June 14

Never Too Late

He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. MALACHI 4:6

I'm always grieved when I hear about dads who are too busy or self-absorbed to invest themselves in their children. This neglect often produces a wound in a child that rarely heals right. But when it does heal, you can be sure God has done it.

A radio listener wrote me not long ago with a story like this, and it touched my heart. He told of the first full day he ever remembered spending with his father. It didn't happen until the boy was 21 years old and was legally allowed to visit the bar where his dad spent so much of his time.

But this encounter became a start. And even though his father apologized for "not being there," the young man never heard the words every child aches to hear: "I love you" and "I'm proud of you."

The father died when his son was 25, and the loss sent him into his own bout with alcoholism. That led to many years of struggle and eventual recovery—including a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.

Then one day he was listening to our broadcast on FamilyLife Today about the pain of past hurts and the healing power of forgiveness. "For the first time ever," he wrote, "I felt my dad's hurt, and my heart was moved with compassion." He began to talk to his father, just as though they were in the same room together. And with each sentence, the tears flowed. Relief came. All the pent-up anger and anguish melted.

He was whole. He was free.

Healing like this can take many long years, as it did for this man. But never stop believing that God can mend your heart, no matter how deep the hurt or how afraid you are to risk opening the wound again.

DISCUSS

What still stands between you and the forgiveness of a parent (or someone else) who has hurt you deeply? Will you forgive him or her?

PRAY

Ask the Lord to enable and empower you to "keep short accounts." 

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