Q: Our father bailed out of our lives when I was 10, and neither my sister nor I have seen him in over 30 years (although he’s tried to make contact occasionally). Why should we bother with him? All he ever gave us was trouble and heartache. — L.S.
A: Tomorrow is Father’s Day in our country, and I can’t think of a better time for you — with God’s help — to begin healing the hurts that have been with you all these years.
This doesn’t mean you overlook what your father did or pretend it didn’t happen, because it did, and what he did was very wrong. One reason God has said that he hates divorce is because he knows all about the emotional and spiritual turmoil it brings to those who are involved, especially children (Malachi 2:16).
But you have carried this burden long enough. Your anger and hurt have been like an acid eating away at your minds and hearts. And they will continue to do so, as long as you keep them bottled up and don’t seek to forgive your father for what he did.
It won’t be easy, I know — but begin by turning to Christ for the forgiveness you need for your own sins. Then ask God to help you forgive your father in the same way he has forgiven you — freely and fully, even if he doesn’t deserve it. It won’t happen all at once, but even a Father’s Day card or a phone call expressing love could be a start. Yes, he caused you great hurt, but he’s still your father, and you wouldn’t be here without him. The Bible says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another. … Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.