It was 1983, I think, and Shari and I were attending a national Youth Ministers Seminar in Lubbock, Texas. We had traveled to the event with a few other youth ministers from our area in Colorado. Everyone was dressed up, looking sharp and having a ball. About 200 youth ministers from around the country were there, many with their wives.
One morning, as we were all settling in for the start of the seminar that day, a long haired, grungy looking guy entered the room; he was totally out of place and all of us thought he surely had lost his way. About that time the leader of the event started everything with a prayer and then introduced our special guest speaker. I’ll bet you’ve already guessed it, that the guest speaker was the grungy, long haired, out of place guy.
I don’t remember his name, but he was an undercover police officer from Houston, Texas. He came to talk to all of us youth ministers about the drug problems in church youth groups. I’ve heard a lot of speakers over the years and can’t remember much that most of them said, but I can still remember a lot of what that guy shared with us that day.
What I remember most is the promise that he made to his kids. Doing undercover work meant that he was sometimes gone for days, even weeks at a time, unable to be with his kids. The promise that he had made them, before he started his undercover work, was that he would tell them every day that he loved them. That put him in a bind when he was undercover.
He then convicted us all when he shared how he worked that out. He said, “When I couldn’t be with my kids, I would sometimes sneak away from my undercover work during the middle of the night and make up for the days that I had missed. I would go in each of their rooms while they were asleep, kneel down by their bed and quietly make up for the days I had missed. That meant that sometimes I would softly say, ‘I love you.’ over and over and over again. I didn’t want to wake them, but I wanted to keep my promise to them as best I could. Most of you will be able to see your kids every day. Never let a day go by that they don’t hear you tell them that you love them. NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!”
I can still see the grungy, long haired guy in my mind, but in my mind he is a hero and I don’t even know his name. You see, his name isn’t important; the example he has set in my mind is what is important. He has prompted me over and over again throughout the years to tell my kids that I love them. Now as an old man, with grown kids who live far away and have their own kids, I still tell them that often and text it to them when I can’t be with them, which is now most of the time. He burned into my very soul this truth: THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR A FATHER FAILING TO TELL HIS KIDS THAT HE LOVES THEM.
I’ve heard mothers tell their kids, “Now you know that your daddy loves you, even if he doesn’t say it in words.” I’ve heard grown kids say, “I know that my daddy loved me, he just couldn’t say it.” Please listen carefully to what I am about to say: THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR FAILING TO TELL OUR KIDS THAT WE LOVE THEM.
If you are a dad and you find it hard to tell your kids that you love them, GET OVER IT AND TELL THEM, NOW! If your kids are grown and you didn’t tell them that you loved them very often, comforting yourself with the thought that you didn’t have to say it in words, then CALL THEM NOW AND TELL THEM; GET OVER YOURSELF AND TELL THEM!
And if my words make you mad and you won’t listen to me, then at least listen to that undercover police officer, who risked his very life to sneak out to his kid’s bedside, to tell them that he loved them. “Don’t ever let a day go by that your kids don’t hear you tell them that you love them. NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!” God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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