Tonight I had the pleasure of doing something that most people don’t do until their Father is near death, or even worse, dead.
Like a well rehearsed eulogy I got up, along with 2 of my brothers and said, “I forgive you.”
Thankfully he was around and in good health enough to hear it.
We then proceeded to spend the next 32 minutes letting other people that had been affected by our Dad speak words of life and affirmation to him.
It was awesome.
I encourage you to take time this Father’s Day to cook your Dad a meal, look him in the eye, and tell him you love him. It will change both of your lives for the better.
If you’re interested, I’ve attached my speech below. I think it’s even on camera somewhere but I have a face for radio with a voice for novel writing so be warned.
“Like many things in my life this dinner idea started when I read a book. It's a book by Robert Lewis titled "Raising a Modern Day Knight". It was a gift from a friend after a chat we had about my son.
Well as I started reading it things took an interesting turn in chapter two and instead of being about my son, it became about the relationship between my Father and I.
After reading it I turned to Becky and said something to the effect of "it's not that my Dad failed, it's just that I think there were a lot of missed opportunities, mainly because of his hidden addiction."
My Dad and I have a great relationship, especially now, but the book brought something to my attention. While we may have a great relationship, I've never actually TOLD him that I've forgiven him.
And words are freeing right?
I know my Dad isn't beholden to my lack of saying those words and I know he doesn't have to hear them to feel peace because I am not the peace maker.
But words are powerful enough, especially these words, that I wanted to pull my brothers together, cook a meal, honor my Dad, and tell him that I forgive him.
I also wanted my Teen Challenge brothers to be here for a couple reasons.
What you see before you today is the power of Jesus.
Forgiveness, restoration, honor, grace, humility, love, joy, peace, patience, and the list goes on.
I hope that someday your sons or daughters bring you to the table and say what I'm about to say to my Dad.
Christ can and does do this.
Secondly the missed opportunities from my invisible dad that the devil was hoping to use for evil, God has used for good.
Like Joseph in Genesis when he was sold into slavery in Egypt my father was sold into the slavery of addiction. He was thrown into a prison of his mind because of his sin, and there, in that prison God remembered him and called him out to lead the people of Teen Challenge.
So while I thought that I lost part of my Dad, I really didn't, you just gained him.
Now I know that everything still isn't perfect and I know that there are still years of famine ahead but I also know we are in good hands because God has given not only Teen Challenge a great leader and example, but he has given my family one too.
A man of God, who is doing the work of the Father.
I'm proud of you.
I love you.
And I forgive you.”