I am a thirty-seven-year-old man. I have two children from two different relationships. The oldest is eighteen, and the youngest is thirteen. I am living with the youngest and her mother.

I haven’t communicated with the oldest at all. He knows that I exist and he has my last name. I am sorry, but I don’t know how to begin to ask for forgiveness. We have seen each other in passing… and only waved. I would like to hug him and beg his forgiveness, but I don’t know how he would react.

Dear Friend,

How wonderful that you have recognized the mistakes that you have made! Your son is still a young man, and you have the rest of your life to develop a relationship with him. It is not too late!

You want to know how your son would react if you asked for his forgiveness, but you must realize that it doesn’t matter how he would react. You are the one who is responsible to do the right thing, whether he reacted negatively or positively. However, the fact that he waves at you when passing and does not avert his eyes could be a sign that he would welcome a relationship with you. But even if he rejected you initially, it is still your place to reach out to him.

To get an idea of how your son feels about you, go to message2conscience.com on the Internet and read the Cases numbered 63 and 244. Although your son may go through a period of anger caused by his feelings of abandonment, he will almost certainly get past his anger within a year or two and will eventually forgive you. It is your task to be patient and understanding, even if he lashes out in anger. Remember that he has a valid reason to be angry, and that you caused him to grow up fatherless. Stop worrying about your own fear of rejection. You rejected him; he never rejected you!

Begin by arranging to meet your son in a public place like a restaurant, a coffee shop, or an ice cream shop. Tell him how sorry you are for not having communicated with him before now, and that you want to have a relationship with him. Say that even though you don’t deserve his forgiveness, you are asking him to forgive you. If he responds negatively or not at all, stay calm and quiet. Remember that he has felt rejected by you for eighteen years, so you should be willing to wait that long as well.

Pray and ask God to forgive you for the mistakes that you have made. Ask Him to make you the kind of man that both your children can be proud of. Determine to read the Bible every day to learn how to make good decisions for your family. If you follow God’s example as our Heavenly Father, you can become a great father to both of your children.

We wish you the best,