Fifteen years ago I was asked if I had forgiven my father. I was confused. What do I need to forgive my father for, I wondered? Nothing… The question kept coming up while reading Wild at Heart by Eldredge and I responded the same way over and over again. A little while later a pastor friend asked me the same thing. Have you forgiven your father? I responded, “What did my father do?” I read that all fathers wound their children or children respond wounded and they desperately need to forgive their fathers.
I prayed and asked God if I needed to forgive my father for anything. I could not think of a thing. I thought and thought but nothing came to mind. I made myself think of some wishes or regrets. I wished I could have fished more with my dad and played more sports together.
After some time had passed I was reminded of a time my father took my twin sister camping. I felt left out. My father did not do anything wrong but I stuffed some unhealthy emotion that I should have dealt with by submitting it to the Lord. I did not deal with that emotion well and simply stuffed it. After thirty years that emotion came out and I gave it to God.
(sample prayer) Father God, please forgive me for not surrendering these emotions to you. Please forgive me for harboring unrighteous anger inside. Help me to take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. Your truth and grace are sufficient for me. Thanks for your help in this. Help me to model this Father Hunger issue well for the tribe.
Now for the hard work. Do you need to forgive your father? Or, do you need to ask forgiveness because of unrighteous anger stuffed towards your father. Take some time to listen to the Lord. This topic is a game changer for your life.