"Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." Exodus 20:12
My father wounds ran deep and coursed through my body like a staff infection - hot, lethal, and unforgiving - until they distorted my father's image and his image in me. For decades, honoring my father simply meant remembering him on Father's Day with a token card and simple gift. Choosing the right card took great effort because there were no verses that spoke my broken-heart language and no illustration that depicted our separation and my desperate need for his love, the way it use to be.
Rescued. He offered me a glimpse of my father through His eyes - an image I'll never forget - a whole, forgiven, good man. And God said, "Write these things down." Write down all the goodness you see, because this is how I see your father. Write these thing down. Throw away your false image and whenever your eyes behold your father, remember these things and look at him through my eyes.
When we look through God's eyes grace abounds and forgiveness follows.
Restored. Forgiveness was a slow process - a humble journey towards wholeness - the first step toward healed hearts and restored relationships. Forgiveness did not negate the hurt. It didn't mean I stuffed it away in the back of my closet, but rather chose to let the hurt go and offer grace with healthy heart boundaries. It meant willfully focusing on God's image in my father and honoring my father's image in me.
When we forgive God releases our hearts into our Kingdom purspose.
Released. Forgiveness heals heart wounds and releases us into our creative, God-given purpose. It's not that we don't know what that is all along, but unforgiveness binds our hearts, blocks us from receiving the fullness of that purpose. We suffer near sightedness when we focus on our wounds, but when we allow God's forgiveness to permeate our hearts, we can finally lift our heads and see God's big picture. When we fully receive and offer forgiveness then that abundant life Jesus was talking about becomes our reality: "I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full," John 10:10b
Honor. When we're living that abundant life (not a material abundance, but rather a soulful abundance) we're truly living. It's a purposeful life that reflects God's image and creative purpose with traces of our human fathers. Yes, God created us in His image and part of that is partnering in the creative process - making and giving life.
When we honor our fathers and mothers we are ultimately honoring God.
Honor humbles us because it means we hold someone else in higher esteem than ourselves. Despite our troubled past, God commands us to hold our fathers (and mothers) in high regard with respect and integrity. We may not honor their actions, but we can honor their place in our lives. God partnered with our fathers to create us in His image for His purposes. Rather than denying our father's likeness God calls us to honor it and step into our Kingdom purpose through it.
Dad, I honor you for instilling laughter, the love of family, generosity toward strangers, the joy of hospitality, an appreciation for music, and courage to ask and receive forgiveness.
I love you.
Happy Father's Day,