Here’s one of the greatest things you can do for your dad on Father’s Day … forgive him. And if your dad is no longer alive, it’s the greatest thing you can do for yourself.
For just about every child growing up into adulthood, there comes a time when Dad goes from being Super Hero to Super Jerk. That’s because all dads are fallible. We are all broken in some way, and part of growing up with a human father is a process of finding that out. What we do with that information is the key to either getting healthy or perpetuating the same issues. It’s what the Bible calls visiting the sins of the fathers on future generations. But it does not have to be.
Harboring hatred and resentment is a trap. It’s been proven true over and over again: you become what you hate; abuse begets abuse. Forgiveness is the only way to break the cycle.
My own father was distant. I never really knew him. Silence is the word that goes along with him most in my mind. He was there, but his body just took up space. I rarely knew what he was thinking, and almost never knew what he was feeling. Now I see the same tendencies in myself. It’s as if he was engulfed by “the nothing” and it’s long dark tentacles are reaching for me.
It’s been suggested that we all write letters to our fathers expressing love and forgiveness. Write it and then keep it. It’s not a letter for him anyway; it’s for us. It’s a letter to set us free.
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” – Luke 11:11-13