Fathers and Sons
He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Malachi 4:6
My father was a good father, and, in most respects, I was a dutiful son. But I allowed my father to starve for the one thing I could have given him: myself.
He was a quiet man; I was equally silent. We often worked for hours side-by-side with scarcely a word passing between us. He never asked; I never told him my deepest desires and dreams, my hopes and fears.
In time I woke up to my reticence. Perhaps the perception came when my first son was born, or when, one by one, my sons went out into the world. Now I wish I had been more of a son to my father.
I think of all the things I could have told him. And all the things he could have told me. At his funeral I stood beside his casket, struggling to understand my emotions. “It’s too late, isn’t it?” my wife said quietly. “Exactly.”
My comfort lies in the fact that we’ll be able to set things right in heaven, for is that not where every tear will be wiped away? (Revelation 21:4).
For believers in Jesus, death is not the end of affection but the beginning of timeless existence in which there will be no more misunderstandings; relationships will be healed and love will grow forever. There, the hearts of sons will turn to their fathers and the hearts of fathers to their sons (Malachi 4:6).
Father, thank You for forgiving me and allowing me to experience a restored relationship with You. Help me to seek reconciliation in my broken relationships and deeper connections with others close to me even as I await the healing that will come in Your presence.
Scripture is very realistic about the difficulty of reconciliation. A community made up of broken people (Ephesians 4:17–24) will struggle with unity. Still, Christ’s victory over all evil (vv. 7–10)—including in our hearts—means that we can have profound confidence that believers, as Christ’s body, will grow in unity as His love brings us together (vv. 15–16).
But believers must “make every effort” (v. 3) to cultivate a community committed to “speaking the truth in love” (v. 15)—holding each other accountable for exchanging our natural lifestyles (vv. 25–29; 5:3–18) for the Spirit’s “way of love” (5:2, 18–20).
Most important, cultivating unity requires a forgiving, grace-filled spirit (4:32; 5:2) through the power of Christ’s Spirit, who loved us long before we loved Him.
This side of eternity, persistent sin may make it impossible for some relationships to be fully restored. Yet we can rest in Christ’s victory, trusting that His love and power will one day bring all of God’s children to perfect unity.