Billy Graham: Lingering anger at your father robs you of peace and joy

06/13/2014 1:57 PM

06/14/2014 7:26 PM

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know the Bible says somewhere that we’re supposed to honor our parents, but how can you honor someone who walked out on his family and never had anything more to do with them? That was almost 30 years ago, but I’m still angry at my father for what he did to us. — L.K.

DEAR L.K.: This command was so important that God included it as one of the Ten Commandments: “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you” (Deuteronomy 5:16).

Does this mean we must agree with everything our parents did, or praise them even when they were wrong (as was the case with your father)? No, of course not. But our parents gave us life; you wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for him.

As our nation celebrates Father’s Day on Sunday, I hope you’ll take a few moments to thank God for the good things your father did for you, even if it seems like a short list. You can also honor the things he taught you (even through his bad example).

At the same time, I hope you’ll also reflect on what it’s cost you to hold on to your anger and bitterness all these years. Your anger is understandable, but it’s been like a poison, robbing you of joy and poisoning your personality and your soul. I know it’s hard to forgive someone who has hurt you so deeply, but with God’s help it’s possible — and necessary. May your journey toward forgiveness begin today.

This Father’s Day, may your mind and heart turn also to the only one who will never abandon or disappoint you — your Heavenly Father. Have you put your faith and trust in him, and in his son, our Lord Jesus Christ?

© Tribune Media Services 6/14

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