S2 EPISODE 34: Honoring our Dads: A Father’s Day Special

PASTOR PAOLO: To those of you who are listening, a few weeks ago, Rene and I had a conversation. I was really captivated by his story. Since Father’s Day is coming up, he talked about his experience growing up and how God changed all that. Obviously, not overnight but through the years. So, I wanted you all to listen to his testimony.

RENE: I’m excited to share because my dad and I, hindi po talaga kami okay nung una. But I remember in 2011, I invited him to church in Victory Ortigas. Siguro a little background, hindi talaga ako comfortable to invite him because hindi po okay yung relasyon namin. I feel as if I’m the black sheep of the family, I feel as if my dad is not a good example. But during that service, our pastor was saying, “next week, invite niyo yung mga tatay niyo because we want to honor them.” 

I’m thankful that by the grace of God, when I invited him, he went and I shared the Gospel to him – yun po yung isa sa mga excited ako na maishare ko na po lalo na ngayon na Father’s Day.  

PASTOR PAOLO: You know, you told us about the story of your years of growing up. I guess, we don’t know if you can share a little bit, you said that you were 23 siblings? Is that right? 

RENE:  Because my Dad was a former actor, he had a family before us, before he married my mother. So, marami na po kami bago pa po ako dumating at nung naghiwalay yung mom and dad ko, nadagdagan pa po, kaya umabot kami ng 23 [na magkapatid]. During those times of having this life with other siblings, there would be tension between us to the point where I really feel as if we were being neglected. For me, I really feel as if I’m the black sheep, the rejected one. Out of the 23, I’m the one who fights and answers back to him back then. Ako po kasi yung parang “junior” niya, kasi same name po. 

I experienced rejection, even physical abuse. Learning now, I know that it’s not my Dad’s fault because he was still not a believer before. 

PASTOR PAOLO: Father’s Day, you invited him! What happened? Did he receive Christ right away or after some time? 

RENE: What was amazing was when he was there, they really honored the fathers. They talked about the Scriptures and what fatherhood is really about. After that, I thought he was not going to attend again but I was amazed when he asked, “kailan tayo babalik?” There was a time during the service, he was snoring – parang nakatulog. Sabi ko, “babalik ka pero natulog ka nga eh.” He said, “No, let’s go back.” 

I do believe that the seed was planted. It was later that I realized my dad was praying for our togetherness and the unity of our family. That was his heart. It was an answered prayer for him. And true enough, after that, kasama ko na siya sa paginvite ng mga kapatid ko sa Church namin.  

PASTOR PAOLO: How did God heal? You said you were at odds with him.

How did God heal that relationship? 

RENE:  Hindi po ganon kadali, grace lang po talaga ni Lord. Minsan pagkatapos ng service, pagkapasok ng elevator nagtatalo pa kami. I know that the command was to honor my father but I could not understand how. Later on, I thought honoring him was not to fight him anymore, to let him be even if I know there’s a lot of wrong in what he says. 

Later on in 2018, we were invited to this event called “Father’s Heart,” it’s about understanding the heart of God as a father. There was a part that really healed me. It also healed my child, together with my Dad – it was a generational curse. From my lolo, my dad, and to me – hiwalay po kaming lahat at nadamay na po ang anak ko. But during that session, we understood that there are things our fathers have done that are passive or there are some who are absentee fathers without their intention to do so. These are things that have also been done by their fathers that are passed on to their sons. When he understood that, that’s when the healing started. 

There was a  session where we were told if we really understood that we were forgiven, we should forgive our fathers as well. That’s the session I could not forget, while we were praying to forgive them and to bless them. 

PASTOR PAOLO:

How did you do that? Syempre diba, there’s unforgiveness, there’s anger, there’s bitterness — paano yun

RENE: Siguro po, it’s just being honest. Hindi mo ginusto ‘yun, nangyari ‘yun, but God is in control. The scripture in Malachi, the last verse in the scripture, is talking about the father being restored with his children. When I heard that, it really made an impact on me. Ito talaga ‘yung will ni God. To forgive our fathers and the father will ask forgiveness from their children. ‘Yun po yung nangyari sa amin. Two days after, I went to my son for his birthday, and I did that — I asked for forgiveness. 

I said to my son, “I love you. You are my son.” My son and I are now very sweet, it’s now normal for us to say ‘i love you’ all the time. There was healing for me, there was healing for me and my dad. 

Alam niyo po, pag nagkikita kami ng dad ko, parang nahihirapan ako na mag-mano man lang, magyakap or magkiss. Yung mga kapatid ko ganon, pero ako parang hindi. Pero nung nagkita kami ni Dad after that, I was embracing him, I was kissing him. 

Now, I understand. I am blessed now because I am honoring my dad. I just bless him, love him, with anything I can do to bless him. That is that secret of being blessed onwards. 

PASTOR PAOLO:  That’s so good, Rene. Thank you so much for sharing that. Before we wrap our time together, what would be your advice or insight or what can you say to those who are listening and saying,

It’s really hard. If you only knew what my dad did to me, to my mom, parang ikaw mismo magagalit sa kanya. How can I honor a father like that?” 

What would you say?

RENE:  In my way of understanding it, in my life also, I will repeat: hindi nila ito ginusto. I heard this, “hurt people hurt people, loved people love people.” They are hurt before that’s why they can’t love you truly, they have their hurts that were passed to them. 

This is the answer: When we ourselves understand the love of God, we bring that love back to our family. 

Especially to our children, to our fathers – that will heal them too. The last part of the story is not the ending [hindi pa po tapos ‘yun]. When we had the 70th birthday of my dad in Bohol, we knew what we were going to do. We will not just gather our siblings to eat, enjoy, and sight see. We will do this with my dad intentionally, when we talk to my siblings we will talk to our siblings and tell them it is time to forgive our dad & he will apologize to my siblings. 

Grabe po yung healing na nangyayari sa family namin ngayon. Because we learned how to extend the love we have that we are receiving everyday from our Lord. Ganon din dapat sa ating magulang, lalo na sa ating mga ama na gumagabay sa atin. 

PASTOR PAOLO: As we end, what are the practical ways to apply this? How do we value the relationship with our dads and to those dads also listening to their children – what was helpful for you?

How do you honor and value that relationship given what you’ve gone through and your testimony? 

RENE:  One practical tip is to just bless him. He is 72 now, hindi na po siya yung active na nagtratrabaho. I just want to help him by giving him what he needs, the Lord is providing for my dad. Kami po magkakapatid, same po ang goal namin ngayon. Kung saan gusto magenjoy si Dad, we’re there to support him, to really spend time with our dad. 

Siguro twice a month, we had this conversation; sit down or just eat. We’re excited now that Father’s day is coming up. We’re really excited to spend more time with him and honor him. This is one way for me. It all starts with honoring your father, especially on father’s day. 

PASTOR PAOLO:  Maganda yung sinabi mo, to bless them. I guess the posture of the heart is to be a blessing to your dad, whether you provide or bless them with something materialistic. The other one would also be time—time is a huge blessing. 

RENE:  Lastly, Pastor Paolo, is to just declare blessing and prayer every night. Before we go to sleep, we just declare blessings for our dad. 

PASTOR PAOLO:  Paano yung prayer na ‘yun? Could you give us an example?

RENE: Of course number one is good health, that he is enjoying this prime time in his life. To declare healing and good health. Provision for everything he needs, especially his medications and maintenance. We also pray to continue to be a blessing to the parents and parents-to-be, because my dad is really encouraging couples as well. To pray that the Lord will continue to use him even with his age right now. 

PASTOR PAOLO: Rene, thank you so much for sharing your testimony. It’s very powerful, maraming maraming salamat. Those of you who are listening, I think what Rene shared is great because our relationships with our children [if you’re a father] and even if you are a child today, that is a reflection — our earthly fathers represent our Heavenly Father. Of course, that seems to be like a huge responsibility upon us as earthly fathers, but at the same time, what a privilege and an honor. And so, what’s great is because we have an example of our Heavenly Father who has loved unconditionally and from that love, we are able to draw from so that, as children or as fathers, from that love from the Heavenly Father, we can overflow into other people in our lives.

This podcast is hosted by Pastor Paolo Punzalan. In this episode he is joined by a missionary, Rene Chua.

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