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For Our Brothers

Forgiving Our Fathers
by Carl E. Carey, Jr.

Generally speaking, we, as men, are able to forgive and forget with ease. I remember when I was a youngster, I would witness fist fights between friends and literally moments after fighting, the same boys would be playing basketball together again. Brothers, I believe that our ability to forgive is one of our strongest qualities.

While we usually don’t hold grudges, there is one person that many of us have trouble making peace with—and that person is our biological father. I personally know many men who at this very moment have little or nothing to do with their fathers because of things that happened many years ago.

The toughest father/son relationships to repair seem to be those conflicts that stem from the father being absent during the son’s childhood. Some boys have watched their mother struggle by herself to support the family or even worse—watched her be disrespected or abused by their father. A dislike or disdain for the father begins and it grows and festers and before you know it, father and son don’t even know how to relate to each other.

Boys grow up and become men and the childhood disappointment and pain still torments their soul. Too many men say, “My dad just wasn’t there for me”. Sometimes it’s a physical absence and other times, the father is missing emotionally.

One of my critical life moments occurred when I was nine years old. The Houston Astros baseball team had advanced in the playoffs and we were let out of school early to watch the game. My younger brother and I walked into the house and there was my dad—packing. He was packing all of his clothes. Pops was surprised to find us at home early! I think he intended to be gone before we got there.

For the next few years, I watched my mom struggle to raise three kids on her own. The more she struggled—the more questions I had for my dad. I can even remember a brief time when I didn’t even want to be “Jr.” anymore because I felt that “Sr.” had walked away from his responsibility. Fortunately, my perspective on the situation started to improve a few years later and shortly after that, when I was fourteen years old, he died of heart disease.

When I got to be in my mid to late 20’s, something hit me. I suddenly realized that when my dad was in his 20’s that he had two kids and one on the way. At 27 years old, no way was I ready for that kind of responsibility! I started thinking about the fact that if I had children at that age that I would be making some big mistakes too. I had to accept that my dad—the man I looked up to—was human. He had made a big mistake—one that I am sure that if he were alive today, he would regret. For me, that revelation cured whatever negative thoughts I still had lingering about my dad. I can look back now and respect him for who he was and not be so focused on who I wanted him to be.

If you are fortunate enough to have had a strong relationship with your father, count yourself as blessed. If your relationship with him was lacking, understand that he is only a man. He is a man who is prone to making mistakes. Take his example of fatherhood and make a vow to do a better job with your kids.

Above all else, do what the Lord would have you to do. Release the negative feelings about your father that are haunting you. Forgive him for being imperfect. You deserve to be freed from the past and whether he is dead or alive, your father deserves to be forgiven.





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