As we approach Father’s Day this weekend, I am aware that not everyone looks forward to this day with anticipation. Sons and daughters who have been abused, neglected, abandoned and hurt by dad can have a tough time on this day. Just trying to find a card to express some positive thought can be a challenge for some people.
So, if you had a not-so-great dad, how can you help yourself during this holiday weekend?
1) Try to understand who your dad is and what influenced his development. While this doesn’t excuse negative behavior, it does help to know he was shaped by forces and people who influenced his development too. Problems are generational unless they are intentionally stopped and addressed. Be empathetic and let go of unrealistic expectations.
2) Let go of anger and unforgiveness. Holding on to anger and unforgivness hurts you more than it does him. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Let go and allow God to heal those hurting places so you can move on with your life.Your physical, emotional and spiritual life depends on this.
3) Release your dad to God. It is not your job to hold judgment towards your father. God will be his ultimate judge so release him. One day, he will answer for his behavior.
4) Accept the love of your heavenly Father. Romans 8:15-16: For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “”Abba,” Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” You have a Father who will never leave, abandon or reject you. Turn to your heavenly Father for healing and intimacy that will never disappoint.
5) Honor men in your life who have provided positive role models of dads. Maybe yours wasn’t the best, but you had a male role model who showed you a better way and parenting. Honor that person and thank him for being available to counter balance the negative.
6) Continue to pray for your father. I have seen men come to their senses and change late in life. And while this doesn’t prevent hurts and abuse, it does allow for reconciliation. God can change any heart that is willing to change. Don’t give up in prayer.
7) Be the best dad you can be. Learn from your experiences. Study scripture as a guide to fatherhood. Your role model is God the Father.
8) Honor what you can. Find some characteristic, action or time that was or is positive and focus on that this Father’s Day. Scripture is clear that we honor our father and mother. This doesn’t mean you put yourself in harm’s way though. If your dad is unsafe, send a card, a note, make a phone call, or spend an hour with him in a public place.