Written by: John Sernaque
My relationship with my father was what you would call a tumultuous relationship. We had many differences which did not allow us to grow close to one another. There was a reason for this, which I am not going to get into right now. Needless to say, I did not have what one can call a normal or happy childhood.
When my father passed away approximately 30 years ago, it was a sad relief for my family and me. We had many struggles as a family. But I knew it was time to let go and let God. To forgive, as our Father in heaven forgives us. I chose to put away the negative memories and to hold on to the fond memories I did have with my father. One of my earliest memories, being at 3 or 4 years of age, was excitingly and joyfully welcoming my father when he would return home from his day at work. As his custom, he would take a thermos of coffee to work, the old- fashioned kind that had a glass lining inside to keep beverages hot, or cold. (I am not condoning drinking coffee nor milk and have not drank coffee nor milk in a long time). It was mostly milk, with some coffee, and he would always save me a little bit as a “treat”. One evening, I was so excited that when he came in through the door, I grabbed the thermos from his hand and started to run with it. In my excitement and haste, the thermos slipped from my small hands and fell to the floor. I picked up the thermos and gently shook it. Sure enough, you heard the sound of broken glass. Agony rushed through my whole being because of the terrible thing I had just done. It was an accident, but I did not know what was about to happen next. My father knelt down, took the thermos from my hand, and said that it was all right, that he would get another one. I was so grateful that he was not mad, he did not yell, or even hit me. He forgave me. Though he didn’t say it, by this, I knew he loved me.
Forgiveness is not a character trait that comes easily to most humans. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Mark 11:26. God will allow certain circumstances in our lives that we may develop His Character trait of forgiveness. As my father forgave me in that instance, I as a father also had to be forgiving of my children, as well as all the people in my life and around me. This was not an easy thing for me. I did not know how to go about this. I struggled. But thanks be to God that the Holy Spirit convicted me and allowed me to learn, through the Word of God, of the love of God, the love that He has for all His children. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13. To be like Him. God demonstrates His love for us every day. By this life lesson early in my life, it left an impression on me that reminds me to be that same example for my children. I say this not only as an earthly father, but also as a child in the Royal Family. It is not good enough to just teach, one must be an example. Fathers, as priests of their households, must lead by example. We have no greater example than Christ Jesus. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6. What love, what mercy that God shows us. We make mistakes, we have sinful natures, yet God forgives us if we confess and repent of our sins. To not forgive is sinful. Pray for the fruit of the spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7. We can choose to remain victims of our circumstances, or we can choose to have victory over sin through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How will you choose? I urge you to choose wisely.