Steve Wayne of Louisville, Kentucky, had a challenging relationship with his father, Bill, who often treated him harshly. Yet Bill also had a generous side which allowed him to be a foster father to teens without a responsible parent to care for them.
Later in life, when Bill, now a double amputee, was in poor health, Steve would help his mother care for him. One day, Bill asked why the son he treated the worst would care for him, especially in light of the fact that Steve suffered with chronic anxiety. “I did this to you,” Bill said.
Steve responded, “Dad, that was 30 years ago…You did what you thought was right. If it matters to you, I forgive you.”
Steve writes, “The truth is I had forgiven him 20 years before that day, but my father held that guilt in his heart. I learned from my mother that he felt guilt up to the day he died. That is sorrowful news, for there is much about my father that I inherited that was a blessing…Dad, we had our ups and downs, but I love you still…You live in our hearts just as you live in heaven.”
Bear with one another, and…forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you. (Colossians 3:13)
Strengthen the bonds between parents and children, Jesus.