10 Reasons You Can’t Forgive Your Father this Father's Day & 1 Reason You Can

1.    Because of all he’s done---or failed to do---in your life.
You know: the deceit, the absences, the excuses, the abuse, the work-obsession, the affairs, the abandonment, the drinking. All the ways he didn’t father-love you.

2.    Because if you forgive him, he’ll get away with what he did. You’ll unbalance the scales of karma and give him what he doesn’t deserve. Justice is mocked.

3.    You don’t want him back in your life. You’re happier without him. If you forgive him, that means reconciling with him and letting his poison back in your life.

4.    He’ll never confess or repent or ask for forgiveness. He’s clueless about what he did when you were growing up, or he simply doesn’t care. Why forgive someone who doesn’t even know he’s guilty?

5.    You don’t care about the past anymore. Your life is steaming ahead in spite of your father and your energy is better spent looking ahead than behind.

6.    He’ll never change. Nothing can penetrate his iron heart, so there’s no point of even trying.

7.    He’s happy just as he is. He likes himself and he likes his pathetic life, such as it is. Why intrude upon a man when he’s living just as he wants?

8.    You’re happy just as you are. You’ve constructed a reasonably good life, thank you very much, and it’s taken a long time, so leave it alone. Don’t upset what’s finally working.

9.    Your father doesn’t care about you; why should you care about him? Why give to him what he never gave to you?

10.   You want him to suffer the consequences of his own miserable choices. He’s cut everyone off from his life. No one loves him---good. Let him enjoy exactly what he’s earned.

I know. I felt many of these as well. But I can't end there. Neither can you. Here it is. And maybe you know it, but remember again,

1 Reason You CAN Forgive Your Father

Because God has forgiven you. If you have asked him for forgiveness, and follow after Christ instead of yourself (or someone else)----all your crimes and misdemeanors, your selfishness, small mindedness, deceit, pride, all the ways you have brought small deaths to others in moments large and small . . . . 

You know how long your list. I know how long my list. But Gone. All of it---all that crud, wiped away.

You’re CLEAN! Perfect, righteous, holy in His sight. When you wake up in the morning, remember---You’re free!! Completely utterly free from the weight of your debts against a holy God.

It feels really  good. But that freedom is not just for you. Not just for you to run away from the cross free, happy, unburdened to live your own happy life.

The freedom and mercy you’ve received is exactly for this: It’s for others. For all those mean, miserable, lonely, hurting, prideful, selfish people who were just like you: guilty before a holy God.

It’s for your father. It’s for your mother. It’s for those who have hurt you, abandoned you, abused you, ignored you. THEY are the ones who need forgiveness. THEY are the very ones who need mercy now. This is what they need  most in the world, though they do not even know it.

But you do. Christ has done this for you so you can do this for others: Pass it on.

Pass on the absurd mercy and outrageous love God has poured out on you to those who least deserve it.

This is the gospel. This brings the kingdom of God among us. This brings the glory of God to our table. This is Christ’s peace. This is how we begin to heal the wounds of the world.

Right here, in our own families. Where it is hardest. To those who most need it. To those who least deserve it.

Where it is most needed.

Right here. Your father.

Can you do it? Can you let go of his debts and sins against you, and turn them over to God?

Can you let God take care of justice and fairness and equity?

Can you extend God’s kindness and mercy to him, expecting nothing in return?

Can you treat him as God sees him---as someone precious, made in the image of God, and deserving of forgiveness?

You can.

I did.

God did this in me and for me and for my father. And it was beautiful. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Even to a father who was able to love

Only a little. Just a little.

But I am SO loved by God, I could love him a LOT.

This is more than possible for you, this day, this week, this month.

Father’s Day is coming. This can be the best Father’s Day ever----with a little forgiveness.


Need some help with this? May I send you a book (Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers: Finding Freedom From Hate and Hurt) I can send a book to 6 people (Wish I could send to 100!!)  If you would share this message of hope on your social networks and let me know here, (along with your email), I’ll draw 6 names and get you the book asap. 

Thank you! Praying for us all, that the beautiful aroma of the lovely Christ will waft through our hearts, through our families especially on Father’s Day weekend.

Going Home+ What If You Hate Where You Live?

What if you hate where you live? And what if you cannot leave? 

I am headed home to Alaska right now,  leaving the California desert and returning to snow, rain, storms and two more months of winter.  I'm glad to be going home. I've been on the road with my family for 3 weeks, blending work, speaking/ministry and vacation. When I occasionally felt survivor's guilt for lying like a lizard in the sun this week in California when friends back home were shoveling snow, I remembered Mike Doogan's words, "In winter, Real Alaskans do not go outdoors. Real Alaskans go to Hawaii."  (Or California.)

But I have discovered recently that some people hate living in Alaska. I did not know.

I stumbled upon these words online today:

I hate living in Alaska! I love my husband and I have begged and pleaded with him to leave but he will not. . . . He makes good money and he loves it here, so  he will not leave. It does not matter that I have a very bad back and the long winters kill me, that I get severely depressed all winter long.  I cry all the time . ..

Another wrote this:

The first two years of Alaska are great lots of new things then you wake up and realize that winter is once again upon you. You spend all winter trying to stay awake and keep from freezing then all summer the whole 3 months of it getting ready for winter.

And another:

Alaska has been nothing but a nightmare for me, too. I loathe it with every fiber of my being. I hope you are out by now. My "prison term" in Alaska, as I have come to call it is up this summer. I am out of here and will never look back.

Nor did I know that many people feel the same about Kodiak.  I was shocked to learn this while speaking at another town in Alaska this winter. Women took me aside and expressed concern that I  lived in Kodiak. One woman was shaking with her own traumatic childhood there. She was so kind---she wanted to pray for me.

I appreciated their concern, but I am grieved as well.  I'm sorry for others' misery. I understand it. And I have fallen deep into numbness through long winters, I have lamented isolation, I have struggled raising my children on this island . .. Yes, all true. But no one is entirely alone in this.

Many of you have had terrible winters this year. I'm sure you hated parts of those months, and are even now longing for sun and all things green and growing. But-------can we afford to hate? Even a place? 

It is the Lenten Season now---and almost Spring, both speaking to death and resurrection. How can this matter---the place we live---when we consider the walk to a cross of death, a hollowed emptied grave, the re-birth and melt of the earth toward fresh life? Does it matter, where we live?

"Take up your cross and follow me" were the words Jesus spoke. And we do, all of us. No matter our address and geography, we all bear seasons of darkness and light, of immobility and unwanted speed; of danger and play. We lament April snows and year-long droughts. We are stuck on our islands or stuck in speeding cars on freeways. We don't have enough time or joy, and everywhere else seems better, brighter, happier.   And surely we too would be brighter, better, happier people if we should live there instead of here.  I have thought this many times. I have known this many times.



       But part of the work of the Lenten season is the work of reconciliation---to be reconciled to the state and the places we live, to the people who live with us and around us, to the incompleteness of our lives and the sure presence of paradox---of loves and hates and disappointments who all take up residency within us. Even here, especially here, there is goodness to be found.

"As to the day, if you accept that this day was blessed of God, chosen by God with His own hand, then every person you meet is a gift of God, every circumstance you will meet is a gift of God, whether it is bitter or sweet, whether you like it or dislike it. It is God's own gift to you . .. . " writes Anthony Bloom.

And every place we live and even visit, is chosen by God with His own hand . .. It is God's own gift to you.

When we believe this, we begin to see light again.

When I get home, it will be gray and gloomy. I will not see wild flowers for almost 3 more months. There is no other town I can drive to on Kodiak Island. I live in a 3 mile universe. 

But I choose to see it all as a kind of grace. These weeks especially, moving toward the Cross, I hope we will recognize 
that all that comes to us is holy     and      chosen 

and finally, good. 

And I believe we will be given the strength to lift 

whatever cup is given to our lips,

if we ask.   

Please. Do not lament any longer. 

Instead, Ask.

And  drink. . . .