To close this series, I want to focus on fathers who desire to win their sons. Such fathers have a resilient spirit – not unlike a child. No matter what has previously transpired: they will never give up on their sons. If they are tempted to give up, they will press through difficulty and work hard to identify small slivers of hope.
Such fathers will not withdraw from their son no matter how their son reacts to them. They will pursue their son with vigor and passion to convey their deep love and masculine affirmation. They will come to counseling sessions ready to listen to the concerns bubbling out of their son’s heart. They will see the difficulty and experience discouragements in the task of winning their sons, but they will never give up trying. They will give their whole heart to invest healing into their son’s wounds.
Such fathers will not fall into the great error of complacency allowing more years pass by in which the distance further numbs the father-son relationship. They will not shrink back from looking into the past in order to gain a forward-looking strategy for loving their son. They will not retreat into island-isolation and silence. Yes, as men, we may be tempted to say, “It’s no use.” But that is a lie. We must be resilient. We must press on. We must keep finding God’s strength and wisdom to press into the task of winning our sons.
Such fathers understand that this journey through relational orientation counseling is not just about their son: it’s about them to. They should expect to find difficult facts that are hard to look at. They should expect to remember hurtful memories without shaming and blaming themselves. They should expect to hear their son’s express memories that seem ‘made up.’ They should expect to be challenged by the work required to help their son gain a greater sense of personal identity and more healthy relational orientation. They should expect that they will have to do this work alongside their son while encouraging their son gently to do his work as well.
But father and son do not do this work in isolation: this work is done in a safe, affirming atmosphere where the truth – no matter what it is – can be spoken freely. They will receive significant guidance through this process. They will be encouraged and challenged along the way. It will be challenging, but it will be deeply rewarding.
Dad, there are no guarantees. The success of relational orientation counseling depends upon the willing hearts of both father and son. Your son may not be willing. Or he may start the process and then retreat from it. There is uncertainty. What do we do with this uncertainty? Do we shrink back to complacency presuming the counseling will fail? Or do with press forward in faith?
My answer to this question is as follows: I simply do not accept a Gospel that does not try to bridge the gap between a distant father and son. Jesus went to his death to bridge the gap between our Heavenly Father and all of our rebellion. He overcame not only our sin; he overcame death itself. He kept standing on the nail that took His life so that we can be reconciled to God. He stayed in the place of excruciating pain until His work of reorienting our relationship to God was finished.
Dad, finish the work to win your son. Or shall I say: do your part.
As I close this series, I want to finish where we started: with a parable. We have a lake (father) that has retained too much water (love, touch, emotions). We have a sea (son) that is running dry (love, touch, emotions). Lakes do not connect with seas directly; they connect via rivers and streams (channels). Our goal is to get the water from the lake to the sea. But unfortunately, there are many dams (disconnection, distance, distrust) blocking our path. So as a team, our goal is to identify the dams and find out which ones we can open up so that water can flow from the lake to the sea more naturally.
Sincerely in Christ,
This series deals with fathers and sons. Relational orientation counseling can be a blessing to any parent of any child – boy, girl, homosexual or heterosexual. If your family is in need of such counseling, contact me toll-free at (877) 683-6867 or email me. I am happy to serve your family. God bless.