The love of one father encourages forgiveness, faithfulness

Father’s Day is celebrated June 16. It’s a special day to honor your father. Faithful dads are a special gift. For many this is not so special of a day. Some don’t have their dads at home. There are several reasons, but many long for the presence and an accepting relationship with their fathers. That makes for a rather sad and reflective day in the minds of those who either have losses or never knew what it meant to have a dad.

Then there are strained relationships between fathers and their offspring that last too long. There are resentments for mistakes, sins and other real or perceived experiences that have created barriers, differences, a lack of respect for each other, misunderstandings and a number of hindrances that may have kept you from an adult relationship with your father.

God communicated his priority for children honoring their parents. He emphasized it by adding a promise with it. He said, “Honor your father and mother” which is the first commandment with a promise. (Ephesians 6:2)

It’s not the first commandment, but it is the first absolute with a promise. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) Deuteronomy is an Old Testament message given by God to encourage us to experience the results of that promise. Therefore, “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 5:16)

It is interesting that there are no stipulations. God seems to have thought this was so important that his command to honor our fathers had nothing to do with their deserving it, but it had to do with obeying God.

Honor means to hold in high regard or respect, to glory in or speak well of doing right for them. Honor is an act or word that demonstrates distinction.

Take time on Sunday to especially honor your father. You may be able to say, “At least I have one!”

It doesn’t need to wait for a special day set aside by the government, but if it causes you to pause and act on God’s fourth absolute, go for it!

There is a basic principle that only grace and forgiveness overpowers. “You receive what you give.” The more common expression is, “You reap what you sow!”

Give honor to your father and you will reap honor as a parent. Ask God to show you the blessings, then his forgiveness for failures. The love of God always gives what is not deserved.

Since dads aren’t much for flowers, call or write or go for a walk with your father. Honor him in some creative way. We humans have a way of putting it off, then living in regret for the rest of their lives because it’s too late. I wonder why it’s easy to find fault, and why is it so hard to “brag on” our fathers. It’s especially true for sons. There must be some male pride somewhere?

“Thanks dad for giving me the example of your faithfulness to your Savior, your church, your wife (my mother), your children, your friends, your encouragement and your hard work to provide. You persevered in every circumstance showing how much you cared. I particularly know of your heart’s desire for your descendants to have a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

May God bless you with the answer to your prayer. May we all worship together in the presence of God forever. For some reason, God has given me that same desire in an increasing measure.”

“Thanks again, Dad!”

The Rev. Roy Erdahl is pastor of New Life Lutheran Church in Minot.