A: This command was so important that God included it as one of the Ten Commandments: “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you” (Deuteronomy 5:16).
Does this mean we must agree with everything our parents did, or praise them even when they were wrong (as was the case with your father)? No, of course not. But our parents gave us life; you wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for him. As our nation celebrates Father’s Day tomorrow, I hope you’ll take a few moments to thank God for the good things your father did for you, even if it seems like a short list. You can also honor the things he taught you (even through his bad example).
At the same time, I hope you’ll also reflect on what it’s cost you to hold on to your anger and bitterness all these years. Your anger is understandable, but it’s been like a poison, robbing you of joy and poisoning your personality and your soul. I know it’s hard to forgive someone who has hurt you so deeply, but with God’s help it’s possible — and necessary. May your journey toward forgiveness begin today.
This Father’s Day, may your mind and heart turn also to the only One who will never abandon or disappoint you — your Heavenly Father. Have you put your faith and trust in Him, and in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ?
Q: Why does God allow some people to turn their backs on Him, and even lash out at Him and treat Him like an enemy? It seems to me that God ought to stop them. I know He doesn’t, but I don’t understand why. — Z.L.
A: If God treated us the way we deserve to be treated, would any of us be left? No, of course not, because every one of us has sinned against Him and treated Him as if He were our enemy. The Bible bluntly says, “All have turned away... there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12).
It’s true, however, that some people deliberately live as enemies of God. They want nothing to do with Him, and may even persecute those who do. Why doesn’t God judge them and strike them down? Sometimes He does, and that should be a sober warning to anyone who hates God and thinks they’ll get by with it. The Bible warns, “You may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).
But God often delays His judgment, hoping that those who hate Him will realize the error of their ways, repent of their sins, and turn in faith to Christ. I think, for example, of a man in the Bible named Saul of Tarsus, who hated Christians and was determined to do everything he could to destroy them. But one day, on the road to Damascus, he met Christ. His life was changed -- and Saul became Paul the Apostle, devoting the rest of his life to spreading the Gospel.
Pray for those you know who want nothing to do with God or with Christ. And pray, too, that your life will be a living demonstration to them of Christ’s love and truth.
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.