Even in the days of his early childhood, the forces of good and evil raged within him like strong magnets pushing and pulling him in two different directions. All of this tension and internal strife was at a low volume in the background of his mind, heart and soul, and he wondered why he felt so ill at ease and tense much of the time.
There were times when he would have outbursts of intense anger and even rage, kindled by the slightest frustration or irritation, not knowing where his behavior came from. He seemed to be innately angry, but this anger rested just below the surface of his conscious mind and over time, he learned how to harness it to attack people at will, who might have insulted or disrespected him in some way small or large. It seemed like a baby monster was growing inside of him and lately it had been growing sharp teeth and a growing appetite, but remained always hidden and disguised deep within him.
Sometimes he feared what damage his outbursts of anger could produce and he was constantly holding himself back, careful not to release the beast from within. The root of his anger and rage was a rejection by his father to have a personal relationship, complete with emotions and to have give and take and emotional trust and a real father-son relationship. His good natured side which was fueled by love and compassion and sweetened by kindness and self sacrifice and was always the stronger of the two forces. The good side saved the man on countless occasions from exploding into infamy and making a return to sanity impossible.
When the man was a boy, for years, he chased after his father wanting to build a personal relationship that included emotional connection and trust and companionship. The father closed the door on all of this. The man now knows why. The father was weak and emotionally damaged himself, and he just did not know how to have a true relationship with honest feelings and emotional trust with anybody. He remained highly guarded. He preferred a hand shake at a safe distance, rather than a simple hug.
The father stayed swimming in his intellectual, safe castle, fortified against any threat of emotional connection. The young boy understood none of this and he persisted in knocking his head against the wall, trying to find a way to get his father to love him.
The boy decided to excel in academics and sports in order to bring this good news to the feet of the emotionally damaged king. The boy worked very hard and achieved perfect grades in both high school and college and in high school he achieved MVP in football his freshman year. There was an unspoken rule in the family that if you succeed or have accomplishments, then you will receive love. His mother provided unconditional love, but with the father, there was no “we love you for just who you are. Most of the time the thinking was, I will love you according to what you accomplish. This was a devastating blow to the boy’s self confidence and self esteem. This is why the boy continued to chase after his father with accomplishments, so he could receive love.
The father acknowledged and even praised these accomplishments, but the boy was not able to win an emotional relationship with his father and he became confused, then upset and finally angry at the futility of it all. The boy persisted for ten of his early years and no progress was ever made to develop a real relationship.
The greatest disappointment the boy ever knew was when he had to accept that he and his father would never be close, and that there would forever be a concrete wall separating the two of them because the father was emotionally damaged or lacking in courage and incapable of having a close relationship with his son. It was very much like experiencing a death in the family but the person was still alive, sitting in front of you, but unreachable. The man did not accept or process all of this over night. It took 28 years to even begin to forgive and let go of what might have been.
The anger and rage and confusion and hurt smoldered for 28 years before Jesus turned the man’s heart from cold numbness to the blessing of forgiveness and compassion for others. Shortly before the father died, the man had an opportunity to witness to his father about how Jesus had saved his life and rescued him from the ravages of drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness, fear, desperation and unspeakable rage and hurt wrapped up in an unfathomable loneliness. The man had wallowed in the mire of addiction for 28 years and spent a year lost outside on the streets in homelessness and insanity.
One night in the father’s castle, the man poured out his heart and soul to his father, explaining how to ask Jesus into his heart—he explained that all that was required was a simple prayer and an expression of trust and faith in Jesus. The father was trying to figure it all out and tried to use his strong intellect and logic to understand if God even existed.
The man prayed and asked that Jesus help him to give an effective and powerful witness to his father. The man gave his best sales presentation for Jesus, and he felt power flowing through him as the Holy Spirit spoke through him. The father was very alert and attentive, but appeared to be full of turmoil, doubt and skepticism. He was visibly struggling with it and he seemed frustrated that he could not, “figure it out”.
The man’s job was to deliver the message as powerfully and persuasively as possible and to speak from his heart and soul. The man felt that he had accomplished this, and that there was nothing else that he could do. It was time to release his father to Jesus.
Two years later, the father died.
The man prays that Jesus is taking care of his father.