#512 - I Hate Father's Day
Volume 2 - Prayers to Love Our Neighbor
God, I hate my dad. What an ________. He was emotionally and physically abusive, not only to me but also to my mother. I was terrified of his furious anger. I was anxious with the knowledge that he was coming home. I was petrified hearing his footsteps coming up the stairs. We knew that when he went out for a drink with his friends the night would end in hell. He showed no interest in me or my life. He wasn't there for my concerts. He wasn't there for school nights. He wasn't there for my sports games. He didn't help me practice. He didn't help me with homework. He didn't take pictures of me on prom night. He didn't take me out to dinner. He never asked me how I was doing at school or with friends. If he was aware of a problem in my life, he told me to grow up and get over it. He called me names and humiliated me, often with friends present. There were no affectionate hugs from him. However, he sure did expect much from me. I was to do all the work in the house and I was to do it perfectly. I was to clean up after him, including when he smashed things. He disciplined me randomly, sometimes severely for trivial things. He did things that are just too creepy and disgusting to talk about. I'm now supposed to trust You? I'm now supposed to love You? I'm now supposed to obey You? He set an example of what You are like. He was my father. How could You allow that to happen to me? Didn't You care how he was setting a bad example of fatherhood? I now go through my life neurotic and paranoid. There has never been a safe place for my heart and now I go through every day anxious and fearful. It has impacted my relationships with other people. It has hurt my work and career. Father, this is what happens when humans live as though they are their own god. This is what happens when someone believes they can do and say whatever they want whenever they feel like it. Freedom to do as we feel is not love. Freedom to do as we feel is not peace. Freedom to do as we feel is not some prescription for an ideal society. Freedom to do as we feel is hell. A famous musician wrote a song in 1971. He asked us to imagine no heaven. He asked us to imagine no hell. He asked us to imagine no countries. He asked us to imagine no religion too. He asked us to imagine no possessions. He asked us to imagine a world where there is no God to die for. He told us such a world would be a place of peace. He told us the world would live as one. However, he overlooked something critical. When there is no God, humans substitute for Him. We long for a world where there is no God because we long for a world where we are on the throne of our lives. We long for a world without God because we long for a world where we can be god to everyone else. When we have no moral restraints, we abuse each other. We hate each other. We are jealous of each other. We are self-centered, a me-me-me mindset. My father was the poster child of humanity unrestrained by the law of God. Those who surrender their lives to You grow to love You more and more. As their love for You increases, they start loving the people You love. They begin to become more loving, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. Imagine a world where people everywhere surrender their lives to a loving God. Father, my dad was the way he was because he had rejected You. I now understand. Forgive me of my rebellion from You. Forgive me for doubting You. Forgive me for wanting other things more than You. I become a mean and nasty person without You. I don't want to be that way. I don't want to be like my dad. Please help me surrender my life to You. I want to be a person who really does spread peace and love, not merely singing about it. Amen.
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