A: Tomorrow our nation will celebrate Father’s Day — a special time for remembering our fathers and honoring them for all they’ve meant to us. One of the Ten Commandments says, “Honor your father and your mother ... that it may go well with you” (Deuteronomy 5:16).
I’m thankful you care about your father and want to have some contact with him; it would’ve been easy for you to be filled instead with bitterness and anger. Even if he fell far short of what he should have been, he still gave you life and influenced your early years. Even his shortcomings probably made you a better father; sometimes we learn through the mistakes of others.
Although your father rejected your last attempt to reach out to him, I hope you won’t give up — and Father’s Day would be an ideal time to try again. If you call, let him know right at the beginning that you love him and care about what’s happening in his life. Even if he hangs up, a brief note later on may get his attention. Broken relationships seldom heal overnight (and sometimes they never heal), but taking the first step is essential.
Most of all, pray for him, even if you don’t know what’s going on in his life. Pray not only that he’ll respond to your desire to reach out to him, but also that he’ll discover the forgiveness and new life Christ promises to all who turn to Him in faith and trust.
Q: I’m about to give up trying to help people in our community who are in need. They’re never very grateful for what our church does for them, and anyway it doesn’t seem to change the way they live. Why should I bother? — T.D.
A: Let me ask you a question: Did Jesus give up when people ignored what He was trying to do for them, or they even turned against Him? No, He didn’t — and neither should we.
I know it can be discouraging to try to help people who aren’t grateful, or who even ignore or reject what you’re trying to do for them. It also can be discouraging to look at all the needs in the world, and realize that you aren’t going to be able to make much of an impact on them, no matter how hard you try. But God didn’t call us to be successful; He called us instead to be faithful — even in the face of great difficulty or indifference.
Instead of focusing on what you and your church aren’t accomplishing, focus instead on what you are accomplishing. Even if most people don’t seem to be grateful, you’ve still helped them. And even if most don’t seem to change, some will. Learn to thank God for small victories! Do you remember Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep? (You can find it in Luke 15:3-7.) Only one lost sheep was found — but Jesus said there would be “rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7).
Remember Jesus’ words: “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple ... he will certainly not lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42). Ask God to help you see those you are seeking to serve through His eyes.
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.