Learning to forgive my absent father
Monson Kalai // October 24, 2019, 12:36 pm
As a worship leader in church, I often sang Good Good Father and led the congregation in singing those lyrics sincerely.
But for a long time, I never really realised that I was the one who did not understand what it means to call God my “Good Good Father” because I had been carrying bitterness towards my earthly father.
My dad was never there for me when I needed him the most. And while growing up, I have even gone to the extent of cursing him and feeling good about it. I didn’t trust a single thing about him; there wasn’t even one way in which I looked up to him as a dad.
I have heard countless sermons about forgiveness and love. And I have tried loving my dad, but I’ve always failed miserably.
But God would deal with the brokenness inside of me so beautifully as I made the third recording of my song, Awe and Wonder.
Awe and Wonder was written because there is nothing that captures my heart more than this thought: Why would the God of the universe be drawn to us wretches? Whose salvation meant the death of His only Son?
To me, it’s more than amazing to know how God has redeemed fallen man and brought reconciliation. Because of God’s unfailing love, an insignificant person like me can now relate to God and find wholeness and purpose in Him. I can write and sing songs to Him!
The very first time I recorded the music video (MV) for this song, I remembered being so hyped up for its release. Sadly, it never happened. With much disappointment and frustration in my heart, we filmed the MV for the second time. But I still failed to release it even though I tried every possible way to make it happen.
More than a year has passed since then. And in that time, I hadn’t realised that God’s work of transformation and restoration was carefully taking place inside of me.
On the day when I was due to discuss whether we would attempt the third recording of the MV, I heard a pastor share his testimony which resonated deeply within me.
His daughter had been going through four years of clinical depression, and she would not talk or look at anyone’s face. The blow was even deeper for the pastor because he was well known for being effective in deliverance ministry. He felt like a failure because his own daughter was going through such trauma without showing signs of recovery.
His life was filled with frustration and disappointment until God whispered in his ear one day: “Son, how do I treat you?”
When he heard that, he broke down. He declared that his daughter didn’t need to change one bit to be loved by him.
He decided to love his daughter unconditionally because he realised that’s how God loves us – there are no conditions to the love He bestows upon us. Eventually, the pastor’s daughter recovered from depression and was completely healed.
The story touched my heart because all my life I had been praying for God to change and touch my dad’s life, turn him from his backsliding and whatnot – it was a long list.
But I had never prayed for God to help me love my dad unconditionally. As I started to see my dad from God’s perspective, I was challenged to love my dad no matter how tough it got. Fresh love from God had been poured into my heart for me to love my dad without conditions.
I was convinced that the answer to my bitterness wasn’t my dad changing, but God changing me.
In the worship session after the pastor’s sharing, God flashed the very lyrics of Awe and Wonder in my heart.
You’re the God who has a tender heart,
and You healed all my broken parts,
You wiped my tears and said, “Child, you are mine”
I saw these lyrics so vividly as God showed me the area in my heart which needed healing. God was ministering to me so gently, flooding my heart with waves of love I had never known before.
I was convinced that the answer to my bitterness wasn’t my dad changing, but God changing me. I realised why the first two recordings of the song never worked out – the song wouldn’t have been authentic if it was released then.
But it’s real and alive to me now. I’m just amazed at how God brought wholeness to my life through a song I had written as worship unto Him.
For a long time, I thought nothing was going to work and that there was no way to fix the relationship with my dad.
But I now firmly believe that God will help me in this road to reconciliation, no matter what challenges come my way. Having encountered God so intimately, I will put my confidence in His ability to heal and mend broken relationships.
I want to share this story of hope especially to those who are struggling with a dysfunctional relationship in their family and are seeking reconciliation.
God is more than able to bring wholeness to your life and transform your story into a blessing to many, no matter how ugly the situation may look like.
Monson Kalai is a worship leader and musician at Trinity Worship Center in Tripura, India. He recently graduated from Tung Ling Bible School’s School of Ministry.
His song, Awe and Wonder, is available for download on a free-will purchase basis. Proceeds will be channelled into a youth awakening movement in his city and an upcoming worship EP album he’s currently working on. For the lyrics and chords to Awe and Wonder, click here.
- How would you describe the relationship with your parents?
- Is there any area of your life where you need reconciliation or healing?
- Or do you need to be changed by God in some way?
- How can you release forgiveness or give grace to your family today?