I never got along well with my wife because of her bad temper and mine, which is just as bad. We argued a lot. I made the mistake of complaining about my wife to my son from the time he was about ten years old. I said bad things about her, and he just listened, but I didn’t realize the harm that I was doing to him….

Now my son is twenty years old. Recently, as the result of another argument, he decided not to talk to me anymore. I deserve it for having raised him in such a rough way when he was a child, thinking that I would make him a tough and stable man….

Now that it seems like everything is falling apart, I am desperately begging them to forgive me…. In the last few years I have asked God to help me to be more tolerant, to be a better person, to be a faithful follower of His, and have asked Him to heal the rift in my family, but I haven’t prayed enough.

Dear Friend,

We are saddened to hear about the problems in your family. Some men in your situation just walk away without caring whom they have hurt. It doesn’t matter to them that they have caused damage and pain in the lives of those that they are supposed to love the most. So, we commend you for being willing to take steps toward resolving the issues and regaining their affection.

You mention that you have prayed, but you believe that you haven’t prayed enough. God is not a vending machine that you put prayers into in order to get the answers you want. You see, He pays attention to more than just the words in your mouth. He knows what is in your heart. If your heart is full of hate, bitterness, and contention, then your prayers can’t reach God. That is because He doesn’t look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.(1) Until you recognize the need to have a changed heart, your prayers will make no difference at all.

As for your family, you must accept the fact that there are no magic words that you can say to ever undo the damage or make up for all the hurt that you have caused for more than twenty years. Are we suggesting that you give up? Absolutely not! It is never too late to change your future.

The only way to win back your family is for you to have a change of heart that lasts for the rest of your life. If you try to fake it in order to mislead them, they will know, and they might banish you from their lives altogether. What we are referring to is the kind of change that only God is capable of. If you ask for His forgiveness and sincerely seek His plan for your life, He will change your heart. But it will take time, maybe even years, for your family to trust the new you, so be patient and depend on God to give you wisdom.

We wish you the best,

1 1S 16:7