A young woman, named Ruth, turned her heart away from her father during her teen years and become very bitter towards him. He was a very demanding person and was unreasonable in many ways. He lacked good communication skills and was insensitive to Ruth’s needs and desires. Increasingly, the relationship between Ruth and her father broke down and she eventually rejected him. She turned her heart away from her father and began to live a life of rebellion.
She became sexually involved with men and finally moved in with a young man and they lived together for several years without being married. They were involved in drugs, drinking, immoral activities, rebellion, occult practices and a lifestyle of spiritual darkness. Ruth’s life could be characterized by the story of the prodigal in Luke 15. She was lost and living in the pigpen of sin and selfishness.
Ruth and her boyfriend were invited to attend a Christian family camp being held near to where they lived. They agreed to come and while they were there the Holy Spirit began to draw Ruth back to her Christian heritage. At the conclusion of one of the evening meetings, she went forward for prayer and personal ministry. As I and some other leaders of this ministry prayed for her, one of the leaders was prompted by the Holy Spirit to ask her the following question, “Are you willing to forgive your father?”
I was a young leader at the time and I thought this question did not address the really “big” issues in this woman’s life. It seemed to me that we needed to focus on the destructive choices she had made. She was living an immoral lifestyle, she was struggling with drugs and alcohol, and she was involved in occult practices. However, as soon as that question was asked, Ruth broke down and wept uncontrollably for several minutes. The Holy Spirit had touched the core issue in her heart. The breakdown with her father was the key to her other problems. It had opened the door of her life to the sinful lifestyle she was now living.
Turning her heart back to her father was the key for her personal restoration. It led to deliverance from the bondage of sin in her life. She willingly forgave her father and let go of the bitterness and resentment that had filled her heart for many years. That evening was a powerful time of deliverance and transformation for Ruth. It was the beginning of her road to recovery and restoration
She was eventually reconciled to her father and turned away from the lifestyle that had bound her for many years. She and the man she was living with both gave their lives to the Lord and they repented of the way they had been living. After some input and counseling from me and other Christian friends, they married one another and began to live for the Lord. They gave up their drugs, their alcohol, their occult activities and their immoral lifestyle. Ruth’s story is a powerful illustration of the important link between family restoration and individual restoration.
Romans 5:20 tells us that, “where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” Even though sin brings a destructive and devastating impact on individuals and families, God’s grace is greater and can overcome the consequences of sin.