This week is Father’s Day. On Sunday, my kids and wife will shower me with gifts and hugs. They will tell me they love me and how much they appreciate me. They will tell me what a great dad I am.
But I know the truth.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my family. In many ways, I am a good father. I provide for them. I take them to church. I talk to them about God their Savior. I love them, nurture them and forgive them.
But I don’t always do those things.
Sometimes I take the stress of my ministry out on them. I lash out. I snap at them. I have failed miserably in having daily devotions with my family. I lose patience with them while I am driving. I am at times careless and thoughtless with my wife.
I am a flawed father.
Please understand, this is not false modesty. I am not looking for reassurance nor fishing for compliments. By the world’s standards, I am not a bad father. In fact, many would consider me a very good father.
But God’s standards are much higher than our world’s. Being a father is an enormous responsibility. God holds me responsible for the spiritual welfare of my family. The man my son will become and the way my daughter sees herself as a woman will depend a great deal on the example I give and the words I say.
What I do today as a father – both good and bad – will affect the rest of my children’s lives and even future generations.
That may sound like an over-exaggeration, but that’s because our world for far too long has underestimated the importance and influence of fathers.
The comfort and peace I have as a flawed father is that I have a forgiving Father – a Father who wraps his arms around his prodigal sons and never lets us go. Because of my brother Jesus, my heavenly Father does not hold my failings as a father against me. Because of Jesus, I can begin every day with a clean slate and don’t have to beat myself up for my past mistakes.
My forgiving Father promises to help my children overcome my failures in raising them. The mistakes I have made may affect them the rest of their lives. Just as I have issues today due to my flawed father, I am sure my children will have theirs. Yet, my forgiving Father promises to help and heal and guide them.
This Father’s Day, I encourage all fathers to recognize the huge and awesome responsibility you have been given. God has placed in your care the hearts and souls of your children. What you do today as a father has eternal consequences.
And if, like me, you feel the sting of your failings as a father, remember that you have a forgiving Father who doesn’t hold our failures against us. Find peace in his loving arms, which are always open to wayward sons like us. Trust that he will help you and your children heal and overcome your mistakes.
Know that God uses even flawed fathers like us.