Two weeks ago I preached on fatherhood from Ephesians 6:4. Unfortunately, due to a congregational medical emergency, I wasn’t able to conclude my message. Here is my conclusion:
Some of you in here may be thinking, “What can I do? My children are all grown up and out of the house! I’ve blown it with my kids!”
Parents who have adult children can express much regret after hearing about God’s calling to raise up their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). For some, they regret not being a Christian during the time when they were raising children. Having come to Christ later in life, they look back and see how their sin has alienated or hurt their children. For others, they regret that although they knew Christ, they did not take God’s Word seriously enough to seriously invest in their children spiritually.
Either way, you may find yourself in a position where your children are adults and out of the house, and seemingly far away from you–both physically and spiritually.
It’s not too late.
It’s not too late to begin repairing any damage that was done. And it’s not too late to begin influencing your adult children for Christ. But how?
It first comes with an acknowledgement that God is a God of restoration. God delights in taking our lost and ruined lives and restoring them. All of us are made in the image of God. But due to our sin, that image has been corrupted and effaced. Yet through Jesus we are “being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Colossians 3:10). God loves restoring things. Especially the lives of His image-bearers. He can bring restoration to your relationships with your adult children. He will do it through the gospel of Jesus Christ. By seeing your own sin and “owning” your own sin, God will bring you to the point of crying out for forgiveness. The Bible tells us that forgiveness was purchased for us through the brutal crucifixion of our Lord and His glorious resurrection from the dead. In Christ, you can be forgiven of all things–even parenting mistakes.
Remembering your forgiveness in Christ, then, gives you the power to forgive and reconcile with others–even your own children.
It’s easy to allow objections to flood our minds, however: “But what’s the point, it’s been so long!” Years may have passed since you’ve even had a meaningful conversation with your child.
It’s not too late.
Think about this way: Imagine you’ve been estranged from your child for 50 years. 50 years! That’s a long time. Now on your deathbed, your child comes to you. Would it be pointless to reconcile? Does it make sense to say, “What’s the point now. I’m almost dead. It’s been too long.”? No way! Of course you would reconcile. And although for yourself it may be too late to really build upon your relationship (since you’re on your deathbed in this imaginary scenario)…think about all the good it would do for your child! Reconciling on your deathbed may actually change the course of his/her life! The focus isn’t so much upon what you could get out of it, but upon the good that it would do for your child.
So why not now?
You’re not a failure as a parent. God has brought you on this journey so far and He has brought you to this point. You can’t go back and re-do their childhood years. But you can make a fresh start today to reach out to your children.
With God’s help, it’s not too late.