CCM: How would you encourage others that are currently going through similar situations?
JR: I think that there are a couple of things that really need to happen first before you can really be free, or to break that chain. One, is you have to be able to forgive. I had to forgive my dad. For me, to try to be a good dad, I had to. I’m not saying that you can’t be a good dad if you have bitterness and anger towards your own father, but it makes it really difficult. Even after I got saved it wasn’t easy. My prayers were literally, “God, help me to want to forgive my dad, because I don’t know how.” Before I knew it, God helped me and I honestly forgave him. That was big, because bitterness and anger is like swallowing the poisonous pill and waiting for the other person to die. But once I forgave my dad, there was this release.
Second, in being a father to my own kids, I had to really look to God as my father. I want to encourage people that are struggling with that—maybe they don’t have a good male role model in their life, or maybe they’re like, “How can I be a good dad when I’ve never really had anybody to look up to?” All my uncles are drunks, at the time, all my friends were this or that or on drugs, or whatever… For me, I learned from God, the Father, on how to be a dad. My wife, Laurie, has also been a huge encourager, as well. She’s really helped me along with the process of forgiving. Again, I think that’s such a huge part in overcoming such tough things.
CCM: If you didn’t really have a dad growing up, how difficult was it for you to begin that process of looking to Christ as “father?” How do you now apply those attributes from your Heavenly Father to your relationship with your sons?
JR: Right, when you say, “God the Father,” early on I didn’t know what that meant. To me, a father was someone who cheated on your mom and beat her in front of you and then leaves you. As I began to get more into the Word and surrounded myself around people that knew the Father—know Him as Abba Father—then I began to learn that He is the only One that doesn’t leave. He forgives, and He loves unconditionally.
So, with my kids, especially as they’re getting older—Blaise is now about to be sixteen—communication has to always open. God never cuts us off, in fact He wants us to talk to Him. In our house, I let them know daddy is always here. I’m not going to judge them. I want to hear what they have to say and be available to them.
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