Luke 23:34 (KJV), "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" This is unconditional love in its fullest. Forgiveness is what Jesus is about.
Many fathers reading this may have sons or daughters on drugs or alcohol, children in jail or immorally inclined. It breaks your heart, I know, but don't let it break your relationship. Keep communications open. It's your only hope and their only salvation. As bad as they are, they need someone who cares--someone with unconditional love.
Fathers, your offspring's actions will often bring feelings that you really don't want to have, but human nature dictates how we react to what we perceive as reproach upon us and our family in general. But Jesus has the solution.
Fathers, forgive them--for they know not what they do. Teenagers, especially, have a hard time adjusting to rules and regulations of the home and balancing it with becoming their own person. Most of them are going to make many mistakes trying to find their way. Remember your transition from child to adult? At its best, it certainly wasn't easy.
When we were growing up, we didn't battle the things that teenagers and young adults face today. (However, we're battling them now!) The world is getting more wicked every day, and basically, things that were "no-no"s have become the norm. Explain that to your teenager!
When children begin to break out of the shell we've put them in, it puts a strain on the relationship between them and us. And in our ignorance, we focus on the problems and try to repair them, when all the time we should be working on the relationship. If we can heal the relationship, the problems will begin to solve themselves.
Fathers, you need to put your child in God's hands. The hardest thing you'll ever face is letting go of your control over your child and giving it to the Lord. Naturally, you feel a strong responsibility toward the raising of your children. It's supposed to be there. But there comes a time when you have to let go, not only physically, but emotionally too. If you don't, you'll dig a trench between you and your most precious possession--your son or daughter.
Somehow, you need to get beyond being the taskmaster, the schoolmaster, the critic, the judge and take on the role of friend. It's not easy, but a very necessary part of your child's development.
Too heavy a hand on your child's life can produce rebelliousness in them. God warns against this. Ephesians 6:4 (KJV) says, "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
Don't ever let anything, and I mean ANYTHING, come between you and your child. Despite his or her failures, a child needs one source to look to where he or she can find unconditional love. That source should be you. If it's not, you're the loser.
The Bible tells us that love "covereth" a multitude of sins. Jesus loved you enough to die for you. Can you do any less for your child? Can you forgive his transgressions against you? Can you love her totally, beyond her failures?
Relinquishing authority in your child's life is not easy. It requires the help of Jesus Christ and plenty of prayer and fasting. Two of the most essential assets necessary are love and forgiveness.
How can you accomplish this? It won't be easy, but yet it's very simple: Fathers, forgive them!
Jacquelyn Horne is a former newspaper reporter who has won various awards including two Delaware School Bell awards. She has poems and articles published in magazines and Christian publications. She moved from Delaware to central Georgia 13 years ago.