"The key to understanding the Bible is to look for Jesus in the Bible. Jesus is the hero of the Bible. If you read the Bible and don't find Jesus, re-read it! The Bible has one hero, His name is Jesus; one villain, that is Satan; one problem, that is sin; one solution, that is salvation. That is what the Bible is all about." -Dr. Adrian Rogers

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Greatest Man I Never Knew

First of all, I would like to start this post by wishing all the fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day. If I remember correctly, it has been three years since the last time I wrote anything about my own father. My father and I didn’t have the best relationship growing up. And when he died unexpectedly in 2002, I began trying my best to forget that he ever even existed. All that changed, however, several years ago when I realized that the unforgiveness I was harboring in my heart against him was doing more harm to me than it ever would do to him. A couple years ago, I explained my feelings about my father in a letter to a good friend, and I would like to share part of that with you here today.

Speaking of my father, I spent the first eight years after his death trying to erase all memories of him from my mind. The truth is I hated my father for choosing his selfish, sinful lifestyle over our family. He didn’t actually walk out on us, although he did; my mother kicked him out. I’ve told very few people this, but my father had a drug problem. He took his own life the same way his musical hero, Elvis, took his. He and the rest of the family kept it well hidden, but it was there. I knew he didn’t have a valid driver’s license, but I never really questioned why. It wasn’t until after his death that the truth began to come out. It was then that I started to put two and two together and begin to truly understand the reason behind some of the things that had happened when I was younger, like why he never could keep a steady job, the real reason he didn’t have a driver’s license, etc.

It wasn’t until about two years ago that I realized that what I was doing was very wrong. God commands us to forgive. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” A very wise person once said, “Forgiveness is for the forgiver.” He was dead. Me holding a grudge wasn’t doing one blessed thing to him, but it was eating me alive. So I chose to forgive and bear my grudge no longer. Since then, my thoughts toward him have changed completely. Now, instead of being glad he was no longer a part of my life, I wish he still was. And I often wonder what it could’ve been. You know, if he had gotten help, if they hadn’t got a divorce. Would he still be here? Would I be writing about his successes rather than his failures?

Reba McEntire sings a song called “The Greatest Man I Never Knew.” (No, I am not a Reba fan. I just know the song exists. I much more prefer songs like “My Mother’s Faith.”) Nobody knew my father like my grandmother. She was his biggest fan, even though I know the life he chose for himself broke her heart. To hear her tell it, he hung the moon. And she’s told me on several occasions, “I know you know the bad, but there was a lot of good.” That’s why I like to think that my father was the greatest man I never knew. It’s also why I pray that I will live my life in such a way that my children will get to see the man that God always intended me to be, instead of the other way around.

Although my father professed to know Jesus Christ as Lord, I still lack assurance of his salvation. The fruit simply wasn’t there. If you yourself are a father and you are here reading this today, I beg you not to let your children be able to say the same of you one day. In fact, that is the only reason I have chosen to share my story with you here today. Please, if you have yet to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life, please do so before it is eternally too late for you. If you will simply turn from all sin and trust Christ alone to save you, he will save you today and keep you saved forever.


  1. Tommy, I appreciate your openness about your father and your desire to encourage others to be the best they can be for the Lord. The first step to victory is when you said, "So I chose to forgive . . .". Forgiveness is the act of the will, we chose to forgive and we chose not to. I have been saved for 36+years now, with a past of growing up in a lost home, molestation, incest & parents divorcing. I know others who have gone through much worse, but that is the lot that fell to me. Looking back on my life of 54 years, I now see that those events were truly the love of God in my life. How can I say such a thing? I know God knew exactly what it would take that when salvation was brought my way that I would accept Him as my personal Saviour. No, he doesn't control my free will and I could have chosen to stay in my pity, but by the grace of God, I chose Him!! He is the best friend I have ever had. Did all the bitterness, anger, insecurity go away with my acceptance of salvation? No, but the Lord wanted to heal me of those things so that He could use those things to help others. My parents divorced when I was 13 yrs old. I would visit my Dad every summer. My senior year in high school, my father gave me some advice with a "boyfriend" I had at the time (remember, lost home). I couldn't even repeat it to you here or in private. Looking back on it, I am glad that my father was not in my immediate life, that kind of counsel may have tripped me up. My father died in 2011. For the 20 years prior to that I never saw him, 15 years of that 20, I never spoke to him. My letters were never answered - silence.

  2. In 2010, I received an email telling me my father was dying. He was living in the Philippines and I was not able to go visit him. In November of that year, the Lord had a care giver witness to him and on 11/17/2010 he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. I have one waiting for me on the "other side"! I had witnessed to him when I first got saved and he put his hand on my Bible and told me, "I don't want to hear it!" I never really saw any fruit from his salvation other than that he was sorry for all he had done, but in all fairness he died 3 months later. I don't know much about your father, i.e.: how he grew up, but some men never get the victory over "their" sin. He may very well have gotten saved, but never got the victory over things in his life. I guess the question to ask would be, did you see the chasing hand of God in his life? Hebrews 12:6-8 says,
    6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
    7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
    8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
    Your Grandmother may remember a time when your Dad did get saved. The Bible also says in Joshua 24:15, And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

  3. Choose you this day! Just as you chose to forgive him, we are to chose to serve Jesus Christ. We fight that battle 24/7. Again, I don't know your Dad, but if he did infact ask Jesus Christ to save him, he was sealed unto the day of redemption Eph 4:30, And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
    He may have sinned in his flesh, which we all still do saved or lost, but his soul was sealed unto the day of redemption. It's like a canning jar that has canned green beans in it. The seal is sealed, but the outside of the jar gets dirty. We put it under the water (cleanse it with the washing of water by the word-Eph 5:26) and then use a can opener to open the seal. The green beans are perfectly good on the "inside"of the jar, but the outside of the jar gets "dirty". God promises to keep our soul, but he never promised to keep our heads or hearts. That's our job, it shows Him how much we love Him! Proverbs 4:24: Keep thine heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life. May we both be found faithful at His coming! Looking and Longing for our Saviour's soon return! Perhaps Today! I Thes. 4:13-18


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