As we move into my favorite month of the year, Father’s Day month, I encourage you to look back and look in the mirror. Faithful Fathering’s study, A Dad’s Armor, opens with a look at the heritage you have in relationship with your earthly father – A look back on how involved and engaged he was in your life and what kind of role model he was. Then a look in the mirror to evaluate your own involvement, engagement and leadership in family.
Whether you had a great dad or no dad in your life, the heritage is telling. It is easy to judge earthly fathers through the lens of today and use them as scapegoats for our own fathering shortfalls. My father and your father did the best he could do with the cards he was dealt in life. The reality is that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If there has been a breakdown in relationship with your earthly father or a father-figure, reconcile through the Heavenly Father.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3-4. I was sure there was much more than a ‘speck of sawdust’ in my dad’s eye so I rationalized my judgment of him. Besides, I was too busy being prideful as an overcomer dad having conquered a bad home situation by filling gaps in the relationship with my dad with a college education, some success in the world and provision for my family. By God’s grace, I realized I had passed judgment on a man I had no right to judge. I asked my dad for forgiveness, he granted it and the plank was removed. The Lord opened a door to reconcile, a door that had been shut for fifteen years.
The charge this Father’s Day month is to reach out to your earthly father and/or other father-figures in your life. Thank them for the guidance they worked to provide. It is best if you can do it in person but if that is not possible, a call or letter will work. Then make time to share some stories with your kids about the influence each had on your life, the good and the bad. And tell them the story of how Jesus reconnected what got disconnected in the Garden of Eden, relationship with the Heavenly Father. Through knowing Jesus, we can get to know the Father by reading and studying His book, the Bible. A family journey through Scripture will purge worldly efforts to create relational gaps in family and fill them with the love of the Father. That love opened the door for reconciliation with my dad and healed wounds I did not even know I had.
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for Your word and for being my Father. I confess that I was oblivious to the plank in my eye, the pride in my life for too long. Forgive me. I praise You for opening the door to reconciliation and thank You for opening my eyes to relationship with You through Jesus the Christ. Help me strengthen that relationship with You in Scripture and live it in marriage and family. Equip me with the discipline needed to invest time in prayer and in reading the Bible as a family. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father removes the plank from his own eye to reconcile.