Posted by: matt25 | June 16, 2013

Father’s Day

the-prodigal-son-renee-kahn

Today is fathers day. And I am blessed to have grown up with a wonderful father. I can trace anything that is good about myself back to his teaching and example.  But I know all too well because of my long experience in prison ministry that not all of us have had the advantage of having a good father in life. Sometimes fathers provide bad examples or are not present in a child’s life at all. This may be because of their choices or because their lives are tragically ended all too soon.

When this is the case, it becomes very difficult for a person to hear about God the Father and have any inherent understanding of what that should mean.  The Scriptures do give us an example in the beautiful story of the prodigal son which we perhaps should rename as the story of the forgiving father for today.  In it we see a father who is generous to a fault, never gives up on his child, forgives everything, and works for reconciliation between his children as well.  All of this because of unconditional love.

This is a model that I can only hold up as my ideal to strive for.  The perfection I will never reach.  It is a model that all men can take as their ideal, regardless of how far short of the mark our experience with an earthly father may have been.  Not only is this a pretty good place to start in thinking about God as my father, it is also a pretty good place to think about myself as a father, a son, a brother, or in any other relationship I may have to others.

In fact this story has been pivotal in many a man’s journey to a truer and deeper connection with who they are called to be.  This is because it addresses our fear of rejection and our fear that we have been “too bad” to ever return to right relationship with the others in our life.  But in Luke 15:20 it says, “ while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”  This speaks volumes to me.  All I have to do is turn away from my decisions to reject God and start to return to him in humility with a spirit of repentance and he rushes to fill my heart and soul with healing, forgiveness, and every grace that I need to take the next step, and then the next, and then the next.

So happy Father’s Day!  To my Dad here on earth and to my Abba in heaven.  I hope that looking upon the man that I am still becoming, will always bring joy to your heart.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.

Ephesians 3:14-17

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