Today is Father’s Day. In any recovery community, both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day present an emotionally charged environment. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why. Open Homes is a men’s program and there is no shortage of emotional turmoil during this time each year. It’s not openly apparent that this inner turmoil is going on, but it is there. Although we encourage everyone to talk about what they’re thinking and feeling, men are especially resistant to that type of expression. Instead, they internalize their feelings for fear they will be perceived as weak if they let them out. This internalization leads to frustration and anger which they suppress until it gets to be too much to handle. Sometimes that breaking point leads them to talk it out, which brings healing. Sometimes they do not, and end up leaving the program, or worse, relapsing. Scripture tells us:
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a; NASB)
The act of confessing your sins is not as much about telling someone your darkest secrets as it is trusting God and doing what His word says. Without trusting in the Lord, we will never talk about the things that need to be talked about. We must trust God with who is going to do what with the stuff we let out. We cannot always know what the results will be of doing what God has instructed us to do before we do it. What we do know is God is in control and where there is obedience, there is blessing. Being obedient without knowing how it will turn out takes faith, and it is faith that makes us righteous in God’s eyes. The rest of that verse tells us:
“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16b)
We cannot be righteous in God’s eyes by what we do, it’s why we do it. God considered Abraham righteous because of his faith. “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’” (Rom. 4:3); (see Gen. 15:6) When we pray, when we ask, seek, and knock, expecting God to hear and answer our prayers, that is faith.
Regardless of how strong he may appear on the outside, when a man finds out he’s going to be a father, along with joy there is fear. Some fear they will be just like their father who let them down. Some fear they won’t be as good as their father who they still consider a superhero. Whichever side they fall on, it creates anxiety and fear they are seldom willing to talk about. So, take time this week to pray for the fathers you know, and also for fathers everywhere.
One last thing… do yourself a favor and seek the Lord about forgiving your father of everything and anything he may have done. The only commandment that comes with a promise is about honoring your father and mother. (See Deut. 5:16) Not only that, Jesus told us that if we do not forgive the sins of others, our heavenly Father will not forgive our sins. (See Matt. 6:15) You will be blessd for your efforts.
Have a great week and God bless you all.