In my interview in Tenacious Love, I shared briefly about the abuse I suffered at the hands of my father. Because of the way my dad treated me, I was angry for years. But through the healing ministry of Celebrate Recovery, I discovered that my dad was being the best dad he knew how to be and through that give him forgiveness.
How could I be mad at someone for doing their best? It would be like being mad at a blind man for walking on my feet. My dad had learned his behavior from his dad, and his dad from his dad, and so on. The abuse was a generational thing. I praise God that, because of Jesus, that cycle has now ended! Both my father and my grandfather are now in heaven where we will one day have a perfect relationship in the presence of our God.
I was blessed to lead my father to the Lord and receive forgiveness. We were at my grandfather’s bedside in a hospital room. I had my Bible in hand when my dad suddenly started to cry. Most Hispanic men don’t let anyone see them cry! My dad began apologizing for things he had done to me and for the things that he hadn’t done for me.
I said, “Dad, I forgive you.” And then I asked him for forgiveness since I had not been the best son that I could have been. We began to talk about Grandpa and God. “You know Dad, Grandpa is about to pass from this life, but because he knows Jesus Christ, he knows where he’s going. Do you know where you’re going? Do you want to know?”
My dad said yes, he wanted to know where he would go after his own death. I shared the gospel of Jesus Christ and led my dad to the Lord.
My whole life I had wanted one thing: for my dad to tell me that he loved me and that he was proud of me. I performed for him my whole life, doing anything I thought he’d approve of just so he’d say those words once! But he never did. Yet the moment my father prayed for Jesus to come into his heart and said amen, he told me he loved me and that he was proud of me.
In a split second, Jesus did what I had tried to do every day through my performance. From that day forward, until the day my father died, he would call to tell me those two things.
What are you trying to bring about through your performance? Let it go; let God have it. Only God can work in the hearts of men and restore relationships. Draw close to God and do what He tells you do. Forgive. Ask for forgiveness. Love. Wait. Trust. Be kind. And then watch as God does what only He can do. He is able to do abundantly more than you can ever hope for or imagine.
Written by Scotty of Passion for Prison
Photo by Sarah Cervantes