I recently heard a dad say to his teenage son “I will be glad when school starts so I won’t have to feed you three times a day. It seems you are always eating.” The son replied “You only feed me two meals now because I don’t get up early enough for breakfast”. How my heart broke when I heard this conversation. I could see the hurt in this teenage boy’s eyes.
It reminded me of what my Dad used to say and do to me when I was a child and we were eating. I would ask my parents to please pass something and my Dad would literally shove everything in front of me and say “Here it is, eat it all”.
I can remember many times as a child going to the refrigerator and seeing very few groceries but there was always a lot of beer. Dad used to yell at Mom about the price of groceries like it was her fault, yet he had no problems spending money on cigars and beer.
I resented my Dad for many years because of this and I actually grew to hate him. Until one day, I heard Billy Graham say in a sermon “Don’t you blame your parents for the way you are. There comes a time in every person’s life when he or she makes the decision to do right or wrong”.
When I heard that, I realized that I could no longer blame my parents for my mistakes. I had to admit to Jesus that I was filled with hatred and resentment for my Dad. I asked Him to please forgive me and give me a heart of compassion and love for my Dad.
It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, Jesus had to operate on my heart for almost ten years regarding this issue. Then my Dad had a stroke. I went to visit him at the hospital and as I saw him lying there unable to curse or yell, my heart broke and at that moment I loved my Dad. I don’t know if Dad understood what I said to him that day but I asked him to forgive me for not being the kind of daughter that I should have been to him.
Parents, please, please don’t say these things to your children. Even if you are only teasing and you see your children smiling, inside they are hurting and you are creating a very poor self image for them. I have received a lot of emails just in the last nine months from people who have told me that they weren’t really hungry but they ate anyway because they were afraid someone would take their food from them.
There is good news. We have food that nobody can take from us and His name is Jesus. He is the bread of life. Not only is He the bread of life; He is the restorer of broken hearts, broken marriages and broken lives. Thank God for Jesus, our bread of life. Thank You, Jesus, for loving us and for being so compassionate that You forgive us time after time when we hurt You and fail You so many times.
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