The wall that crumbled
Malachi 4:6 “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
Three years ago, I joined the Celebrate Recovery (CR) program in Erdenet (Mongolia). Through this program, I was able to quit drinking. Since then, my wife and I have stopped quarrelling and our relationship has improved significantly. I am thankful for that. However, my relationship with my children did not seem to improve, especially with our older son.
My wife often implored me to relate gently and kindly to him. I thought it was alright to speak harshly to him, since I am his father. I scolded and berated him whenever he did not do the housework he was supposed to do. I also made it a rule that he must read his Bible every morning. Consequently, we became distant, and he would not talk to me When I was working on the 5th step of the CR program (We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs), the Holy Spirit convicted me that I should apologise to my son. However, I could not bring myself to do so, because I felt uneasy apologising to my son, and I did not know how to!
Two days passed, and the next day when my wife was out and our younger son was preoccupied watching a TV cartoon, I decided it was the right moment. I went and sat in front of my older son, who was doing his homework. I said, “I am sorry that I have scolded you harshly and berated you at times. I will not do that again. I love you. I am sorry that I have not told you this sooner. Now I want to tell you that I love you”. My son tried to hide his tears from me and got up to wash his eyes, claiming that something got into his eyes. It dawned on me that I had caused so much hurt that he did not feel safe being vulnerable in front of me. I felt so sorry. I had often told him, “You obey your mother only, but disregard what I say. You have no respect for me as your father!”. I realize that I should not have said that. Since the day I apologised to my son, he has been reading his Bible and doing the housework on his own initiative. In the past, he did all that grudgingly, and only after a scolding from me. As the wall of bitterness that has separated us started to crumble, we became closer to each other.
Sandag, Celebrate Recovery member in Erdene