Romans: “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him”. All things. We are too small to know the plan, too tiny to see the big picture and its end result. If I’m complaining or comparing or coveting the relationships of others while cursing my own, then I’m not trusting God. Who knows, maybe He will give me the power to reconcile things with the old man. Then again, maybe He won’t. Either way, my faith has the power and the promise to make it OK. It’s all part of the plan.
For a long time my relationship with my Heavenly father was a lot like the one down here on earth. Full of fighting and frustration. Today I realize that there are many gods out there (anything we covet really) but it takes something powerful and special to be an “Abba”.
I used to walk around with so much weight on me. So much anger, resentment and frustration. With my back turned on the Father, I was miserable. I think I knew that God could take it from me all along. But I was too proud to ask for help, just like years ago I became too proud to ask my Father for anything. Life got so bad. I was out of control, ending up in jails, hospitals, dopehouses, dark alleyways…but I never asked either of them for help. Even at my most broken, it seems I was unable to humble myself just that teeny amount (mustard seed small) that it would take to turn things around.
And then one day some people saved my life. I was a stranger and they took me in. They loved me without judgment. They showed me that my Father in Heaven also loves me, that they had learned to love from Him, and they taught me how to love Him back. They taught me about forgiveness.
All I can do is take responsibility for my part. Please don’t let me demonize my father in you eyes, lifters. He is a good man. For a long time it’s me who has been the monster. But Jesus has showed me that there is redemption in this life. There is forgiveness. I have been blessed with the opportunity to turn away from the old life and toward the face of God, who has forgiven me. God tells me that as He has forgiven me so I must forgive others. Jesus has changed in my heart from a frustrating, punishing being to a loving and forgiving “Abba”. The light he’s put in me is too strong for the black resentment of the old life, and so today I can forgive my father…for whatever. But just as I had to ask forgiveness from the Lord, the time is soon approaching when I’ll have to ask forgiveness from my earthly father. I can’t make anything happen beyond this simple (but not easy) action of humility and love. Whatever happens, I walk with the Lord’s prayer to our Father in my heart…”thy will be done”. It takes a strong man to say “I’m sorry”, but if that’s what God wants, that’s what I will do. Maybe one day, the Father of lights – my Abba – will bless me with a Dad.