The righteous lead blameless lives, blessed are their children after them. ~ Proverbs 20:7
This seems like a pretty tall order to Christian dads out there. With pressure from work, the desire to be home, and obligations at church, it can be easy to get to the end of the day and feel inadequate, far from blameless. How can we live out this verse and be a blessing to our children?
Love the Lord. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy when He says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” When we put God first in our life, all things will flow from that. He has a way of setting our priorities straight.
Love your wife. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” If we truly love our wives this way, our children will see it and emulate it. Our society treats marriage like a disposable commodity. Show your children that you are willing to work to make things right rather than throw them away.
Love your children. Psalm 127:3-4 describes children this way. “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Children are our greatest gift from God, to be treasured and raised to know His love. They know our Heavenly Father’s love through the love they receive from us, their earthly fathers.
Love each other. Jesus assures us that “everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” in John 13:35. It’s not about how much money we give to church or how often we volunteer. It is found in the honest love that we show for one another, when we help each other, and when we comfort one another. The love that Jesus wants us to demonstrate to our children is found when we pray with a friend or have patience with a cranky child.
Be blameless. This was the difficult part of our opening verse. As men, we want to be blameless before our God and our children but are helpless to do so. This is when we teach our children about repentance and forgiveness. When we are willing to admit our mistakes, we show them that we are not a perfect standard for them to hopelessly strive for. They see that we are children of God, just like they are. We are blameless because we are covered with the perfect righteousness of Jesus, and our children will be blessed to learn that they can come to us, or Him, too.
I sometimes find this is easier said than done. Our 7 year-old, Evan, can be quick to point out why it is someone else’s fault or why they made him do it. My first response is frustration and correction. As I grow in fatherhood I have understood the better approach to be one of patience and pointing out some of my own flaws and how I should blame myself for my actions. However, there is great news, Glory be to God! He loves me and forgives me anyway through the salvation of Christ. We have such a forgiving and loving father. We simply must acknowledge our mistakes, not as our duty, but in love to the one who has given us everlasting life.
As a working father, the time spent with the kids is limited which makes this interaction that much more important.