When the dad realized he had crossed the line to anger when disciplining his son for a misdeed, he was busted. In a study for dads in his church just the week prior, the instructor said that dads must not discipline kids in anger. The discipline is in vain if self-discipline is lost. In crossing the line to anger, he had failed at exhibiting self-discipline.
The dad took a knee, confessed that he was wrong in getting angry in the midst of the disciplinary action and asked his son for forgiveness. The son, impressed by his dad’s humility and relieved that the discipline for the misdeed was halted, forgave him.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. – Luke 11:4. In his Truth for Life devotional, Alistair Begg writes, “At first glance, this may sound like a quid pro quo – that our forgiveness of others somehow earns us the right to be forgiven. … God forgives only the penitent – those who feel godly sorrow and repent of their sins. And what is one of the chief evidences of being penitent? A forgiving spirit!” Therefore confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16. One has to come clean and repent to embrace forgiveness. Only when one experiences such forgiveness can he be forgiving. This presented a challenge for one young man that was convicted of carrying bitterness in his heart for a dad that was abusive. Through prayer, the conviction was turned on him personally for passing judgment on a man he really did not know. So he actually went to his father seeking forgiveness for having judged him and showing dishonor toward him. The dad forgave his son. The young man experienced tremendous emotional and spiritual healing. After seeking such forgiveness, the son wondered if his dad might in turn ask forgiveness for all the abuse inflicted in the home, but he did not. The son knew a penitent heart in his dad was God’s business, not his. But by the grace of God, he now had a forgiving spirit for his dad whenever his dad might seek forgiveness.
The reality per Paul is, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24. Seeking forgiveness from those hurt by our sinful acts exemplifies being penitent, which is evidence of a forgiving spirit. The opening example of a dad seeking forgiveness from his son provided a marker for their relationship. The humility and vulnerability experienced in that exchange provided the grounding for a very real father-son relationship in which no topic was off grounds as the son matured. While redemption comes by Jesus the Christ, earthly relationships are strengthened when we are real and confess our sins to each other.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your word and for the redemption offered through Jesus the Christ. I confess that I indeed fall short of Your glory and have failed to seek forgiveness. Forgive me. Grant me a penitent heart with the humility and vulnerability needed to seek forgiveness from those impacted by my sinful acts. I know You forgive me Lord but ask You to give me the courage to always seek forgiveness and lead my family with a forgiving spirit, by Your grace and for Your glory. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad my kids need to see. Amen.
A faithful father seeks forgiveness and leads with a forgiving spirit.