Fathers and Sons

My devotion for this Thursday hits close to home in a ways that make my heart ache; it comes from Our Daily Bread and is called “Fathers and Sons.” My father is a well-known figure in the community; he taught at the Christian high school for 43 years and in year books was often identified as a student’s favorite teacher. He was - and is - a good man, a hard worker who instilled the values of honesty, integrity, and perseverance in his three sons. I will always be grateful for the role he played in shaping and molding the man I’ve become today.

On a personal level my relationship with my father was very, very difficult. As a boy and young man I felt the crushing weight of expectations I felt I could never live up to, and believed I was a failure who would never measure up, never succeed, and was unworthy of being loved. This is not to cover up how difficult it must have been to try to be my father - I was often extremely irresponsible, unmotivated, dishonest and manipulative (is it a surprise I see many of these same traits in my own daughter?). That being said the fact remains that there was a major disconnect in how my father and I related to each other, one that still stings to this day.

Having talked to many, many people about their own relationships with their fathers, I’m sure some of you are reading this right now and nodding your heads - or maybe even shedding a few tears. As a father now myself I think one of the areas the enemy specifically targets is the relationship of fathers with their children - as dads we have such power to bless or curse our children, whether we recognize this or not. I’ve seen already how my words can crush the spirits of my kids, which is not discipline, but rather destruction.

The good news? As I was told once, “As long as they’re breathing, there’s still hope.” And that’s what our devotional says today - In God’s power and love, draw closer to others while there’s time. For those of us who are either parents now, or who have fathers who are still alive, the opportunity exists to work on our relationships. Maybe this cuts to the bone because your father is no longer alive - if that’s the case, we have this message:

For believers in Jesus, death is not the end of affection but the beginning of timeless existence in which there will be no more misunderstandings; relationships will be healed and love will grow forever. There, the hearts of sons will turn to their fathers and the hearts of fathers to their sons (Malachi 4:6).

Draw close. Love while we have time to love, and never lose hope.