There are many things in life that you hate doing. The very thought of being a captive to these things makes you angry and discouraged. Many prostitutes hate that they do what they do. But they do it anyway for some reason. Many drug addicts hate that they are hooked up to some funny substances. But they go back to these things anyway. Others hate the fact they are caught up in attitudes that seem to be their daily companion. Much as they hate it, they do not have the will power to stop it.
For those who have been having any of the types of fathers mentioned before, we need a remedy. Paul, in Romans 7, “15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Ro 7:15–17). This is the true predicament of the one whose heart has known the joys and freedom of forgiveness. There is conflict in the spirit as to why they are that way, yet Christ has changed their hearts. We need to hate the fact that there is hatred in our hearts. Hatred is like cancer- it eats you privately but then destroys openly. We need to deal with this sin that dwells within us! The question is, “how?”…
Finally Alive: What Happens When We Are Born Again?
“My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes – many times – my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens – and it happens every day in some measure – I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.” ― John Piper.
This truth is amazing. Our feelings do not reflect the character of God; neither do they reflect reality all the time. The Gospel has the power to transform the heart of stone, making it softer than wool. How does the Gospel transform the wicked intentions, the wounds, and pain of the hearts of men?
God is creator, love, and judge.
Genesis 1:26- 27-“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” God created everyone in His image and likeness, and he was delighted with what he made. Yes! That includes you and even the father, and your heart hates so much. His enduring love drove the reason for this decision. He is always motivated by love, not hate. But God is also the judge of all men. Yes. He will render all accounts settled once when he returns. Psalm 96:12-13- …”Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.” God is not asleep on anything wicked that happens. Scripture reminds us that his delayed return means grace for the sinner. God desires that all may turn to Him in repentance.
You are also in the same category. God created you in his image. That is a good thing. Indeed. The same way that it pleases your heart to know that God, in love, created you in his image is bliss for the soul. The blood of Jesus has released us. His judgment over you has been swept away on the hill at the cross. We are called to view others through the same lenses- of love. When our hearts receive the depths of this love, then we will be in a position to extend the same to others. God’s love is enduring and sustaining. It is the kind of love that everyone would love to have. But why would we not want to extend it to others? Our first step is to allow our hearts to receive love so we can express appreciation to this father we so deeply hate.
Man is sinful and deserving of death.
Secondly, the reality of the state of our hearts is something we need to reckon. Man is sinful to the core. Since Adam, we are all born in sin as a default setting. We do not have to do anything to be called sinners. We were born sinners. Our heart is desperately wicked without miraculous intervention. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Christ paid for our sin with his own life.” Sin is living independently of God- even in our denial to forgive those who have broken our hearts. Our fathers who have hurt us have done so because of this cancer called sin in their hearts. There is a remedy at the cross. The Gospel reminds us that the state of our hearts is dead [Ephesians 2:1-3] and that we have warranted death for ourselves [Romans 3:23]. All of us are deserving of this death- whether we are the aggressors or the aggrieved.
Looking at your father, you need the same need in your life. You are equally wicked, and given the opportunity, you would do the same things your father did or worse. Just as your father deserves death, in your sight, you also deserve death standing in the presence of a holy God. You have the same danger and the same need as your father. A balanced understanding of the Gospel means that we see ourselves as God does- sinners deserving of death, but for grace!
Christ paid for our sin with his own life.
The first two points spell bad news for us — a holy God versus a sinful man. Demands we cannot keep from a God we could never approach. The same ax I want to use to hack my father to death with is the same ax that is in judgment against me. The good news is that Jesus died for us. He humbled himself and died a shameful death on the cross [Philippians 2]. For our sake, God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so in him we might become his righteousness. [2 Cor. 5:21]. Our hope to overcome our hurdles of heart all hang on our reception of this truth- someone else paid for our sins. There is no limit to what this sacrifice could secure for them that run to it. You and I need this exchange in our lives. Why would someone die for you? Your father is not good, is he? What is it that can change with your hearts and make you whole and different? The sacrifice that Christ made for us is the good news for you and your father. Jesus has paid it all!
Man needs to respond in repentance.
The big question for you is, “Have you received the sacrifice that Christ gave on your behalf? Have you responded to this love so kind, profound, and without limits? You need to turn to Jesus, so then he can heal your otherwise desperately wicked heart. You need to receive his rest so that you know why others need as well. Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy ladened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” [Matthew 11:28-30]. Once you repent and get cleansed, you will realize the one thing God desires for you is forgiveness, but also that you forgive.
Dealing with your father wounds will be possible if you respond to the Gospel of Christ Jesus today. You need healing and forgiveness as much as your father is. Jesus can heal you. Healing is in his wings. If you call upon his name, he will save you.