Happy Father’s Day! What do these three words mean to you? For some of us who had honorable and loving Dad’s we think about them and all that they taught us and all they mean to us. If our Dads are living we probably have been shopping for a card and a gift. I always loved getting my Dad a card because it was one time a year when I could really show him how important he was to me and how much I loved him. But my Dad is with the Lord, and has been for a number of years and I do miss him although I also believe that God was very kind to take my Dad from this earth before he had to lose his health or his mind. I also think about my son-in-law who is a really great Daddy to my granddaughter. I am so thankful that he is patient and loving with her and also strict when she needs to be disciplined. In many ways he reminds me of my own Dad and I know my granddaughter has a loving coach and advocate in her corner for life. It warms my heart. But not everyone has a Dad or has a good relationship with their Dad.
To those who feel a little tug on their heart this time of year because they don’t have a loving Dad in their life I want to say that I fully understand. It is not easy to express your feelings about Father’s Day when you haven’t had a Dad due to circumstances beyond your control. I hear you. I know how angry you may feel if the relationship is strained. Let’s be honest, there are some really crappy Dad’s out there who have made serious mistakes in life and some are just not people you even want to know or people who are safe to be around. I hear you. All I can say is that you really need to forgive them if for no other reason but that Jesus demands you to do so. But it doesn’t mean you have to be around them, if they are toxic, forgive them but stay away from them.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48, (New International Version or NIV).
Love is hard sometimes because it is something Jesus commands us to do to everyone. God loves everyone and waits patiently for sinners to repent and come to Him and that is an act of love. Jesus died on a cross and was mistreated severely before death because of love for all humanity. When we think of how much God and Jesus have done for each one of us and for those who don’t love them, we understand the need to forgive a dead-beat Dad. It is hard, but you are not alone in doing this forgiveness thing because the Holy Spirit will help you. Again, forgiving doesn’t mean hanging out with that dead-beat, we often have to let that person go and trust them to God’s capable hands. Two outcomes are possible when you leave vengeance up to God, either that dead-beat will repent and change their life and make an effort to repair your relationship with them or they will die in their sin and be in hell for an eternity. There is no in-between for them but you have a Heavenly Father who will deal with this person so you don’t have to! Take comfort in that! You just need to be sure that you do all you can to forgive and not hold a grudge or try to seek your own revenge. God says it is His job to seek revenge.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-21, (NIV).
I have seen in my own life that when we lose someone or never had someone like a Dad in our life that God sends role-model mentors into our lives. If you will take a good evaluation of your life I think you will find people who really encouraged you or taught you things you needed to know that has become a part of your education for life. Sometimes these people are in your life for a long time and sometimes they are there for just a short time but you look back upon them with gratitude for taking the time to make an impact upon your life. Now it is your turn to be that mentor and encourager, are you doing that? I hope so because you may be the answer to someone else’s prayers. You may be the answer to my prayers. Life is never easy but always worthy when we live it for Jesus! Right? So how do we deal with that Dad who hasn’t been good to us? I think this is a good place to start.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:25-32, (NIV).
The best way to handle a Dad who is less than he should be is to be honest with yourself on how you really feel about him. Let the anger you might be suppressing come out into the open and if you need to seek help in doing that then go to your pastor for counseling or to a professional counselor or even just a good friend. Talk it out but keep in mind that anger can become sinful and the devil loves to use our anger to spawn all kinds of sins. Don’t let him do that to you. Get rid of any bitterness and then let it go, forgive and walk away knowing that God will take care of the rest. To be honest Christ has forgiven so much sin that we committed and when we get that perspective then we can forgive others more easily.
Whatever the three words Happy Father’s Day means to you I hope that you will move forward in life knowing that you have a Heavenly Father that deeply cares about you and will take care of you with loving kindness. Enjoy the day.