100) The Impact of a Father’s Failure

From Let Me Tell You a Story, by Tony Campolo, © 2000 , pages 146-147

        This brilliant story was told to me by the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi…

     (Gandhi’s son continued his father’s work toward achieving civil rights for groups that were discriminated against, and the family moved to South Africa to join the battle against apartheid.)

     His grandson Arun Ghandi told me that one day his father asked him to drive him to a meeting in Johannesburg.  “My father asked me to drop off the automobile at the repair garage and then be back at five o’clock to pick him up,” he said.

     The grandson went on to say, “I dropped my father off for his meeting and got the car to the garage by one.  Since it was a long time until five o’clock, I figured I could go to the movies, which I did.  That day there was a double feature being shown, and when I got out I checked my watch and realized that it was past five o’clock!

     “I rushed to the corner where my father had said he would be waiting for me, and when I saw him there, standing in the rain, I tried to think of excuses I could make.  I rushed up to him and said, ‘Father, you must forgive me.  It is taking them longer to repair the automobile than I thought it would take, but if you wait here I will go and get the car.  It should be ready by now.’

     “My father bowed his head and looked downward.  He stood for a long moment and then he said, ‘When you were not here at our meeting time I called the garage to see why you were late.  They told me that the automobile was ready at three o’clock.  Now I have to give some thought as to how I have failed, so as to have a son who would lie to his own father.  I will have to think about this, so I am going to walk home and use the time during my walk to meditate on this question.'”

     Arun Gandhi said, “I followed my elderly father home that rainy, misty night, watching him stagger along the muddy road.  I rode behind him with the headlights of the car flashing ahead of his steps.  And as I watched him stumbling toward home, I beat on the steering wheel and said over and over, ‘I will never lie again!  I will never lie again! I will never lie again!’”


I Corinthians 13:6 — Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Proverbs 12:22 — The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.

Proverbs 30:8a — Keep falsehood and lies far from me… 

Dear God, you have given me spouse, child, house, and land.  I receive these as your gifts, and will care for them for your sake.  I will do what I can to make all go well.  If not all my plans succeed, I will learn to be patient and let whatever cannot be changed take its course.  When things do go well, I will give you the glory and say, ‘O Lord, this is not by my work or effort, but by your gift and providence.’  Be the head of my family.  I will be obedient to you in all humility.   Amen.