I heard a television commentator discussing fatherhood this week, as he wished all of the fathers in his audience a Happy Father's Day. He said that, as a father, he liked a quote from Henry Ford: Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
He was right on the money.
I love being a father, but I'm the first to admit that I made a lot of mistakes along the way. I hope that I kept correcting them, when I started over again...with more intelligence. I'm blessed to have a wonderful relationship with my kids and our grandchildren, which means that they all are forgiving people. They don't have a perfect dad or grandpa.
I'm especially mindful of that this year, because in recent days I had to be the message carrier between an elderly prisoner and his adult son. The father is a friend. I do not know the son. Sadly, it didn't turn out well.
The two were reportedly very close at one time, but some demons in the father's life caught up with him and he wound up in prison. Apparently the alleged crime was so heinous that the son absolutely cannot forgive or forget. Now he wants nothing to do with his dad. He ignores messages that come to him from prison. He refuses to do a few little favors that could make life much easier for his father. His focus is only on his hurt feelings and the alleged victims.
When I called the son he said, very openly, "I don't want him anymore. You wanna adopt him?"
He expressed no interest in his father's living conditions or mental state.
And all of this hurt me. In the HFP office we deal with broken relations every day, and I must confess that I have not been in the son's shoes. I loved my dad, and on this day miss him a lot.
But if I claim my heavenly father's promises, that means I am forgiven. No further questions.
I hope on this Father's Day you can forgive your dad, no matter how seriously he messed up. You'd simply be treating him the way you have been treated.