If you have failed at fatherhood, here are five things I want to encourage you to consider doing:
Ask God to forgive you of your sins and failures as a father.
1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us. This is all possible because Jesus took the place for you on the cross. Your sin deserves to be punished, but Jesus took your place. Forgiveness is possible by God’s grace and by your faith in Jesus and His sacrifice for you.
Ask God to help you begin to be the father your children deserve.
Begin at the stage of life you find yourself in today. One of the common mistakes is to try and make up for lost time by attempting to redo a previous season. 2 Peter 1:3 says God’s divine power gives us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of him. God’s promise is that He will give you everything you need to be a great dad.
Write a letter to your children or talk to them.
Tell them all the ways you know you have failed as a father. Ask them to forgive you. This is most appropriate for teenage and adult children. You may have to filter this step with younger children.
Be prepared for them to reject you.
You cannot control if they will forgive you or want a relationship with you. All you can control is your love for them.
Begin to pursue relationship with them.
Remember, you cannot just step in and be everything we have talked about in this book. It’s a journey of establishing relationship. You may end up missing one of the roles in this book because of lost years in your relationship, but that does not mean that you must lose the relationship. Keep pursuing them and building your relationship. See how God brings healing to your family. This may be more difficult in some relationships. Unless they tell you to leave them alone, don’t ever give up pursuing your children.
Being a father who failed does not need to make you feel hopeless or filled with despair. In fact, being honest about your failures is the beginning of a journey of redemption. Don’t stay where you are. Your kids still need you. Humble yourself—pursue being a better man—pursue the heart of your children.
This article is also in the May/June edition of Seven Magazine from Promise Keepers Canada. Read the entire magazine for free.