In this article, I discuss two verses in scripture that revolve around the issue of the father of the household’s children.

In so many different ways in our culture, the father (dad) gets little respect. For the most part, that lack of honoring, and at times downright hostility, is actually deserved. There are two main components that will be necessary in order to be the kind of Dad that the Lord wants us to be. The first is compassion and the second is willingness to listen.

“Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:13

“Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers,” 1 Timothy 5:1

A compassionate father considers the reality of the situation that he is dealing with in his children. He knows their faults and shortcomings, but he also remembers that they are children. He remembers that they haven’t lived as much life as he has, and he considers his own weaknesses in being alive and a sinner. Though redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, he still sins at different times and in different ways.

Although he is the standard bearer and the ‘buck stops with’ him, he remembers that his children need grace, mercy and kindness, just as he himself would want it in the same type of situation if he were in it.

As an exercise, try to imagine yourself as being in your child’s shoes, but instead of it being the current situation at hand, imagine it as being with your own boss / employer / client. How would you want them to respond toward you if you had completed the same type of action that your child (just) did? How would you want them to handle it? What would you want them to say and do?

Next, the father is a listener. More than merely the sounds of the words bouncing off of your ears, being a listener is an active process, with the goal of seeking to understand the thing that is being brought up… not necessarily to defend oneself from the accusation, but simply to understand.

We should be able to understand the things that have created the situation as it is. Additionally, we should try to take the time to understand the emotional response of those who are in it. We should take into consideration the various interpersonal relational dynamics involved in the situation. We then should remember that we are also human and sinners.

While peace is important and generally it isn’t worth losing a relationship about a certain issue, whatever it is, it is also important to keep a firm grasp on the truth of the situation, regardless of what it is. If the failure is perceptual, apologizing may not be a bad way to deal with it. Sometimes, simply acknowledging your human propensity to sin may go a long way in setting things right-side up again.

Regardless, you need to indicate to the person bringing the concern up that you understand the dynamics, as well as the ramifications of your actions. You should try to minimize the effects if at all possible and even return things to the state they were before.

So much of what we do in this life revolves around the issue of cleaning up messes- those of our own and those of others. We want to be sure to do a good job, and thereby leave a lasting legacy of trust and faithfulness to the future generations, and especially to those of our own household.

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