I remember the event very well. It was a discussion I had with my father in regard to our relationship. Looking back now I am stunned at what I was asking my father and yet my understanding of God at the time really paved the way for such an exchange, and in fact, it demanded it.
As I developed as a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, it was part of my task to explain to people that God was a Trinity of three persons all equal in power and knowledge. The unity I saw reflected in this Trinity, naturally laid the platform for my relationship with my father. I approached my father with the knowledge that I had my own family like he did, that I was respected in the work place like he was and that I had a knowledge of the world like he did and in some areas I thought I had more while accepting that in other areas he had more. None of this thinking was close to the surface, it was deeply layered. The only way it manifested was when my father would seek to offer me advice on subjects that I felt well versed in. I had this growing sense of frustration that his regular attempts to set me straight were an ongoing denial of recognising I had come of age.
With my Trinitarian based views of equality, I unwittingly was twisting the blessing that was intended to be passed from father to son. Rather than allowing my father to bestow upon me a blessing according to his wish, I wanted him to arise and acknowledge my coming of age and standing in society. I reflected well the current thinking that:
Ordination does not confer giftedness, ordination recognises it’s already there and we see the fruit. See sermon by Dwight Nelson - Of Perfume and Tears and Grumpy Old Men - See from 16 min point onwards.
Under the influence of this mindset, I approached my father with an appeal. "Dad, I am now a grown man, and I was hoping that we could now relate to one another as friends. I don't need to be told what to do now. When you talk like this, I feel like a 10 year old child, I was hoping that we could move on from that."
My father's response was not what I wanted to hear:
"As your father, I still reserve the right to tell you what I think."
I had no idea that my approach to my father was actually an attempt to undermine the nature of our father and son relationship. I was seeking a co-equality with him based on the principles of the god I once worshipped. This god was now bringing me a lot of pain because it was moving me to ask my father something he simple could not give and that was a denial of our true relationship as father and son.
At the time, I felt so frustrated with my father and felt that I was 100% right and he was 100% wrong and that he needed to let go and recognise me as a man rather than treat me as a boy. As I look back, I feel ashamed to put to my father a propostion that would undermine the true nature of our relationship. I came forth from my father and received my life from him. This reality means that he will always have a place of authority in my life. He may grant me equality in friendship and power and all these things, but he still has the right to advise me as he thinks best and as his son I would be wise to consider any counsel he would wish to give me. I would also add that if my father can see that I respect him, love him and value his counsel, then his counsel and advice would naturally be well considered and offered. My submission to him allows him to consider carefully what he says for my ultimate good.
Since having found joy in knowing God and His Son, I have found a much greater joy in my relationship with my father. As I see him as an appointed blessing in my life and one that I must respect and honour in all things, our relationship has grown much better and our hearts are being turned towards each other just as was promised by the Elijah Message.
I no longer desire to have my father recognise me as his inherent equal, I am content to love and serve him as his son and wear that name with a deep sense of joy that I trust will continue through the ceasless ages of eternity.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 24 April 2012 16:09)