Why I Forgave My Father
My father and I haven’t had the best relationship. For the past 14 years I’ve harbored resentment against him and found myself blaming him for a multitude of things I had to endure.
Before you begin reading this understand it’s not about my dad. I’m not writing this to hurt him. This is about my journey to forgiving him in the spirit of Christ. I must share my pain, which necessitates me sharing his faults.
I love my father, and I now pray he finds the strength he needs to overcome his sins. What I write about him here is only to frame my own mindset and show how I overcame it with the strength of Christ.
Dad was, is, an alcoholic and a drug user. He routinely hit my mother, and she him. This culminated in a divorce. My mother went into one bad relationship after another, with my brother and I in tow, and my father went deeper into substance abuse.
I blamed him, and I forgave her. His choices cost me my parent’s marriage, his choices put me under the care of other men, he was at fault. Even after some tough spots that my mom got us into, and out of, I still chose to condemn my father.
He knew how I felt, I didn’t try to conceal my emotions. Like most young men I wore my heart on my sleeve. What I saw was his refusal to change, and it made me angrier. I found solace in many places I shouldn’t have. Ironically in drugs and alcohol, you know what they say about sins of the father.
Learning More About God's Word
Luckily my mother did her best, and God put several strong Christian men in my life. My grandfather was always there, and a retired Army Colonel who headed my JRTOC program in high school. My youth group preacher, and eventually my father-in-law.
When I came to Christ and began studying his word I felt something holding me back from full service to God. As I have drawn closer to Christ, He has shown me that I must forgive.
Ephesians 4:32 states: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Luke 6:37: Judge not and you will not be judged, condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven.
And Colossians 3:13: bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
We are also called to respect and honor our parents. Deuteronomy 27:16: cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or mother. And all the people shall say amen.
God led me to the conclusion that I must forgive my father. And relinquish the resentment I felt for him. I never once stopped loving the man, but I never let myself show that love to him.
Even after this God sent indication of how to move forward in my service, it took me a long time to talk to my father and tell him that I forgave him.
My mind used every excuse available to avoid picking up the phone and calling him. I see the value of waiting to do something like this face-to-face. But what if something had happened? What if he or I were killed in a car crash? To much would have been left unspoken. Don’t put off what God shows you needs to be done.
Ultimately, I did speak to him; and at Christmas dinner no less. It wasn’t like a scene from a movie. The heavens didn’t shine light down upon us, nor did the angels sing where we could hear them.
I said something like this, “Dad, I hold a lot against you.”
He replied, “I know you do.”
“Well, I forgive you.”
He teared up, I did too. We embraced and spoke a little more about it. He understood why I felt the way I did. I asked him to forgive me for not being the best son, he said he already had.
This is not the culmination of a journey, it’s the beginning of one. All Christians begin their journey with forgiveness from God through Christ, who gave his life for us.
I encourage you to look at your life and seek out the obstacles that prevent you from fully serving God. All to often we look outwards, but service to God is personal, look inwards to the spirit of Christ that resides in you, and read God's word to find the way forward.
God Bless you, and may you be all you can be in service to Him.