Compressing more than 60 years of Bible teaching and combining his role as a husband, father, grandfather, and even great-grandfather, Chuck Swindoll's seven-part series called Restoring Your Family's Foundation has provided timeless wisdom for anyone who's devoted to cultivating healthy relationships in the home. And today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll presents the seventh and final message in this series. It includes a personal disclosure on overcoming his own regrets. So be sure to listen to the entire program.
Chuck titled his closing message, Getting Past Yesterday's Failures. For the rest of my time, I want to address getting past all the guilt and all the shame so we can focus our life on recovery and renewal. To get there, here is what won't help. Please hear this well. Two things. First, it won't help for you to misinterpret the Scriptures.
Basically, here's what I'm saying. Guard against always and nevers. Guard against making promises airtight. For example, when the Lord says in Proverbs 22, 6, train up a child according to his way and when he was old, he will not depart from it. But the verse does not say that will happen in 100 percent of the cases. Every child will come back to the Lord.
No, they won't. Some die in their sin. Remember, you're dealing with damaged goods and you yourself are damaged.
This makes it complicated. Be careful about the always and nevers in God's word. Rarely do we have the freedom to use those words in his promises. Proverbs 22, 6 never guarantees 100 percent success in the rearing of our children, but chances are good.
If you are faithful to do what you should do in the rearing of your kids, more often than not, good will occur rather than bad, though there are always exceptions. It doesn't mean it's your fault. Here's another something that won't work is to ignore common sense. Think. Keep thinking. Think when you marry. Think when you have children. Think when things are going wrong. Think with common sense. If anybody on this planet needs common sense in spades, we do as parents. So now let me apply these verses to your life and to mine.
I'm going to be very vulnerable in doing so. There are five guidelines I find in Isaiah 58 that will help you and they will help me as we come to terms with a family that lacks harmony, that is becoming dysfunctional, if not altogether. We must begin by humbling ourselves.
That's verses 7 and 8. Pride is often the major culprit in family squabbles and family problems. Often it's the pride of parents. So I'm not surprised that the Lord begins with humility.
For some of you, this is foreign talk. You were reared, I'm the parent. I don't humble myself before my children.
I'm sorry you were told that. That's stupid counsel. You humble yourself before anyone before whom you have been proud. If you ever want to break the syndrome. He begins by emphasizing humility, removing the chains, sharing, giving, not hiding from family members and you will find the wounds will begin to heal. So start with humility. I'm going to get more specific. Pray.
The end of verse 9, I would suggest while praying, you would be wise to write down the offenses you have caused and connect the offense with a name. It's right. Go back and remember where the offense occurred. See it as such. Call it as such. Name the one you offended in the act.
In prayer, ask for guidance to remember the names and to identify the offense. Don't be easy on yourself. Talk straight. Think. Don't hide.
Verse 9 refers to removing the yoke. So I would say cease all blaming. Stop all finger pointing. If you had not so and so, I would not, none of that. And for sure, refuse to gossip and spread rumors about how bad your kids have turned out. That doesn't help them and it doesn't help you. This is a private matter between you and the one you've offended.
So remove the yoke, which brings us to the fourth and here on a camp on it for a little bit longer. Make yourself available and vulnerable. Verses 10 and 11, I suggest that you set up time to sit down with your adult children, the ones you have wounded in the past, the ones you've offended.
In doing so, you will find ways to be released from the grip of guilt and lifted out of the shadow of shame. My wife and I decided to do that in the Swindoll family. By the time we decided that our children were all by then adults and married. We worked with a counselor that we admired who gave us very clear biblical direction in how to take care of this being available and vulnerable matter. He suggested we actually meet with them privately, not including their mates. Their partners in life had nothing to do with our offenses.
The offenses occurred as they were growing up more often than not. So literally, Cynthia and I asked our four adult children to take time on a particular day to meet with us and the counselor in a hotel room, private with the door closed. No one else was there but the six of us in the family and the counselor who remained absolutely silent after instructing us on how to go about this. We had both put together our own lists. Not surprisingly, my list was longer than hers. I had seven or eight, maybe nine things I needed to mention that I could remember where I had done what was wrong, where I had been offensive, where I had hurt one of my children while growing up.
One of the occasions was a matter when I embarrassed one in front of their friends at a birthday party. I remember it like it was yesterday. So did she. When I named it, she broke into tears. So did I. But my list was about eight or nine.
Cynthia's was about five or six. Each of us a different list. We didn't compare our list. What we had done to offend our family had been different from one another but we needed to humble ourselves before our children. They sat in silence with tears. By the time we ended, we were all in tears, even the counselor.
It was the most genuine, authentic, open, unguarded, no-holds-barred expression of wrongdoing, one way. We did not ask them at that moment to forgive us. We did not come to expect from them at that time any response.
They were somewhere between amazed and completely shocked, not knowing what the meeting would be about. We cleared the list, the lists. Cynthia with hers, me with mine, they listened very patiently, never once interrupted, never once responded, nor did we ask them to respond. When we finished, we did not pray. We felt it was appropriate simply to end the time because it was such a deeply emotional period.
We would simply end it in tears. And we expressed to each one the depth of our sorrowful confession. We asked for their forgiveness. We told them that we were wrong. And we were saddened that they had to endure those wrong things we had done.
I don't believe we left out anything that was a meaningful offense. We left it all before them. We stood up in tears. We did not embrace. As I recall, we walked to the door, the counselor remained, and what he said to them to this day, I do not know. But he assured us that he would take it from there, and he had words for them as to how they could respond. We left still in tears, driving home in silence, but fully assured that nothing had been held back.
We brought everything and left it there. Now the fifth guideline is you trust the Lord to bring healing and major changes in his time. You don't manipulate it. You don't call them up two days later to check on things. If it's brought up again, they will bring it up. We've had our say. I don't mean that to sound uncaring. I mean it to sound respectful.
They're adults. They remembered, of course. We didn't miss it. Every one of the things we named struck a note in each one of their lives. Instead of remaining offenders, we became at that time a restorer of the breach, a rebuilder of our home.
I would like to believe. So my closing words have to do with when you carry this out if the Lord so leads you to do this, make sure you do it privately. Don't hide anything. Don't hurry the process.
Don't hold anything back. I want to close with a story that is not mine but is a story told by Louis L'Amour, the western writer many of us have read for years. Years ago, he wrote a book titled Frontier. In the book, he describes life on the journey from east to western United States as the covered wagons made their way to the Oregon and California coastline to the west.
He writes this in Frontier. The crossing of the continental divide came in the midst of an open plain after a long, steady climb. But the worst of the travel lay ahead. Grass was scarcer, water holes farther apart, crossing the desert of the Great Basin and then the passes of the Sierras presented a terrible ordeal that called for all the judgment and skill required on the long trek westward.
Now listen very carefully. Whatever was left that could be discarded was thrown out of the covered wagons to lighten the wagons for the oxen, mules, or horses who were now worn down day after day of marching. At Ragtown, as it was called in Nevada, were acres of discarded books, chairs, dressers, dishes, keepsakes, many of which had come from Europe with the first pioneers.
Many a woman looked back at the few precious things brought from home that lay abandoned there. Only one thought remained among the pioneers to get through, to make it to California or to Oregon, whichever was the destination. All were richer for their experience. Many remained to build, to create, to establish themselves in that new land. They had discovered that the ability to adapt was the ability to survive. There's the key statement. The ability to adapt was the ability to survive.
They were made stronger by the knowledge that they could do what had to be done in order to survive. We came to that same conclusion as a couple. We would not protect anything in order to make things right. In the old words of yesteryear, we would pull out all the stops, we would toss out all the things that we could think of that had caused offenses and heartbreak and brokenness among us and between us and the family. We would trust God to use it to ultimately bring us back together, which indeed he did and he is doing.
By the way, doesn't it tie in beautifully with the cross? When we come as sinful people to the cross, we hold nothing back. We come just as we are.
We declare ourselves sinful, distant from God, and we claim that Christ and Christ alone, by faith and faith alone, through grace and grace alone, we come to be rescued from our sins and to be delivered eternally from ourselves that we might spend our future with our Heavenly Father, forgiven, cleansed, because we have laid it all before him. In all candor, I don't know what it's going to take to get each one of you to do what needs to be done, but I was convinced when I prepared this message, this is at least a start and I can assure you God will honor your humility and your effort to make it right. The children may not want to meet with you.
Understand that. On the other hand, they may be willing when they know it's not a time in which you're going to blame any of this on them. You're going to make it right if for the very first time in their adult life they're going to hear you declare, this was wrong.
I want you to know how sad I am that I did that. Please forgive me when you, in your heart, feel you can do so, but I lay it all before you. Trust me, men and women, God honors a broken and contrite heart. He will have nothing to do with pride, but if you will come before him first and then before those you have offended may not be just family members.
There may be others. You may have done your former mate wrong. You get around it now by blaming him or her for their wrongs. You're responsible, remember, for your wrongs. Have you ever made that right?
Have you ever openly thought that's why there's a distance between whoever it may be and you. Either way it's your move. I leave it with you. Please bow your heads with me.
Thank you for listening so carefully. May God give you the same determination when this meeting ends to follow through. May he be honored in what was said. Help us all, our Father, help us all. Each one of us is as imperfect as the other. Our wrongs oppress us, make us sad, but we don't want to stop there.
That's Babylon. We want to move on to a place of a future and a hope. So as you enable that to happen, give us the strength, give us the determination to think clearly to bring ourselves before those we have wounded so that we might forever find forgiveness and hope to go on. Finally, thank you Father for accepting every one of us who has called upon you to be rescued from our sins. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In Jesus name we pray, everyone said, amen. Even in our regrets, God gives us hope for tomorrow. You're listening to Insight for Living and the very last message in Chuck Swindoll's brand new series on the family. It's called Restoring Your Family's Foundation. To learn more about this ministry, be sure to visit us online at insightworld.org. The seven-part study represents decades of study in the Bible. Most notably, Chuck offers a wealth of wisdom that comes from his role as a devoted husband, dad, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Even the painful lessons such as the one that Chuck shared during today's program. Tomorrow here on Insight for Living we'll kick off our next study. It's a study in 1 Peter called Hope Again When Life Hurts and Dreams Fade. We know that many people listening right now are living with deep disappointment. Some are living with regret. Others are living with grief. And that's why we're presenting a study on hope from 1 Peter.
You can find it online or if you'd like to learn what you can do when life hurts and dreams fade, queue up this series next time on your favorite listening platform. Right now I want to share a story from one of your fellow listeners. This young husband from Texas left a note for us that said, Chuck, I'm an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force and in 2020 I lost my wife to a tragic car accident. At the age of 32, she left behind two amazing boys ages 7 and 1. I started listening to you shortly after her ascension into heaven and I found truth, love and hope through each of your messages.
I smile, I cry, I laugh. I want to thank everyone who participates in Insight for Living. Well, even this grieving husband has reason to hope again and it's because of God's promises. Let me pass along his thanks to all of those who financially sustain Insight for Living. In many respects, your generous giving has impacted dads like this one and so many more, so thank you. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or you can give online at Insight.org slash donate. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Take it from Chuck Swindoll. There's nothing quite like the beauty of the great frontier. Wide open skies, pristine glaciers with various shades of blue and turquoise mingled within them towering pine trees and all manner of wildlife. I'll tell you, Alaska is truly a masterpiece of God's creation. I've been to a lot of places and seen a lot of things, but honestly, nothing compares to the beauty in Alaska.
God is awesome. Come with us on the Insight for Living Ministries cruise to Alaska, July 1 through July 8, 2023. When I'm in Alaska, I feel like I'm in an amazing painting created by God. Let yourself get lost in the majestic beauty. Spend quality time with those you love. Allow God to refresh your soul as you reflect on his word and his goodness in your life. To learn more, go to Insight.org slash events or call this number 1-888-447-0444.
The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll talks about finding hope beyond failure. Next time on Insight for Living. The preceding message, getting past yesterday's failures, was copyrighted in 2022 and 2023, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2023 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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