As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. – Colossians 3:13
I talked with Dad yesterday. It surprises me that we’ve finally become good friends. I didn’t always think that would happen. He’s older now, wiser…and so am I. Wisdom came on him quickly it seemed. In the two years that I aged from twenty-four to twenty-six, he somehow took on the wisdom of a lifetime. Now, more than anything else, I’m glad that we both lived long enough to learn to listen as well as talk. Dads can make good friends.
We didn’t always get along. As a young child, I spent a lot of energy being angry with Dad. He just wasn’t the kind of father I was convinced he should be. It seemed to me that other friends had dads that were just more involved. Mine had never taken me to a football game, we’d never gone out just for ice cream, and he’d never read me a book at bedtime. Those things seemed pretty important, and I was really mad and partly hurt not to have the kind of dad I thought everyone else had.
When I was fourteen Dad and I got close to being on the same track. He drove an old Willis jeep station wagon and allowed me to jump, stop, stall, and jerk it around the neighborhood as I learned to drive. He sat quietly wedged between the car seat, floor, dash, and door. And he tried not to show how rattled he really was. At sixteen he helped me buy my first car and spent a lot of himself not only undoing my hasty mistakes but also fixing it enough for me not to be embarrassed to be seen in it. Those were mostly good years for us.
It is only now, years later that I’ve come to know Dad as a person. Time has allowed me to see our relationship in perspective and to balance it out. There are still things I wish we had done when I was young. But now I know enough to recognize that I learned a lot from those early years. For then, more than anything else, with Dad I learned to forgive a lot. Now I accept that as a valuable lesson. With some people, as well as some groups, it’s the best they have to offer at the time.
Prayer: Lead us not to be too quick or too harsh in our judgement, Lord, for we know that your forgiveness of us is related to our forgiveness of others. Amen.