Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

I have a perfect Father

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness (Hebrews 12:9-10).

These verses indicate that fathers don’t do everything just right, yet they are worthy of our respect.  It should be noted that “after their own pleasure” does not mean “for their own pleasure.”  A normal father does not get pleasure out of administering correction to his children.  The phrase is a quaint old English way of saying “as it seemed right and good to them.”

It is not disrespectful to our fathers to say “I wish he hadn’t done that,” or “I wish he had taken more time to teach me about that.”  It seems to me that if we cannot acknowledge that our fathers sometimes made mistakes, we will simply add our mistakes to his mistakes and do a far worse job of being a father than he did.

My father died 35 years ago.  He was 50 when I was born and I believe that he did the best that he knew how to do to be a good father to me.  But there were often times when he was very difficult to live with.

I remember a time, when I was a little older, that I prayed “Why couldn’t I have had a better father?”  The answer came back clearly, “You do.  You have a perfect Father.”  This is what the verses from Hebrews are telling us: whatever the shortcomings of our fleshly fathers, we have a heavenly Father who knows us through and through and wishes to gently guide us in the way we should go.

I am older now, and painfully aware of my own shortcomings as a father.  Nevertheless I have a daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren who are able to forgive my shortcomings.  I feel loved and respected.  That has more to do with our heavenly Father than with my qualities as a father and grandfather.

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