Dear Pastor Lawyer,
I found out last night that my Dad left my mother for another woman. He says he is the happiest he’s ever been in his life. I’ve been sick and have been missing school anyway, so I’m going to go home. What can I do?
Wow. I know how hard it is to see your parents go through these kinds of things. I’ll be praying for you and them.
I don’t know your Dad. Sometimes going right at a guy about his sin is the best way to approach things. You just say something like, “You’re in sin. You’re not really happy. You’re lying to yourself, to me, and to everyone else. You’re an adulterer and you need to repent, suck it up, beg your wife for forgiveness and choose to follow Christ and love your wife more than you love yourself.” Because you are his daughter, this is probably not the best tack to take.
The other way to do it is to be sweet, loving, kind, and chatty. Talk about the things you’re learning about God, and simply aggressively love your Dad. Pile on the love and respect. Find things about his fatherness that you are proud of and tell him how glad you are that he’s your father. Tell him how those things are like how God is a great father and how much you appreciate his modeling Christ’s life to you over the years.
Your whole family will be going through what appears to be and is—grief. Grief comes when someone or something we love dies. It is just as much a source of grief when someone leaves as when someone dies. What your father has done to your mother and to your family is a kind of death. The relationships—Husband/wife, family—have died. So, emotionally you will all respond emotionally like someone died. Things will never be the same. Scars will remain for the rest of your lives. Emotions are already and will continue to be nuts. Anger will rise, pain and suffering will present itself. This is normal in these kinds of things just as when someone we love dies.
Cling to the cross. Run to God. Pour out your heart and your emotions to the Lord who died for you and loves you. Let him lift you up and give you comfort. When the waves of emotion splat you against the wall, turn to Christ for solace. Cry on his shoulder. He cares for you. This will take a long time to get over. And you will never completely get over it, but the grace of God can and will heal the wound so that it will leave only a small scar on your heart. So, take your time. Know that the feelings are unrelated to your brain. This is a heart issue and only God can deal with the heart. But he loves you and can heal your heart.
I know this might sound trite and simplistic, but it really isn’t. There is nothing else you can do. Love God, Love your mom, respect your father, and let God do the convicting and chastening, and the squashing. Respecting, btw, doesn’t mean you can’t pray that God would do whatever he needs to do to get your Dad to repent. You should pray this way.
I hope this helps.