Honoring Not Just Any Father
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. ROMANS 12:14
Several years ago, I began a mentoring relationship with Bryan Carter, an African-American pastor in the Dallas area. One of the first things I challenged him to do was to write a tribute to his father to thank him for the things he had done right.
This was a challenging assignment, because Bryan and his father had developed a very strained relationship as adults. That’s why I challenged him with the assignment—because I knew he needed to cross this bridge of understanding and forgiveness, even toward a father who had really hurt him. It took him nearly two years, but Bryan stepped up as a man and honored his father with a written tribute. Not only did Bryan read it eye to eye to his father, but he also took this same challenge back to his congregation. And
they didn’t like it either.
For four weeks he preached it. For four weeks he worked them through what the Bible says about understanding, forgiveness, returning blessing for cursing, and responding with honor. Many of those who sat within range of his pulpit came from homes where their parents were far from affirming, if they were even present at all. The prospect of finding something good to recognize in their moms and dads required sorting through mountains of debris and disappointment. It was much easier to find blame than to give thanks. But they did it. Some reported that they called their parents on the way home from church and witnessed forgiveness flow right over the phone. Some reconnected in letters, reestablishing ties that had been long severed.
Some even saw one or both parents receive Christ as their Savior. These are the miracles God routinely orchestrates when we honor our parents—even if they’ve been less than honorable.
Regardless of your experience growing up, I’d like to challenge you to write a tribute and read it to your parents, too. Talk together about how you feel about this assignment and about your parents.
Ask God to give you the courage and obedience to do what you need to do.
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