Yom Kippur was this past weekend.
I think about it each fall, not because I celebrate the Jewish Day of Atonement.
But I do remember the day with fondness.
Years ago when I was serving as bishop, I had been meeting with a couple over a series of visits. In our last session together, the brother observed that it was Yom Kippur. He was grateful that the Day of Atonement reminded him to enjoy the blessings of the atonement in his life.
As I drove home from that interview, I thought about my son. At the time, I was unhappy with him and his choices. Two years earlier (almost to the day, as it turned out), I had written a self-righteous letter encouraging him to take advantage of the atonement in his life.
On this particular night, I got home and found that letter, reread it, and then wrote a new one. In the new letter I apologized for the first. And I acknowledged that it was I who needed to seek the blessings of the atonement.
Yes, I was his father. Yes, I wanted what was best for him. But brow-beating him into submission was the wrong way for me to invite him to come unto Christ. And, looking back on key events in our shared lives, I realized that I’d done more than my share of brow-beating, albeit subtly at times.
That was years ago. I’m pleased to report that my son is a forgiving man, and that we enjoy a wonderful relationship. I have my son and the atonement to thank for that, because through the atonement I am able to change. And I’m grateful for Yom Kippur to remind me.