Written By J. Leng, Malaysia, originally in Simplified Chinese
I always feel a tinge of envy whenever I see a doting father chatting and laughing with his child. I have never had such happy memories. When I was 11 years old, my parents divorced after my father had an affair. Mum told us that Dad had given up custody of us as he did not like kids. When he remarried, he did not have any children.
As a result, my sister and I were brought up by our mother. Apart from asking my father for our living allowances every so often, our contact with him was minimal. Even when he asked about us, it was simply for formality’s sake. He rarely took us out for dinner or spent time with us. In our growing up years, we never really got the chance to experience the so-called “father’s love”.
After my parents divorced, I could sense my mum’s contempt and spite towards my father, especially when she mentioned him. She would often tell my sister and me not to find someone like my father.
Over the years, because of what she said and through my own interaction with my father, I came to feel the same way about him—he shunned responsibility and would only bear it if he did not have a choice.
Gradually, I also started to believe that all men in general were not reliable and could not be trusted. Like my mum, I looked down on my father.
When I was in high school, I remember asking my father to help me move out of my dormitory during the school holidays. He failed to turn up. In the end, I had no choice but to do it myself, with the help of others.
When I reached university level, my father said he could not afford to cover the full cost of my tuition fees and told me to find my own solution. I was very disappointed with him. It was the most difficult time of my life—I was alone in a foreign land, lonely and helpless.
Faced with the pressure of not being able to pay for my fees, I went into depression. At the time, I felt that having a father or not made no difference. I had to take on several part-time jobs to pay for my living expenses. All the while, I would blame my dad for my troubles. But it was this very time, that I came to know Jesus and received His gift of salvation.
Matthew 11:28 says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” And in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
These two verses gave me great comfort. God made me realize that I did not need to bear the burden on my own. I could entrust all my worries and fears to the Lord, who is trustworthy. Perhaps, I thought, I could even thank my father for “leading” me to believe in the Lord.
After I became a Christian, I began learning how to build a relationship with God, and gradually came to comprehend the Heavenly Father’s amazing love. Although one of my greatest regrets is not being able to experience a father’s love, I now have the greatest form of fatherly love—the love of my Heavenly Father.
At the same time, through reading the Bible and prayer, I’ve also come to understand God’s will for me in Matthew 6:15: “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
To be honest, forgiving my dad for hurting me is not an easy task. But every day, I ask God to help me to understand and forgive my father. After all, God wants us to be reconciled not only to Him, but to others as well.