I was a lousy father to my oldest son. The fact that I was, I believe, a very good father to my other three children does not lessen my guilt. If anything, it compounds it.
Not surprisingly, my son became wayward. Though there were other factors involved in his waywardness, my poor fathering caused my son to be bitter and skeptical of authority. He could not tolerate the slightest whiff of hypocrisy.
But one day my son was thinking about how contemptuous several of his friends were of their fathers. And he decided this was not how he was going to be, and he forgave me.
What that meant was that he took the initiative to form a relationship with me. Like an odd twist of the prodigal son, he came back to me with a respect and an appreciation far beyond what I deserve.
I don't know what my problem was as a dad. More than anything, I did want to be a good father to my son. Regardless, nowadays, every time I think of my son, I am so very thankful. Always when we talk, I feel so happy. Here is the son I had lost who now is found.
Some people say, "I'll forgive, but I can never forget." But if you ever talk to my son, I guarantee he will tell you he holds nothing against me. I think he may even tell you what a great dad he has.
Even better than my son is our Heavenly Father, who forgives, and removes our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west. And then shows us "the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness to us through Christ Jesus."