There have been bad parents ever since sin grew roots in the Garden of Eden. Parents who get more pleasure from a private vice than from pitching balls in the backyard. Parents who beat and belittle and serve up guilt.
There have always been loving parents too. Parents who help with homework and chase away bedtime monsters and sit shotgun with new drivers and pray for their children. Those parents aren’t perfect. They lose patience. They break promises. They hurt feelings. But they love their children. Rather than burdening their children, they step in when situations exceed their children’s physical or emotional limits. That’s compassion.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13). God knows our limitations: we’re sinful; we’re dust. God, who can do anything, does not demand the impossible from us. God, who is powerful, doesn’t beat or belittle us. God, who is perfect, doesn’t serve up guilt. Instead God chooses to love us with compassion. He sent Jesus to be holy in our place. To lift the heavy suitcase of our sin from our feeble arms. To pay the extravagant price of that overweight baggage with his life. To forgive our parenting fails—the times when our words and actions toward our children don’t reflect God’s character. To earn for us the joy of addressing our holy God as “Abba.”
Lord, thank you for the gift of loving, Christian fathers. Make them ever more like you. Amen.