Are you willing to let go of the form of entertainment that glorifies sin?
Are you willing to stop justifying allowing yourself, your children, and loves ones to be exposed to sin in your home?
Your feelings or emotions?
Which is more dominant?
“Forgiveness: The Centerpiece of Reconciliation”
June 21, 2015
I. Prayer of Consecration
Good morning family, I am glad to see you all here today eager to hear the Word of God.
I am honored to have my Father celebrating this day with us.
I would like to say that it is a privilege and a blessing to have had a father like mine.
He has always provided for his family, he taught me how to work, and most importantly he gave me the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and was there to hold me up when I did fall.
He and my mother both have been instrumental in my life.
Perfection will not be obtained on this side and we are not perfect, but the Word states that love covers a multitude of sins and faults.
This is not to say that we cover up sin, but it is to say that we love regardless of sin.
Some may have wonderful memories of their father, I do understand that some father’s may not have been in our lives, some may have passed away, and some we choose not to associate with, whatever the scenario is, it is possible that we came into today with certain feelings intact.
Some may have children by men who are absent, and you may be upset and you may project your feelings about this individual onto your children.
I understand that there is a lot to unpack when dealing with our current societal issues of single parenting. However, I would like you to know that God has always been there, even when we did not visibly see Him.
I would like to give you a little food for thought, we all are products of our own choices, and we must own our personal responsibilities and choose to forgive so that our souls may heal, thus, paving the way for reconciliation in the physical and in the spiritual realm.
Hatred, anger, resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, discontent, envy, and any other feelings of ill will only serve to destroy our own peace.
When we find ourselves obsessed with withholding forgiveness from another we only find ourselves falling on our own swords!
You may be asking what are you talking about or why is this important?
What I want to say is that, as Christians we have been given a task to usher in sinners to a place that they can make peace with our Heavenly Father, who has been our father from the beginning and who has never left us alone, even when we ignored Him and rejected His guidance for our lives.
It will be quit a problem if we cannot be the example of this free will grace and mercy.
In order to be the ambassadors that God has called us to be we must respond to life’s lemons by making lemonade!
I have placed a bit of time in making these statements so that we can gather our hearts and emotions and center them on this moment in time and that is to celebrate our father’s who are doing what they are supposed to and to honor the memories of those who have done well by their children.
Honoring the father is a very critical lesson that each child must be taught. In a world that has a blatant disrespect for authority, most philosophers contribute this to the lack of fatherly parenting.
They would venture to say that our black culture suffers from poverty, the lack of education, and the fact that the black father is aloft.
In some cases this may be true, but they fail to highlight the good father’s in our culture. The media looks to assassinate our cultural identity and portray our men as pimps, players, and womanizers.
Very seldom do we see Hollywood painting a picture of the Cosby’s in our day in age.
Our sitcoms praise and overly exposes our minds to the notion that sex without commitment is really living the good life.
Our favorite shows are laced with promiscuity and if that is not enough, it encourages our youth and adults alike, that they can be whatever gender they want to be, and they can sleep with who they want to sleep with, they can marry who the want to marry!
I myself have fallen into the world’s trap and believed the lies that it has told and have found myself contributing to the problem of fatherlessness.
No excuses being made here, but I am a product of the decisions I have made, I must bare the consequences alone.
How do we stop these atrocities? How do we battle for the minds of the people we love?
Highlight: And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers,”
In proper context this scripture is prophesying the coming of John the Baptist which Jesus confirms in the gospel.
The idea here is that God desires our heart or minds to be devoted towards Him.
When our hearts are devoted towards Him, only then can we began to honor and serve Him as we are supposed to.
John’s message was clear, repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
To repent means to turn away from behavior or thought patterns that separate us from fellowshipping with our Father.
Repentance is the only means that we might be reconciled to God.
Reconciliation is a huge deal!
Why, you may wonder.
Reconciliation, according to Webster, is to restore a friendship after an estrangement.
We must seek to restore a friendship with a person that we have chosen to shy away from.
What happens in this sense is the next most powerful force in the world, we receive forgiveness and acceptance or we extend these freeing our souls to receive God’s forgiveness and acceptance.
Without these two ingredients, love is just a word.
I remember talking or listening to a person explain how their father was not in their life until recently, this man is in his 50s or 60s and was raised by foster parents.
He said he had a burning desire in his heart to find his father and he finally got the chance to do so a few years ago.
He said the thing that he desired the most was to be validated, accepted, and affirmed by his father.
He said the question that he asked his father was, not why were you not in my life, but are you proud of me!
He asked, "are you proud that I am your son? He said his father said yes!”
He said, they shared and hug and a few tears of joy flowed from their eyes.
I can understand this man’s feelings, yes my father was in my life, but we shared the same desire to be affirmed by our father.
This man has a family of his own, but he needed his father’s love to help him make sense of the world.
How does this apply to us today!
To those fathers who have done well I commend you and I pray that you continue to do what you are doing!
1 As estranged fathers, we must turn our hearts to the children and not allow our personal feelings for the mother to get in the way of our affections towards our children.
Mothers we must encourage our children to seek a healthy and meaningful relationship with their fathers, those who are present or absent.
Mothers we must refrain from allowing our words and our own ideas of what a father should be to stand as road blocks to this process.
In other words, if you feel that the daddy is no good, then I would ask that you make an effort to not throw this hatred onto your children.
There are a bunch of reasons for why fathers and son’s and daughter’s are not united, but we cannot allow our past to hinder our future, if we have breath in our body then we still have an opportunity to make impact!
This may come at a personal cost, I say this to that, it will not cause you physical harm, jail time, or death.
It may cost some emotional stress, personal embarrassment, or a little shame! But you have much more to gain in the end, a meaningful relationship with a child!
2 Think about how God pursues us. He desires a relationship with us! Sometimes we may feel He has dealt us a terrible hand in life, we know that He wants to be in fellowship with us!
Just like we long for the affection of our earthly father we should long for the affection of our Heavenly Father!
We should seek His approval in everything we do.
Turn with me to the book of Ephesians the 6:1-4 verse for the heart of our message today.
The reason we need to encourage fatherly affection, respect, and honor is because without it we will continue to see the downturn of our community.
Laws will not keep crime from happening! It will not keep sin from running rampant!
The only thing that can do this is that men and women must honor the teachings of their father.
Look at these verses with me starting at verse 1:
Eph. 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Paul informs us that we should obey our parents that have the mind of Christ.
This does not mean that we should not obey ungodly parents, it means that when their request is not unreasonable or against the Word of God, we are expected by the Lord to follow their instruction and yield to their will.
This is the first line in learning how to obey the will of God, it is our “practice training” that fortunately helps us out in all areas of life.
If we fail as children to follow this standard we will have to learn it the hard way, through trails and tribulations, through heartaches and despair, but the fact is that eventually we will learn to obey.
Its our choice, we can get it the hard way or take the easy road!
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
Honor here means ti consistently follow their instructions throughout your life on earth.
Thus, honoring their legacy and memory before people!
You have always heard that term,”you have raised a fine young person.”
Or, in school when you were acting up they said, “act like you got some home training.”
The point is do not do anything that will embarrass your father and mother.
In a larger sense it also carries the weight of honoring your grandparents and ancestry, in other words do not embarrass the family name!
Again, this is practice on how to honor our Heavenly Father, and even though we did not have an earthly father, we are responsible for honoring God.
I must explain that in Biblical times it was a grave offense to dishonor your father with words or actions, they were to respect their fathers and not talk bad about them to others even if they felt that their father was unjust.
What I am saying is that we are responsible to cover our fathers and respect them even when internally we do not want to.
There is a chain of command in all of this, God is the head of our father, our father is the head of us, and we will both have to answer to God for the choices we choose to make.
Because of the circumstances that have lead to the disrespect towards our fathers, this is a reason the world is suffering from the social issues we have today.
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
There is a promise that God has made to those who obey Godly parents and that is to have a long life.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Before this verse we see the responsibility of the children, (no matter how old we are) and it would seem to give fathers the leeway to gain respect without having to earn to so to speak.
He lays out the responsibility of the father to not provoke the children to wrath.
This is not to say your father cannot make you mad, this is that he or we as fathers, should not neglect to instruct our children in the way of truth.
We should not teach them to do what is contrary to the will of God.
The word provoke here in an imperative present, meaning as fathers we should continue to guide our children in the way of the Lord, even if they have turned 18 or reached 21.
This is a life long process and will continue until you die, thus, raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
When does your legal headship and responsibility for the child end? We they get married!
But, if they have been trained correctly, they will heed your Godly wisdom.
If you do not remember anything that has been said today remember these three things.
- Forgive yourself for your past mistakes and look to reconcile with your Heavenly Father.
- As a person male or female, choose to forgive and if possible choose reconciliation with the individual who has caused you pain and seek a relationship with an estranged father, mother, child, or other relative or friend.
- Always choose forgiveness over bitterness!