Fatherhood ain’t easy! All you dads out there know what I’m talking about. In a single day – no – in a single hour of playing with my son, I can go from being completely enamored with him to being desperate to put him down for a nap so I can escape. On the harder days, one of us ends up being an emotional, selfish, destructive mess… and the other one is still a toddler. How am I supposed to be a godly example to my son in his terrible twos when I’m not much better in my 30s?!
Want to know how bad I am? Jesus specifically talked about one of my missteps in the Bible. Don’t believe me? Well, it’s story time…
One day, not so long ago, my toddler son and I were shopping for groceries. He had been doing well for the first part of the trip, but he was about to enter the “I’m angry at everything – I want to eat everything – eggs are fun to throw!” toddler stage. Those of you without kids may think I’m joking. I’m not. It’s a real stage!
I realized a toddler-sized storm was approaching, so I quickly snatched up what remaining items I could find on the grocery list, rushed through checkout, and started the Grocery-Toddler-Waddle through the parking lot. In case you don’t know, the Grocery-Toddler-Waddle is a scientific term. It’s when your hands are full of groceries in paper bags about to rip (because plastic has been outlawed – thanks, California!), but you can only go at the speed of a distracted toddler because you have to somehow hold their hand while balancing said ripping bags of groceries.
As we waddled, my son began to scream for the bread that was in one of the bags. He began pulling, clawing, and tearing at the bag. Being a reasonable, level-headed father, I plopped the bags on the ground, picked up a stone, and barked, “Here! Play with this!”
It worked! I was victorious. The rock distracted him long enough to get him to the car, put him in his straight jacket (a.k.a. car seat), and drive home. I marveled at how good a father I was. I hadn’t given in to his tantrum!
Later that night my wife and I sat down to read our Bible. We read THIS scripture – Matthew 7:9-11, “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
Well, that’s awkward. I had just literally given my son a stone when he asked for bread. If even evil fathers give bread instead of stones, what did that make me!?
As fathers, as men, we make mistakes – unfortunately, more often than not. Thankfully, we are not the ultimate example of fatherhood. God is.Click to tweet
Needless to say, I felt very guilty. It’s true, what Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit.”
Well, the Bible sure cut me that day! Now, of course, I wasn’t giving my son a stone to eat instead of giving him bread. I wasn’t failing to provide for his needs. I was distracting him and not giving in to his tantrum. But still, it was a good reminder to me of how my actions, even small ones, can affect my son. As men striving to be good examples to our children (or anyone, really), we should be constantly asking ourselves, “Are my actions godly? Are my actions showing God’s love working through me?”
As fathers, as men, we make mistakes – unfortunately, more often than not. Thankfully, we are not the ultimate example of fatherhood. God is. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
Pray for me, Brother. At the rate I’m going, my son will ask for a pet fish and I’ll get him a pet snake instead. Then I’m sure Matthew 7:10 will pop up in my Bible reading.
Family Radio Staff