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Faces on Faith: Not such a bad dad

June 20, 2018
By DR. DARYL DONOVAN , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Father's Day has passed, and with it a flood of memories and reflections. I am one of those people who can say that when my dad passed away, I lost one of my best friends. We had a great relationship. But it wasn't always that way. While I was growing up, my dad was gone a lot, non-affectionate and uninvolved in my life - the first time I remember hearing him say he loved me was when I left home for college; he never came to any of my football games.

The sad truth was my dad had not really had a dad in his life. His father had died when he was very young. Dad had dropped out of school at age 13 to work to help put food on the table. The turning point for me was when I heard a word from my Heavenly Father about my earthly father. I was sort of whining to God about how bad of a dad I had. I sensed God saying to me, "Your dad did the best he could." It was at that point that my heart changed, and I had a new appreciation and love for my dad. Somehow, I know he knew something changed in our relationship. From that point forward, our relationship grew and blossomed into a wonderful friendship.

I know people have been hurt by their fathers. Statistics say that more have had a bad experience than have had a positive one. In his challenging little book "Wild At Heart," John Eldredge talks about the wounds of the father. Those wounds can cripple us for life. They can even prevent us from having an intimate relationship with God. Those wounds, whether intentional or unintentional, cannot be ignored. Forgiveness is the only hope for healing. Truth is, healing might not end up in a friendship with your father. There may never be reconciliation. But forgiveness can bring freedom and cleansing for you, the forgiver.

Article Photos

Dr. Daryl Donovan

Someone said to me one time that unforgiveness is like drinking poison, and expecting the person that hurt you to die. Unforgiveness is such a destructive force. If you have had a great dad, what a great gift you have received. If it's not been so good - or if you've even had a bad dad - apply a lot of grace and forgiveness so that you can be healed and stop the chain of wounding.

Dr. Daryl Donovan is the senior pastor at the Sanibel Community Church.



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