Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father’s Day

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. – 2 Peter 1:16-18

A greeting card company executive had a great idea. He would go to the local prison, set up a table in the prison cafeteria, and offer to send Mother’s Day cards for the inmates free of charge. The idea was so successful that they had to order another truckload of cards!

He figured that if it worked for Mother’s Day, then Father’s Day they would do the same thing. However, to his surprise, not a single inmate took advantage of the opportunity on Father’s Day.

It is well documented that inmates have a strong relationship with their mothers but distant, if any, relationship with their fathers.

Jesus Christ had a strong relationship with his Father. At least twice (as recorded in the Gospels) God the Father spoke these encouraging words of love to his Son, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” This affirmation of love from a Father to a Son was so powerful that one of the men present remembered it many years afterward.

The relationship of father and son is powerful but overlooked by too many today. This is Father’s Day. How will you handle this day? While it may have very well been set up as a day to sell greeting cards, I hope you’ll take advantage to re-establish – or strengthen – your relationship with your father. Take him out to lunch this week, if possible. Sit down and talk with him.

“What?” you say. “You obviously don’t know my father!” Don’t have to. Heard it before. Been through it myself. It took a long time, but my relationship with my father has strengthened and grown over the years. Because Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, made me a forgiven man, I was able to forgive my own father. He wasn’t anything horrendous. He was just this man, you know? Mostly harmless. A sinner like the rest of us. Doing his best, most of the time, to raise a family and make his way in this world. He had his failings. Just like I have mine. The older I get, more I realize how much I’m like him – and different from him – but more importantly, I realize how I am forgiven like him by God the Father. He accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to make me a new person. A new and better son and father and husband in my own right. He also has forgiven my father and made him into a better husband and father.

Here’s some thoughts from Patrick Morley, author of The Man in the Mirror, for your Father’s Day. (From A Look in the Mirror #103 A Man’s Guide to Father’s Day”


Sons to Living Fathers: If your father is living, take him to lunch—maybe just the two of you. Prepare a list of things you appreciate and a summary of the ways you feel let down. Read the list of things you appreciate to him. Give examples. Then, tell him about the pain you have felt. Talk about it. He will probably express regret.

Regardless of his response tell him, “Dad, I thank you for being my Dad. You mean so much to me. I forgive you for the past. I love you very much, and I want us to have a good relationship. Why don’t we plan to spend more time together? Maybe we can have lunch or breakfast once every (week, month, two months, quarterly).”

Sons to Deceased Fathers: Write your father a letter. Spend a few days jotting down notes, then sit down and write it out. Tell him what you appreciate, the good things he passed along to you, all the things you miss, what you regret, the places where you think he let you down. Then, by God’s grace, thank him where you can, and forgive him for everything else. If emotion comes, don’t hold it back. A good cry can heal many hurts. Let it all go. When you are done, ceremoniously burn the letter as a symbol of putting the past behind you once and for all. If you can’t let it go, consider a few sessions with a professional Christian counselor. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life with a seed of bitterness eating away at you.

Sons to Fathers-In-Law: My father-in-law has been my encourager, mentor, and champion. Why not send a special letter of gratitude to your father-in-law for welcoming you into his family, giving you the hand of his daughter, supporting you through the years, and whatever else you can say that expresses gratitude? If possible, consider going to lunch and presenting your letter in person.

Never Knew Your Dad? Write God a letter with all the questions you have about your father. Tell God how much you miss not knowing or not having a dad. Thank God for the men who have filled in gaps. Ask God to fill in everything else. Consider finding a younger man who doesn’t have a dad in his life and get your families together.

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