Today, I want to continue sharing some advice with young people who have grown up without fathers. On last week I encouraged you to do three things:
1. Get to know God as your Heavenly Father.
2. Read the Bible consistently.
3. Talk to God about anything and everything through prayer.
Here are three more things that you ought to do if you are in such a situation.
1. Choose not to become bitter toward your father. Yes, by choosing not to be a part of your life, your father was irresponsible and he did you wrong. But you will not be well served by allowing a root of bitterness, resentment, or hatred to grow in your heart. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:15, “Look diligently [watch out for or be careful]… lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you.” The only person who will be hurt by the bitterness or resentment you carry in your heart toward your father is you. Thus, it is a waste of energy and time.
Instead, you ought to forgive your father because that is what God would have you to do and that is the only thing that will set you free. Colossians 3:13 says, “forgive one another, if any man have a quarrel (or grievance) against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.“
2. Choose to love, appreciate, and thank God for the parent or parent figure you do have. This comes easy for many young people, yet it is worth saying here. You may be raised by your mother, by your grandparents, by some other older relative, or by a combination of these. Even though you may not have the perfect family situation, you can be thankful for what you do have.
You especially ought to be thankful considering the sacrifices that your guardians have had to make in order to raise you and provide for you. You can reward them for their sacrifices by letting them know that you appreciate what they have done and by respecting them as authority figures in your life.
3. Ask God to give you godly, older mentors and friends. When I was a young Christian, God, in His wisdom, placed a few older gentlemen in my life. These men are 20-30 years older than me. As a young man, I watched how these older men lived their lives, I asked them questions about life in general, and I asked their advice on what I should do (and not do) in my life. The wisdom I gained from these older, wiser men has saved me many years of trouble, heartache, and pain. I have been able to avoid some of the mistakes that they made and that they warned me about making.
Proverbs 11:14 states, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” To be honest, after I decided to follow Jesus Christ at the age of nineteen, I did not spend a lot of time with people my age. I spent time with those who were older than me so that I could learn from them. In fact, my closest friends today are at least 20-30 years older than I am, and, even now, I go to them for advice and encouragement at this stage in my life. I strongly encourage you to do the same.
These are just some of the things you can do as a young person to get on the right track even if you have not had the benefit of a father in your life. I will be sharing some more of these things in our next broadcast.