In the powerful men’s study, “Quest for Authentic Manhood”, Robert Lewis addresses what he refers to as the “Fathering Wound”. Many, if not most, men have been emotionally wounded in some way by their father. It may be a one-off rift that never got resolved, a rough home situation, or the complete absence of a father.
Reconciliation is: to restore to friendship or harmony; to settle or resolve differences (Webster’s Dictionary). Friendship may be a bit of a stretch in some situations but harmony in the relationship is always possible if both parties are committed to reconciling. Barriers to reconciliation can show up in many forms but at the core typically is a failure to obey the Lord’s commands for relationship with Him, and with others, particularly with a father and mother.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or to worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands. – Exodus 20:4-6. “…who love Me and keep My commands.” – Relational obedience starts with comprehending the expectation in relationship with the Heavenly Father. He is the Almighty God, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, sovereign over all. It is not a call to a casual acquaintance and an occasional prayer. Obedience is a call to reverence in relationship with Him that is beyond our understanding. It is under such reverence that all other relationships – marriage, family and friends, are grounded. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12. This is the middle commandment. It bridges the earlier commands that address the spiritual dimension of our relationship with God, and the follow-up commands that specify requirements for the physical dimension of our relationships in this world. The charge to men today is to reconcile with dad if there is any breakdown in the relationship at all. Honor him and watch the Lord make good on His promise. He will open hearts and heal hearts across the generations. If your dad is not available in person, or if he has passed, write him a letter of reconciliation and read it to your children.
Components of reconciliation:
Have an honest exchange of thoughts around the relationship;
Engage in real expression about feelings of the past;
Initiate a time of confession and restitution;
Seek forgiveness for what you may have done, and be willing to forgive if asked;
Establish a commitment to move to a new level of relationship.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for Your word and for being the perfect Father. I confess that I closed the door to relationship with my earthly father with no intention of opening it. You had a different plan and granted me strength to reconcile with dad and honor him. Thank You Lord. I embrace Your promise to show love to a thousand generations as one loves You and keeps Your commands. It is in the Spirit of Your word that I commit to be a faithful father. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father reconciles relationships in reverence for the Father.