Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-3 (NIV)
I was a sinner. As I read the Bible, things became clearer for me. I had hatred in my heart. I despised my father with all my being and it was destroying me. I also hated myself. I read of the Lord’s Passion and how He died a most horrible death on the cross. As He was dying he said "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do." Luke 23:24 He was treated horribly and yet He was able to ask for forgiveness for those that hurt Him. If He was able to forgive them, I could forgive my father. I had to do it. I could no longer live with that hatred.
When I came back to the Lord, He provided that I wouldn’t be alone. Around the same time I gave my heart back to Jesus, My cousin June gave life her back to him as well. June was more like a sister to me than a cousin. We had been through so much together growing up. She had also introduced me to many of the women I had dated. Her life hadn’t been easy as her dad had abandoned her and her sister when they were toddlers. She had accepted Jesus into her heart when she was younger and had back slidden early in her teens. She wound up in a lot relationships with abusive men and was now a single mom trying to raise a daughter on her own. Now she had found Christ again. I was still very insecure and going to church with my cousin helped me get established. Once again I returned to Trinity Pentecostal. Gone finally, was the club going and partying. The hurts I had received had awoken me to the fact that many of the people going to those things had no sense of purpose in their lives whatsoever. I needed a purpose to live. I had finally found it in Jesus.
Every church service was fresh and vibrant. When I attended four years earlier there was a wall between what they were preaching and my understanding. Now my eyes were opened and everything made sense. The Spirit who now dwelt in me had opened up my heart and I saw clearly. I couldn’t get enough of church. I needed to be at every service and every event. They started my cousin and I off in a new converts class called "First Things First" which taught us all the basics of salvation. In there I made so many new friends. The one thing I noticed was that we all accepted each other for who we were. One of those people I met was my future mother-in-law. It wasn’t long before I was baptized in water in front of the congregation and testified to them what the Lord had done for me.
As the Lord worked in my heart it became clearer that I had to find my father and tell him I forgave him. At first it was a real struggle as my flesh really didn’t want to. But the Bible says that the flesh and the Spirit are always at war. I decided to listen to the Spirit. Now all I had to do was find him.
I had never been close to my dad’s side of the family. He was raised a strict Roman Catholic and his family didn’t like the idea of him dating my mom who was a Pentecostal. His priest told him that if he ever married my mom he would be excommunicated. He didn’t listen to the priest and his family turned his back on him. I believe this was one of the sources of his bitterness and continues to hurt him to this day. My bothers and I did eventually meet our aunts and uncles but only when we were young. After my parents divorce we lost contact. Once during my clubbing days I met some women who turned out to be my cousins. They were my dad’s sister’s daughters. We became very good friends. When I came back to the Lord, it was through them that I found out where my dad was working. He was tending bar and cleaning tables at a bar in downtown Montreal. I prayed and asked God to go with me as I went to see him. I didn’t care if it was a bar or any other place, I just knew I had to make things right for my sake and his. He was surprised to see me. As he sat at the table with me I told him what God had done in my life and the forgiveness I had received. My heart was all of sudden so full of love for my dad right there. Every bit of hatred was washed away at that moment. I told my dad I loved him and asked him to forgive me for the way I felt about him. We both broke down and wept in that bar. A weight was finally off my shoulders.
A few months later my dad was in the hospital suffering from viral pneumonia. We didn’t know whether he was going to make it or not. I asked him if he would accept Jesus as his Saviour. I didn’t have to coax him or plead with him. It was so simple. He gave his life over to Jesus. He recovered a week later. My relationship with him has changed. I love my dad now. He is now approaching his 80’s and whenever I talk with him I always ask him; "Dad, you still love Jesus." His answer is always yes.
It never ceases to amaze me how great and marvellous the redemptive power of Jesus is and always will be. He is always able to transform a willing heart.
To be continued……….