Fatherly Influence

Keith Knight

"So he returned home to his father.  And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming.  Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.  For this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life.  He was lost, but now he is found."  Luke 15:20, 24a (NLT)

As we celebrated Father's Day earlier this month, I reflected on the men in my life I call "Father."  I think of my father and father-in-law, both unique men who have been very generous, have an outstanding work ethic, are very loving and are always willing to help others in need, even to this day.  I think of my grandfather, a man I greatly admired.  A man of few words, but those words spoke volumes of wisdom.  He was a man of character and integrity.  Then I reflect on my "Heavenly Father."  A Father that is full of grace and mercy.  A Father who loves us unconditionally and forgives us of our sins.  The attributes and adjectives used to describe our "Heavenly Father" are endless.

I reflect on my life as a father.  I think of the mistakes I've made over the years and how my family has always extended love and forgiveness.  What comes to your mind when you think of the word "father"?  What type of legacy do you want to leave?  How will your family remember you?

I'm reminded of a recent story I came across.

In July of 2008, John Smith stood before a crowd of people at Pontiac Central High School in Pontiac, Michigan to lead them as they started a new church.  Twenty-two years earlier, at the age of 14, he was expelled from that same school for selling drugs.  The church planter couldn't help but note the ironly as he reflected on how his life spiraled out of control two decades before.  He left home and eventually ended up in a Florida jail.  When John's father learned of his incarceration, he drove 1,100 miles to get him out and tell him of His love.  This Christian man told his prodigal son, "You don't have to come home, but if you want to come home after I get you out of here, I forgive you of everything you did, and you can come back home, and we can start over."  Although Smith would reject his father's words that day, he ultimately received that promise as one of the most important lessons in his life.  John repented and later returned to his home church and God changed his life.  He is now the pastor of a new church in the school from which he was expelled with his father in the congregation.

A father's words of grace and forgiveness are incredibly powerful.  Life is short; don't let anything keep you from loving and forgiving others.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Michelle wrote:
I see so many broken "father-son" relationships that when I hear stories like this, I cry. My younger brother's relationship with my father is almost non-existent. They say and interact with each other as little as possible because if they do more it almost always turns into something ugly. My 16 yr old son has a similiar relationship with his own father. I never married his father. His father was around when my son was younger but as my son grew, his father spent less and less time with him. His father's only interaction with him now is when I call upon him to discipline him. I must say, that I have been lackadasical about getting his father more involved in his life, I've made some attempts but since his father was disinterested I gave up. Rather than set ourselves up for disappointment, I don't bother giving his father the opportunity. My son seems to have picked up on that and now carries the same attitude towards his father. This past father's day I told him to call his father to wish him a Happy Father's Day, to which my son responded: "'d rather not. I'm just a disappointment in his eyes." I reassured him that he wasn't but I realized that there are few words that I can say that will convince him otherwise, I believe only his father can change those feelings. How, as a bystander, can I help repair these broken relationships?

Wed, June 29, 2011 @ 9:09 AM

2. Michele Cruz wrote:
When I was a young teen I disobeyed my parents many times, and they grounded me a lot. As a young teen I would think they were treating me unfairly, and missed the reason why I was getting disciplined. My parents just wanted to keep me safe from the harm I was getting myself into. My parents and I went through many trails in our relationship, but now I can look at them with love and respect. I live with my parents now and I do not want to act disrespectfully towards them anymore. I want to obey God and obey my parents too. Being in obedience we show God and our elders that we love and respect them, and in return we are given the same love back.

Wed, June 29, 2011 @ 10:16 AM

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