When my dad and mom split up, I didn’t see my dad for 15 years. They broke up before my first birthday. I had no idea then but looking through the pictures years later, I figured it out. Something was missing. Actually, someone was missing.
Fast forward to age 23, a year before I got married. I was sitting in a small group Bible study. The leader, Steve Murrell, had a simple point. The Bible says ‘honor your father and your mother, period.’
The Bible tells us to honor your father not because they’re honorable or perfect, but honor him, period.
It doesn’t say honor them if they are right but honor them for this is right.
In obedience to His word, I went for it. I asked for prayer from my friends and then I called my dad to set up a lunch appointment.
It was my first time to actually sit with him one on one. Since the first time I met him when I was 16, I would see him twice or three times a year but that would always be in a group context. This time, it was just me and him.
Since he was a broadcaster, he filled in the first hour of our conversation with the current headlines of the broadsheets that time. After an hour, I cut him short and told him why I asked for an appointment.
“Papa, the reason I wanted to meet with you is that I wanted to tell you that I honor you as my father. I know that things with you and Mama didn’t work out, but I just wanted to let you know that there’s forgiveness in my heart for you.”
By this time, my eyes were sweaty (Men don’t cry. Their eyes just sweat.)
“I just want you to know that all that is in the past. And given another chance to choose another last name, I’d choose Punzalan all over again.”
“I’d like to rebuild my relationship with you and make up for lost time.”
He was silent. Not an awkward silence but a ‘brick-wall-has-been-broken-down’ silence.
You see, forgiveness is more than just a feeling. Forgiveness is actually a decision. A tough yet necessary one.
I needed to decide not for his sake but for mine. Someone said that “unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” I didn’t want that and I knew something had to be done.
With the grace of God, as years went by, God began to restore that relationship. Will tell you more in the next blogs.
But my point? I believe as God gave me the grace to obey His word to honor, His grace overwhelmed me to make the right decision to forgive.
The result? There was a turning.
Malachi 4:6 says, “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers…”
That was what He did.
God is a God of restoration.
He was for me and He can be for you as well.