Originally Posted by Mike Young October 2006
Often we men have a tendency to live our lives with our transmissions in overdrive and our foot on the gas pedal.
We like to live fast and hard. But, if we live that way it’s pretty easy to make mistakes that cause damage to ourselves and others around us. We may realize that we have made mistakes, been hurt or hurt someone else but we don’t know how to slow down and repair things. At this point, many men sadly tell themselves, “The damage is done, I can’t go back.”
You can’t change the past but you can look back and survey the damage. Then you can work to repent, repair and re-tool.
Some need to ask forgiveness for mistakes you’ve made as a father or son. Others need to forgive the mistakes of their fathers or sons. In doing that, you begin the process of repairing the connection between you and your father or you and your son. Finally, you need to decide to change your strategy. Resolve to not make the same mistakes again and move forward with a new outlook and a new plan.
Guys, we often tell ourselves, “The damage is done, there’s no need to go back.” But sometimes you have to go back, not to stay but to understand and reconnect. That’s what the prodigal son did, when he said, “I will go back to my father.” In response, his dad ran to him and threw his arms around him.
Would you consider applying those steps, repent, repair and re-tool, to your relationship with your father. In the past year, I’ve heard some ministry leaders say that the most important thing that a man can do to move forward in his own manhood is to forgive his dad for whatever he did or didn’t do.
When I have an opportunity to dig into men’s lives, I often learn something about their fathers and their grandfathers. Sometimes I learn that the issues are generational and the man’s father did what he knew how to do, but he was carrying his own baggage from his past. And because he wasn’t able to effectively deal with his own shortcomings and frustrations, they got passed on to the next generation. Guys, I’m not saying it will be easy but perhaps you need to forgive dad for something, or a multitude of things. Remember Dad when you recite this portion of the Lord’s prayer, forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
But, there’s another angle from which we need to view this. Recently I spoke with a man who rejected the idea that his father had wounded him in any way. His dad had been a great encourager and had loved him through many difficult times in his life. This son said that he had been the one that wounded his father. Can you identify with this?
I asked him if he had ever apologized to his father for the agony, frustration and disappointment he had put his father through when he was a teenager. At this point he told me about a plan he had developed some years ago to apologize to his dad and tell him how much he appreciated all that he had endured. The man told me he had planned for some time together for them and he knew what he was going to say and how he was going to say it. Then with tears in his eyes, he told me that he had never followed through and his dad had died shortly thereafter.
Whether you call it a wound or not, this man had unfinished business with his father, and it affects him deeply. The last verse of Malachi says, He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.
Men, as you strive for authentic manhood, can I challenge you to resolve any unfinished business with your father or your children?
You don’t want to live with the regret of a missed opportunity.