Creflo Dollar - Overcoming the Regret of Fatherhood Failures - Part 2
While the voice of shame wants men and fathers to meditate on their failures, a man of God refuses to live in this state, and as a man of God, refuse to live in that state. By the power of the Holy Spirit, he will instead get up, this man of God, and he will give it another go, attempting daily to live out his new and present identity in Christ, and that's the key: "I'm gonna live out my new and present identity in Christ, not my old man, my new and present identity in Christ," rejecting your former way of life one failure at a time, rejecting it, praise God. Titus chapter 2, flip over there for a moment, Titus chapter 2, verses 11 and 13. This is pretty strong here. Titus 2, said, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to all men". In other words, this grace has been made available to everybody, but look at verse 12. He said, "The grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness, to deny worldly lusts, that we should live soberly, righteously, godly, in this present world".
Now hold that to that Scripture just for a moment. "To deny something" means to refuse to recognize it or to acknowledge it or to own it. So when you deny something, you know, the enemy puts it in your mind again, "You're a failure". He said deny that. The enemy comes again and says, you know, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself". You should not acknowledge that. Don't own that. The problem is a lot of men have owned it. And, as men, you know, we like to go around and act like nothing's bothering us, but it haunts people all their life, and my objective today is I do not want you to die in regret when this can be handled. This is something that you can deny, something that you don't have to own, something that you don't have to acknowledge, "Well, well, if it's true, it's true".
See, you're mixed up on what truth is. You're mixed up on what truth is. "Let God be true, and let every man a liar," do you see? You're mixed up on what truth is. You're talking about your truth and their truth. It ain't but one truth, and, "Let God be true and every man a liar". And, see, that's what we gotta come to, the place where we understand that God's Word is the truth, and that's what we should be standing on. So fathers tend to not talk about their failures, and every father fails. Boy, that was a revelation to me, every father fails. I don't care how many commercials they do. I don't care if they are the President of the United States. People know how to make stuff look good. Boy, you go on Instagram, somebody could almost be half dead, and they'll work up a smile. Mm-mm, fathers fail. Humans fail. And if it were not for that, we wouldn't need Jesus. If humans never fail and if fathers never fail, why in the world did he go on that cross and shed his blood? Every father fails, why? Well, why do fathers fail?
Because the call of being a father is not a call that many men were trained and prepared for. It's not a call that many of us were prepared and trained for. We just did what was done to us, and in some cases, we did what we saw, and it wasn't the right thing. I mean, when I came up, it was no bad thing then, but it's like, you know, if I did something, like, crazy, my mama would, we had hedges in the neighborhood, and my mama would summon those hedges. It's like they were willing to hop off the bush. And I remember I ran from my mama one time. She was trying to whoop me, and I'm like, "Oh, I ain't getting no whoopping today," I ran outside. I faked, and she slid in this thing and skinned her leg up. I said, "Oh, crap," and I wasn't gonna come home, and then it got dark, and at that time, they had these little rumors out, you know, to make kids go home. They said, "The chicken man was out. You better get home, or the chicken man gonna getcha". I'm like, "Oh, between the chicken man and my mama, I think I'll take the chicken man," you know?
And then I got back home. My mama was sitting there. She had already platted, I mean, she platt 'em with the fold and, just, I mean, really platt 'em. And they take the leaves, when the leaves on, and just take 'em through the finger, "shoooop". Leaves just fall off, and that thing's just dangling. My God. And it commenced. And back in those days, they used to talk to ya. And don't say nothing back though, 'cause you gonna prolong it, "Didn't I tell you? And you went out there, and I'm chasing you, and you had me skin my leg up like it was". "No, Mama, I didn't". "Yes, you did. How're you gonna sit there and tell me"? She tore my butt up. And you remember, y'all? How many of y'all know what I'm talking about, whips and stuff all on your legs? There wasn't no 9-1-1, I don't even think they had no 9-1-1 back then. You was on your own. That's what I saw.
Getting ready to go to school, you know, you're supposed to be pleasant with your kid in the morning: "Good morning. God loves you today, and I love you too," so I got up. We had to get your report card signed, and I made a "C" or something on something, and my dad said, "Well, you know, you need to bring that up. You can do better on that," and I'm like, "Well, you probably couldn't have did no better than I did". And I don't even... only thing I remember is, like, "Space: the final frontier". And there was this buzz, "Bzzzzz," and then I recognized I have been knocked out. Gravity took over me, and I had been knocked out. You know, in those days, parents was doing that while they were driving. You get smart, mmm, pow, "Don't talk back to me". God-dog. "Don't poke your lips out". So I ain't know if I'm poking 'em out, no, so I just... mm, put 'em all in. Oh, you remember this one, "Don't you roll your eyes at me," good Lord. And then don't be around the grandparents. They think it's like a relay race, "Now let me get in. Now, hold on, now, I'm"...
You can't do better till you know better, and sometimes, when you know better, you just aren't gonna do better, but that's how you was raised up. Didn't have the right kind of training. Didn't know I could train a kid without beating him. Didn't know I could talk to him. Didn't know I needed to recognize the stages of childhood that, at this stage, this is what they do. At this stage, this what they do, expect it. And at this stage, at 16, they start smelling themself. This is what they do. I had answer for all, beat at this stage, beat at that stage, beat at this stage, beat you up at that stage. So we fail because we were not trained and prepared for it, and most learned to be, most, now, where does that take you? Where does failure take you?
Now listen to this: Most fathers have learned to be better fathers through their failure, through their failure. I now am better equipped to father. Of course, my kids are grown now, so that stage of fathering is over with, them grown people there. Grown people don't like to be told what to do. Those are grown people, but you've got grandkids. You're gonna be, it's a do-over. Grandkids is a do-over, and if given another opportunity by their children, those kids can take advantage of a father who has become better through his failure. God takes mess and knows how to make masterpieces. Nobody gets to a place of great leadership if he doesn't know how to take his good and his bad and put it together to make a leader. A leader is made up of the good and the bad. What did it look like in our times of failure? It looked like, for example, anger that was deliberate and hurtful. It looked like sharp statements that inflicted pain upon those kids. It looked like that failure looked like self-absorption that left a child needing a relationship because we were so absorbed within. Me, I was just so absorbed with the ministry.
You know, the little I did learn was, you know, God'll take care of your kids. You need to take care of God, and they'll be all right. Well, I would never give that advice today. I would never give that advice today. My advice is God first, family and God right there. I ain't talking about no second. It's "God-family," right there. It's like "God, dash, family," and then go to number two 'cause only reason you got a relationship with God is so you can impart into family. What did it look like in those days of failure, insensitivity to a child's issues, or insensitive to the season that they're going through? It looked like under-involvement from obsessive overworking. I was a workaholic, I used to get 80 to 100 invitations a year, and if it was left up to me, I would take all of 'em. I would have to take big boxes home and pray over 'em 'cause I was told, "Listen, God'll take care of your family. You just take care of God and just go around and just, you know, win everybody to the Lord," and stuff like that.
You know, I wish I could have that to do over again. You can't, so either that haunts you, or you figure out how to go on from that place. And somebody's wife says, "Oh, you were a awful father". "You were too". I'm just saying we gotta put it all on the table. There's a lot of stuff about the man's life. You keep allowing it to destroy you, knowing you, you know, "I wish I could go back," you can't. So that's the reality of it. You cannot go back. Ain't nothing you can do. You can't go back. Boy, I had to get that in my head. So what do you do, wake up every day and feeling bad and letting the situation and the memory make you feel bad and letting the past make you feel bad? And then the devil comes in, and he says, "I am robbing you of what grace has made available to you because you can't cut the cord with the past". And just like an umbilical cord is to feed the nourishment of that child, we're being fed because we got our cords still attached to the past, and it robs your future. That failure looked like emotional and physical absence that alienated these things, and these are all common failures that a lot of fathers know.
Well, you wonder is there good news? Yeah, there's good news, I just wanted to get to the reality of it. I don't like this little, I don't know. Maybe the older I get, I come to the point of understanding I don't like this little, you know, Christmas tree decoration, you know, roll a blanket over all of our problems because, you know, blankets are used to cover up, and I'm moving the blanket today. You can never be the real you if you're still using a blanket to hide your issues. You don't wanna hide your issues. You wanna get rid of those issues. Move the blanket, and let God help you to get rid of the issues so you can go forward and be everything that God called you to be. Now, the good news is we can overcome the failure. A couple things, and then I'm gonna deal with the regret part. You can overcome the failure by becoming more aware of the areas of our weaknesses. What are those areas of your weaknesses? Have you identified those areas of weaknesses? The more aware you are, the more likely you are not to repeat those bad behaviors that are linked to them.
So I had to take some time to become aware of those weak areas, impatience, how I use my time, all of those things. You have to become aware of those weaknesses. Here's another thing, and these are just a few things, and this is very powerful, go to Romans 8:26-27. Not only am I becoming aware of those areas of my weaknesses as a father, as a man, but, number two, I have learned how to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit. That's been the greatest thing ever, yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit. Verse 26, says this: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities", "infirmities," it's defined, "the weaknesses of the flesh," weaknesses, "for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered," in articulate speech.
Verse 27, "And he that searcheth the heart knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God". So a couple things I see here, number one, the Spirit supports you in weaknesses. The Holy Spirit will support you in weaknesses. Please understand, this little thing about going around, thinking you're just so flawless and you ain't got no issues, every time you do that, it's like, "Well, I have no need of you, God, because I'm you". No, you have need of him every day. Well, speak for yourself. I need him every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every Christmas, every Easter, every Father's Day, I need him, I need him. And that's what the Holy Spirit has been sent to do. He has been sent to help you in your weaknesses, number one, but secondly, he mediates with the Father on my behalf, on my behalf. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what you need, and he'll help you.
There was a point in my life I let this stuff get me down so bad. I had painted a sadness on my face, and I would just look sad all the time 'cause I'm stuck in the past and letting my past rob my future, and there's no future there. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who helps us in our weaknesses, amen? But now here's the issue. Here's the issue I want you to look at. All of this brings about regret, and the real issue is "All right, Pastor, how do I overcome the issue of regret"? Before I talk about how we overcome regret, Taffi asked me a question. She said, "What's the difference between 'guilt' and 'regret'"? First of all, both of them are emotions. Guilt and regret are emotions, but it's all in the intention of something. For example, "guilt" comes from purposefully doing something wrong, and "regret" can be summed up by exchanging the word "regret" with the words "I wish I had" or "I wish I could".
"Regret" it's unintentional, it wasn't done intentionally, but you wish you could change the past. A real simple illustration: I unintentionally forgot to put your name on the invitation list. It caused hurt and pain. I wish I hadn't. I wish I had a chance to do that again. I wish I had another chance to do that again, so that's regret. "Regret" is "I caused hurt and pain, but it was not intentional, and I wish I had did this this way or that way," that's what that means. And a lot of fathers, maybe you caused hurt and pain, but it definitely wasn't intentional. You didn't do it intentionally, and so what happens is you live in the regret of "Man, I wish I had did this," "I wish I would've stayed home more," "I wish I would've spent more time here," "I wish I would've did this," or "I wish I hadn't have said that this way". Wasn't intentional, and you wish you hadn't, but the "guilt," the "guilt" is, "Yeah, I did that intentionally. I did it out of my anger, and it hurt and pained, and I feel guilty because of what I did".
So the question is can you feel guilty and regret at the same time? Oh, yeah, absolutely. Somebody dies on you, and you're sitting there feeling guilty and great regret: "Oh, I feel bad for what I did to him," "Oh, I didn't mean to do that part of it, but I wish I could've", you gotta deal with those things, 'cause if you don't deal with those things, they will rob you of what God has called you to do. So how do we get rid of the regret of the fatherhood failure? Number one, we've got to defeat the devil through the power of the blood. The devil is the accuser of the brethren. When you hear all those thoughts come up, he's the accuser of the brethren.
Look at Revelation 12 and 10. "To accuse" means "to charge with the fault". It means "to blame". It means "to impute". And God is not even imputing our sins on us, but Satan will. Satan wants to impute all your sins on you, look at verse 10. He says, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ, for the accuser of our brethren is cast down.'" We have an enemy, his name is the devil, and he loves to remind us of our sins, and he loves to remind us of our failures. That enemy is the accuser of the brethren. Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and when you start saying the same thing he says, you have become a part of his team. By accusing us, he can get us to focus more on our failures than on our Savior, and that's what he wants. He accuses you to try to rob you of your focus. He wants you to focus more on your failures and less on your Savior. He would have us to dwell on our sins or wallow in self-pity rather than to serve others.
And listen to me: How can we move from our feelings of regret to overcoming regret? Well, look at verse 11, in Revelation 12 and 11, how do we move? He says, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony, that they loved not their lives unto death". They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb. How do you overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb? When he brings about accusation, you start testifying about what the blood has already done. Every time he accuses you of being a failure, you say, "Yeah, but by the blood of Jesus, all those failures have been taken care of". You overcome him, but you gotta understand this is a spiritual fight now. You see, the blood of Jesus has washed us clean of all of our sins. I want you to see this: 1 John chapter 1 and 7. This just dawned on me yesterday. The blood of Jesus has washed us clean of all of our sins. Jesus paid for every failure, both before and after we believed in him, he paid for every failure.
Look at this: "But if we walk in the light", underline that, "walk in the light" of what Jesus and what his blood has made available. Walk in the light of the finished works of Jesus Christ. In other words, if Jesus says, "You're the righteousness of God," walk in the light of "I'm the righteousness of God," rather than the darkness of "I'm a failure". He says, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, then we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all of our sins," if we walk in the light of what his blood has accomplished. What has his blood accomplished? I'm redeemed. I'm righteous. I'm healed. I'm forgiven. Walk in the light of what his blood has accomplished, and you overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
Look at 1 John 2 and 2. So he paid for every failure, both before and after we believed in him, he paid for it all. 1 John 2 and 2, says, "And he is the propitiation", he is the peace offering, he is the ransom, he is the sin offering, "for all of our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world". So Jesus said, while he was at it, he became a ransom and an offering for everybody on the planet, and if they want to, they can receive it and walk in the light of it and be free from their sin, that's awesome. I tell you, the tormenting thing about going to hell is to go to hell and realize that Jesus had already paid the price for you not to go to hell, and you end up there anyway because you didn't walk in the light of what he had made available.