There are many parallels drawn in the Bible regarding the relationship between the Father in heaven and His people, and the relationship between a father and his child. The Bible is clear on many aspects of fatherhood and parenting and there are many traits we could pull from scripture. I’m sure pages and pages could be written on this subject (and I’m just as sure pages and pages have been written), but here I have outlined five that bubbled to the top in my mind.
- Forgiving: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” | Colossians 3:13
Forgiveness is not optional, it is a mandate. When we forgive, we’re living in a way the Christ commanded us to live; as a father it is an example that we must set for our children. Now don’t get me wrong, forgiving someone is not an easy thing to do; I think it’s not in our nature to forgive because we equate the act of forgiveness with how we feel. After all, if you have negative feelings toward someone, you are probably not in a forgiving mood. Keep in mind that forgiveness is not dependent on feelings.
As a father it is our duty to not only forgive our *children* for things they may have done, but also forgive others as well. It may be difficult and you may not feel that the other person deserves your forgiveness, but that’s not a choice for us to make.
- Accountable:”Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” | Ephesians 6:4
Fathers: You are the head of your household; you are accountable for what your family does and how your children are raised. God expects us to raise our children in the “instruction of the Lord”. Now you can’t make your children live and conduct themselves the way they should, but as the father you need to give them every opportunity to live according to the way God intended. Indeed, well-trained children generally grow up to be well-trained adults.
- Available and Accessible: “He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents…” | Malachi 4:6
This is a bonus, two for one. How much time do you spend with your children? Do they feel like they can come to you with their problems? This passage indicates that if you “turn” to your children, they will turn to you; this has amazing implications. Do not be an absent dad, be available. Granted we also need to make a living and we’re probably at work most days, but home time should be family time. Be accessible. When we are at home our family members should feel they can come to us with anything. God our Father is accessible, we should be too.
- An Example: “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned…” | Titus 2:7-8
As fathers we set an example for our children and our family as a whole. How we conduct ourselves, speak and interact with others has a profound impact on our kids as they grow up. I am continually amazed at how much my daughter picks up on her own, everything that I do is a potential learning experience for her. Honesty, integrity and clean language should be top priorities in my (and our) daily lives.
- Provider: “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” | 1 Timothy 5:8
This should be a given. Are you putting your family priorities above your own personal wants and needs? This can be a struggle as I think most of us are selfish to some extent, but providing for your family is at the core of what a father is.
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