by Kerry Shook and Jordan Alpha
“And He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.” Malachi 4:6 (KJV)
Our heavenly Father is in the business of redemption. God delights in a father’s heart being turned back toward his sons and daughters, and it is His will that this becomes a reality. So, while you may feel alone, the truth is that God has your back, dad. God has your back, husband. Regardless of the quality of your efforts, he sees the heart behind them and will give you the strength and the compassion to be present for that son or daughter or wife you may have neglected over the years. When it comes to living in God’s kingdom, there is always hope. It’s never too late.
But, just because God has your back, that doesn’t mean He’s going to do all the work for you. In the same way you want your son or daughter to learn to handle things on their own, our heavenly Father wants us to grow in grace and wisdom, and the only way to learn is to try it. Begin today by showing kindness and respect. I think one of the main responsibilities a dad has for his children is to make sure they know they should always be treated with respect and what real respect looks like. The best way to recognize if something is genuine or not is to know the real thing inside and out.
Federal agents are trained to recognize counterfeit money. Although intense study is central to their training, what is so interesting is that they never look at counterfeit money. They focus only on the real thing, memorizing every detail of the genuine article, making mental notes of each characteristic that makes it real. The thinking is that when the counterfeit money does show up, it will be easily recognizable. It will be caught not by what it is but by what it is not.
Dads, we need to treat our sons and daughters in such a way that anything other than being treasured, valued and respected will feel strange to them. We should model for them what “real” looks like so when the counterfeit comes along, they’ll spot it and reject it.
Author and speaker Jen Hatmaker says that her dad always encouraged her, affirmed her, and modeled for her how she should be treated. Listen to her words:
My dad thought me and my siblings were the most spectacular children ever born to humans. From the time we took our first breath, we were encouraged within an inch of our lives.
Dads, we should be so encouraging that, when our sons and daughters are discouraged or cut down by a boyfriend or girlfriend, they will recognize something is terribly wrong, and they won’t put up with it. We should treat them with such respect and make them feel so treasured that, when a boy or girl takes them for granted or treats them poorly, they get out of the relationship.
It’s not too late to begin that kind of relationship. Some of you may be thinking, “I’ve lost a lot of days with my kids, days when I was somewhere else doing supposedly important things. Plus, on the days I was around, I messed up more times than I care to remember. Man, I’m afraid I missed my chance.” Don’t worry. Just start now. The truth is, fathering never ends! Oh, it changes as they grow and have different interests. But you’ll always be their dad, and because of that reality, you can begin today. Let God turn your heart toward your children and soon He will turn their hearts toward you. It begins with you.