Despite failures as a dad, reach out to your children this Father’s Day
by Billy Graham
June 15, 2013 12:00 AM | 1100 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Q: I know I wasn't a very good father, but I'm an old man now and I really wish I could see my children again. I've begged them to forgive me, but they just ignore me. I don't know why I'm writing, but maybe you can urge fathers to do better than I did. — B.W.

A: Tomorrow, Americans will be celebrating Father's Day, a special day set aside to honor our fathers and thank God for all they have meant to us. Being a good father isn't easy, but almost nothing is more important, when we see it from God's viewpoint.

If you could live your life over again you'd probably try to avoid the bad decisions you made, and you'd try to be a better father. And that's one reason I wanted to reprint your letter, because it reminds us of what happens when fathers ignore their God-given responsibility to "Train a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6). God is our Heavenly Father, and He is our example of what it means to love and care for our children.

What can you do? First, seek God's forgiveness for the past — not just for the wrongs you did, but also for the good things you failed to do. God loves you (as well as your children), and the greatest discovery you'll ever make is that He loves you so much He sent His Son into the world to die for you. By a simple prayer of faith confess your sins to God and ask Christ to cleanse you and come into your life.

Then do whatever you can this Father's Day to let your children know you still love them, in spite of your failures. Pray for them also, that God will bring healing to their hurts and help them forgive the past.

Q: I wish I could relive the last few months. I had an accident while driving, and two people in my car were hurt (thankfully, not seriously). I'd been drinking a bit, and I hate myself for being so stupid. Please warn people about alcohol and driving, especially us teens. — M.H.

A: Thank you for your letter; it took courage for you to write it and admit what you did. Hopefully it won't only warn others (especially those your age), but it will also make you a different person — with God's help.

I don't use that last phrase lightly, because God certainly did help and protect you and your passengers from serious harm. Tragically, this doesn't always happen, as the headlines proclaim far too often. When we're young, we don't think about what might happen because of our thoughtless behavior; we think we're invulnerable. But it isn't true, and it only takes one mistake to destroy someone's life or future — no matter how young or old we are. This is especially true when we get behind the steering wheel. Alcohol, drugs, texting while driving, or simply "showing off" can end up in tragedy and heartache.

The real question, however, is this: What does God want to teach you through this? Yes, He wants to teach you to be a better driver. But more than that, He wants you to turn to Him and put Jesus Christ at the center of your life. Commit your life to Him today.

Then ask God to make you into the person He wants you to be — not just now, but for the rest of your life. God loves you, and Jesus Christ gave His life for you. Let the Psalmist's prayer become yours: "Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me" (Psalm 43:3).

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.
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