Pastor Brian Gilroy,
High Prairie Church of the Nazarene
Biologically, the answer is yes!
In other ways, I need to think about it!
As we approach Father’s Day, it is a wonderful time for each man to ask himself to describe all the ways in which he reflects the impact of his earthly father. You will notice that I said “earthly” and not “heavenly” or “biological” father. This was intentional as some men, for a variety of reasons, have been deprived of growing up with their biological father. Some men have been raised by a single mother, relatives or even in foster care.
I would encourage the female readers of this column to reflect upon the influence of their fathers as well. In your journal, or in whatever expression you choose, how would you describe your father or what are the prominent memories of him.
For both, men and women, some of these memories can be so painful that we will do anything to blot them out of our minds. Some of these fathers were victims of abuse and so passed this trait down as a legacy for their children. Some of these fathers were never there as they needed to work away to support their family or were unable to cope with the responsibility of fatherhood or tragically passed away far too soon.
The legacy of some of our fathers has led to people seeking social change in parenting; some have led to a determination to not repeat the negative habits of their fathers, and for some it has opened the door to escapism through alcohol, drugs, workaholism, unfaithfulness to a spouse. The list can go on.
How much of this resonates with you? Ask others.
As you reflect upon your father, some will have great things to say about the influence of a hardworking father who instilled an amazing work ethic, or a love for the outdoors, or a family first philosophy. A father who was an encourager, a mentor, a friend and was always there to pick up the pieces when life fell apart. A father who may not have been a biological father – maybe a stepfather, male relative or a foster parent – but one whom you look back upon and are thankful for his impact on you.
As we take this time to reflect upon fathers, we need to go beyond the biological and earthly fathers to look at the Spiritual Father or God who created you, loves you unconditionally and who challenges you to reflect Him.
Does the reflection end with the wearing of a cross or other worldly accepted standards such as church attendance? Or is there more?
God is a Holy God! Our good works regardless of how praiseworthy they may seem are not going to impress Him. God is a righteous God! He sees through the outward appearances and looks straight at the motivation of the heart.
God is a forgiving God! He forgives us and therefore we need to forgive others. Often, we aim for places of power to exact revenge on those who have wronged us while at the same time playing the role of a Christian. This is not from God! God is a faithful and loving God! He honours his relationship commitments even when we do not!
Yet, as 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sin, [our intentional rebellious decisions against God and focus on the “me” first – I do not need God philosophy that many in the world live by, if we confess that sin] God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all righteousness.”
God can forgive us and offer us undeserved grace and freedom from the addictions of life including intentional sin because Jesus Christ, His Only Son, died on the cross of calvary to pay the penalty for all our sin.
Yet we, you and I must confess our sins to Him and ask for that forgiveness. We must enter a loving relationship with Him through faith because of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, and then determine with the help of the Holy Spirit to embrace God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
If in our stubbornness and pride, we ignore his offer of grace, all our accomplishments, accolades and “golden rule” living will not atone for our sins.
My Heavenly Father, God Almighty, has demonstrated His ultimate power through the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave and His gift of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, who will help me every step of the way to love God more and more.
This Father’s Day – above all else – I hope people will see my Heavenly Father reflected in me more than my biological or earthly father.
I pray that this will be true for each of you.