Thank you for reading today. Our greatest desire is that you would be encouraged in the Lord! In my daily time with God in His Word today, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about being kind to your father. Our desire is to be an encouragement and help to those who need help. The number one thing that I do as a Biblical Counselor and marriage speaker is to try to help people to move out of a feelings dominated, emotion controlled life and into a controlled by the Holy Spirit, Biblical principled driven life.

Ephesians 4:31-32, Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  (32)  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

As an only child, I grew up in a dysfunctional home. I have shared this testimony with many people around the world. As a young boy I realized that all the screaming, yelling, and profanity was not the way I wanted to live.  However, unfortunately, I did pick some of that up. Across from our home was a large city block park.  Whatever sport was going on I was over there playing many times after dark and I tried to stay there until after 9 pm until my father went to work on the night shift. Why, because I did not want to go home.

I became a very good athlete by playing against the older boys and in 1973 I was the 78th player taken in the free agent major league baseball draft.  The first player taken in Indiana. My baseball coach had become a mentor in my life for which I am thankful.

Don’t Hold Grudges     

So many times in our Biblical Counseling program I have dealt with dysfunctional families. Many of them are children who “hate” their parents.

Ephesians 6:4, And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

The word wrath means anger with a strong desire to avenge. People who hold grudges.

James 5:9, Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

The scenario here is a child who holds a grudge against their parent. They want to get back at them. Growing up I ignored my father and he ignored me. Later I came to realize he treated me the way his father treated him.  My father had to quit school at a young age to go to work on neighbor farms to help put food on the table because he had 13 brothers and sisters and his father was nowhere to be found.

Growing up my father may have come to a couple of baseball games to see me play. I remember as a senior in high school pitching the championship game with scouts from every major league baseball team there. My father actually came to the game at the insistence of my mother. He stood against a light pole and ate a hot dog while the game was going on. During the game I struck out 14 hitters in a row and our team won the championship.  Hundreds of people stormed onto the field after the game. My parents were invited onto the field as there was a ceremony with my baseball coach and I signed a letter of intent to play college baseball with a full ride scholarship.  The next day I was drafted by the San Francisco Giants. My father stood beside that day for the signing of my college scholarship. When the signing ceremony took place my father looked up at me and said, “You did good son.”  I was shocked. It was the first time I had ever heard him say that I had ever done anything good in the last 18 years! Sadly, my thought was you could have said that way before now!

Salvation Changed Me

In 1974 I got saved through the witness of a United Parcel Service Driver. I am so thankful for Rick Bratcher witnessing to me and my Saviour Jesus Christ for saving me. My salvation really changed my life!  I started to see things differently. I did not hold a grudge against my father. I forgave Him. I came to realize all the factors that made him who he was. He grew up dirt poor without his father being around. I realized he did the best he could with a limited education and the poor childhood he had. 

Later I had the wonderful opportunity to lead my father and mother to the Lord. Salvation changed them as well!

Honor thy Father and Mother   

Ephesians 6:2, Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

Many times I have dealt with people in Biblical counseling who have grown up in difficult homes. When they look at this verse they say, “If you think I am going to honor this guy, you are nuts! Not after what he did to me,” 

I really understand that.  However, let me suggest something to you. You are never going to get anywhere by holding a grudge or having bitterness in your heart.  You will only infect others with that. Your children will suffer for it!  The pain and hurt you feel has to be turned over to God. Remember our Lord Jesus Christ suffered immensely at the hands of people for our salvation and the sins of the world.

How Can I Honor My Father?

You can give your pain, wrath, and bitterness over to God.  “Lord I want to turn this over to you.  What do You want me to praise You for and thank You for?” Wait upon God for that answer, which will immediately come. 

How can I honor my dysfunctional father?  Pray for Him.  Have compassion for his soul no matter how bad it was growing up. Do not let poor parent behavior make you a bitter person that you use as a crutch for the rest of your life for your behavior. Share the gospel with him.

Ephesians 4:32, And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, but it also does mean not holding something against someone. Even in situations where I cannot be near a person because of their wicked life, I can still forgive them and not let them control my life. In essence, I can get emotionally free by forgiveness.

What Happened Next

I learned that kindness is a way back.

1 Corinthians 13:4, Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 59 years old. As an only child I took care of my father for several years. After a long battle with this journey into darkness, I sat beside his bed, held his hand and prayed with him as he went out into eternity. I did not let the past stop me from having compassion.  For the last years of his life my father sat in church faithfully every service and heard me preach. Don’t let bitterness become the tool Satan uses in your life to destroy you and others in your life.

Hebrews 12:15, Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

Be Thankful For a Godly Father

Maybe you had a wonderful father who loved you, cared for you, took spiritual responsibility for you. Taught you the Bible growing up. Praise the Lord for that!  Be thankful for your father!  Be encouraged because he taught you well.      

Remember, be the vessel God can use today by asking the Holy Spirit to show you if you are living your life not dealing with your sin (lusts). Are you living in the sin of allowing selfish carnal thinking or listening to rule your life and making you react or rationalize your sin? Maybe you have found yourself in today’s article by holding a grudge or bitterness in your heart. Realize this is not honoring and pleasing to God. It will end up in destructive hurt. God will help us if we submit to Him. Don’t quit in the middle of a hurt, but refocus to see exactly what God wants you to learn. Be all you can be for Him today and have a powerful testimony of living a Spirit controlled yielded godly life that is serving and living with humility, joy and peace! We encourage you today to make Jesus Christ real in your life by humbly yielding to Him at the point of impact and living for Him, not the life of selfish, carnal thinking and speaking. It is an important choice! Tell God you want to yield yourself to Him today and be a trusting, useful, and rewarded servant! Be the person who wants to change! Be the person who can help others change! Do not be the person who always needs to be helped, but the person who can help!