I’ll Spit On His Grave
By Lloyd Cain
[names and places have been changed to protect the guilty]
“I’ll live long enough to see him dead and I’ll spit on his grave.” Thirty-nine-year-old Brian spoke of the vow he had made while still a small boy. His dad had abandoned the family to take up with a younger woman. Brian felt unloved, unwanted, and bitter.
During the next fourteen years father and son lived only a mile apart in the same town north of Dallas but never visited or spoke to each other. Dad moved to Oklahoma and an additional twenty years drifted by. Both father and son maintained their stubborn silence, stifled their feelings, and anesthetized their hearts.
It all began to change with a phone call. A restrained, apprehensive voice spoke these few simple words, “Dad? This is your son. It’s Brian.”
There was a long pause. “Yes, what do you want?’
“I want to come see you—talk a minute.”
After another long pause, the reply was a hesitant, “All right, come on over.”
The drive to Oklahoma took a little more than an hour. “Dad, I’ve made a big change in my life. I’ve found something different, something special.” Brian didn’t reveal it was Jesus. He had heard his dad was antagonistic toward religion, although dad had once been an active Christian. So, at this first strained meeting, Brian thought it best to simply show his faith. Talking about it could come later.
Brian extended his hand, “I haven’t acted right toward you and I think we need to shake hands and start over.” His father took Brian’s hand, limply at first, then more firmly.
Instantly, a balm of compassion and forgiveness gently brushed across years of emotional abrasions. Healing began. Father and son were freed to rebuild a long-neglected relationship.
Eventually, Brian did share his faith and, to his surprise, it was warmly received. Within three years his father died from cancer. Toward the end, he indicated that his once active faith in Jesus was only a memory. Together, in prayer, they renewed that relationship too.
A few days before his father died, Brian spoke with him briefly. He ended the conversation by saying, “I love you, dad.” There was a brief pause and his father replied, “I love you too son.”
These were words that would never have been uttered if Brian had not met Jesus Christ. They were joy-producing words that could never be spoken until Brian forgave an undeserving father—until he forgave just as he had been forgiven by the Lord.
Brian attended the funeral and the graveside service, but not to spit on his father’s grave. Instead, as he gazed at the simple coffin, he softly repeated the words that were such a long time in coming, “I love you, dad.”