Jacob stepped into Dad’s condo from the garage with a heavy sigh.
“Hey Jake. How was your day? You sound frustrated already.”
“Hi Dad. Yes, it was a busy one. I get so mad at my crew when they don’t do what they’re supposed to do.”
Mr. Keen responded with a chuckle, “Sounds familiar.”
“I guess I am sounding more and more like you, Dad.” Jacob chuckled with him. “Hey, nice tie.”
“Oh, this tie…?” Mr. Keen folded the newspaper he was reading, and placed it on the table next to his chair. “I got this tie for Christmas one year.” He paused, and stroked his beard with one hand and lifted the tie off of his belly with the other hand, as he recalled the moment. “This one I got from my favorite son a few years ago.”
“You have another son? I thought I was your only son.”
They laughed out loud together.
“It’s so good to hear you laugh, Jake. You’ve been so seriously stressed out lately, I was worried and praying for you.”
“Well, it has been a rough year, that’s for sure.” Jacob plopped down on a couch opposite his father. A simple cardboard chess board with plastic pieces sat on the coffee table in from of him. “Hey, do you want to finish out chess game from the other night?”
“Sure. I look forward to beating you again tonight.”
“Not this time, Dad. I learned a few moves at work the last couple of days.”
“Okay, let’s see what you got.”
“I think it was your move.”
“Are you sure? I really don’t remember. That’s what getting old does to you. Something for you to look forward to, son.”
“Oh, joy. Yeah, you were thinking about your next move when mom called, remember?”
Mr. Keen sighed this time. “Ahhh, yes I do remember now. Your mother called my cell and wanted to talk to you, but you still refused to talk to her. I will move my queen… right… there.”
“I don’t want to talk to her. She hurt me so much when I was growing up… I move my bishop there.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard all your excuses, son. You’re over 40 years old now. Don’t you think it’s time to get over it—whatever may have happened way back then?” Mr. Keen moved a pawn two places forward.
Jacob moved his queen. “It still hurts… a lot... Check.”
Mr. Keen moved his king out of harm’s way on the chessboard. “Nice move. But what I don’t understand, Jake is we’re all Christians. You know what the Bible says about your parents, right?”
“About honoring your father and mother? Of course I do. That’s why I try to visit you as much as I can.” This time Jacob moved a pawn.
Mr. Keen took the pawn with his queen. “Check.”
Jacob moved his king this time.
“What about your mother? Will you please call her? And go visit her? She misses you terribly... Check.”
“Dad, when she chose to leave you when I was just a kid, it just hurt too much. I still can’t think about it too long.” Jacob moved his king again.
Mr. Keen advanced a knight this time. “There is a blessing when you honor your father AND mother; but the opposite is true, too.”
“You mean there is a curse from God when I don’t honor my mother? ...Check.”
“Yes. God’s Word is true and He is true to His Word. Check out Deuteronomy 27:16.” Mr. Keen moved his king, and then pulled out his smart phone. “‘Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’”
“Wow… I never thought of it that way... I can see where this game is going—we will end up in a tie... We’ll need to start a new game.”
“Okay… just a minute. It also refers here to: Proverbs 30:11, Proverbs 30:17 and Proverbs 20:20. Have you tried calling her at all?”
“I’ve tried… well, I start to call her then stop myself because of the pain.”
“Do you forgive your mother, Jacob?”
“I say that I forgive her with my mouth… and say it when I am praying.”
“But you’re not so sure if you’ve forgiven her in your heart?”
“That’s it. I try to forgive her completely and I try to call her. It’s so hard, Dad.”
“I know, son… Let’s all start over with a new game tonight.”
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