WORK OF RECONCILIATION
In Malachi chapter 4 verse 6 we can find a cross-reference to the verse in the New Testament in the gospel of Luke chapter 1 verse 17. This refers to the ministry of John the Baptist doing his preparatory prophetic work of paving the way for the Messiah. He does this in the same Spirit that worked through Elijah. This means that Christ, through the work done on the cross, which is a work of reconciliation, will reconcile sons to their fathers and vice versa. When fathers are born again and filled with the Spirit, the same prophetic Spirit will flow through them to their children thus reconciling them to God. If fathers do not get into God’s flow, their children will seek fulfilment in the supernatural elsewhere. To this end, Satan’s offer through the use of drugs is being put to effective but devastating results.
REACH OUT WITH THE GOSPEL
So, in the regeneration centre, there is a strong emphasis on reaching the fathers with the Gospel. We explain the dynamics of this truth to them in the hope that whilst their child is in our care, they will get their homes in order as well. A simple practical way is to ensure that the family eats at a table together at least once a day and then afterwards family worship, fellowship and Bible study led by Dad is encouraged. Some families are simply astounded at the positive effects such a simple practice has on the general atmosphere in the home.
FORGET THE PAST
During the reconciliation process, it is also essential that the family is reminded not to talk backwards into the past. Once forgiveness has been asked and given the past must be forgotten. This old story of: “I can forgive but not forget”, is unscriptural. Isaiah 43:25 tells us
“I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
If God does not remember our sins, then why do we keep on reminding each other of our past behaviour and mistakes? This is especially hard for parents to apply, yet I have seen how quickly this raises up anger and frustration in their children. We must truly learn to apply the discipline of God’s Word in this respect. Psalm 103:9-13 reads
“He will not always chide or be contending, neither will He keep His anger forever or hold a grudge. He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him. As far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe].”
If parents want their children to respect them, they must act in a godly and scriptural manner. We are even considering putting parents through the same basic course their children go through at our regeneration centres. Then we know that they have a better chance of understanding and respecting one another by being of one mind and spirit.