“My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things. Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.” – Proverbs 23:15-18
Father’s Day is only a few days away and many of us will want to honour our dad in memory or in person. Like me, many of us had a complicated or at times strained relationship with our dad. Although in my early years I was not very fond of my father, I am grateful that we have since developed a good and loving relationship.
Sadly, our society is beginning to feel the dreadful consequences of so many dads who have had little to no relationship with their children. One of my biggest prayers for Canada is a return to God’s design for the home and family which would solve so many of the devastating trends in our current society. This requires engaged, loving and nurturing fathers.
The Bible gives basically one explicit command to fathers in regards to their children, “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4.
The complicated relationship between a father and his child is often because the father desperately wants his child to succeed in life and the child desperately wants the approval of their father. This causes the dad to push and lecture and scold and hold long boring seminars on things the child is not the least interested in at the time, and it causes the child to often feel they can never please their father. When the child only sees disapproval on the face of his father, he eventually gives up and rebels. It takes a lot of wisdom to propel the child forward without provoking them to wrath and rebellion.
What is success in life? It is not making more money and having nicer things than your parents. What every dad and mom want for their child is what the verses above indicate, “My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice.” Wisdom implies living a good, honest and decent life. “Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD.”
If my children show the wisdom of not following after the wicked, sinful and vain practices of those who waste and ruin their lives with vice and instead live in the fear of the Lord; if they trust Christ and are good God-fearing, loving, kind and honest people, I will feel abundantly blessed as a father.
I suspect your dad would feel the same. The best gift you can give you dad is be a wise and good person.
Tom Kline is the pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church.