On a regular basis I tell my children that I am so very blessed to be their dad. I also tell them, on a regular basis, that regardless of how the day may have went, my love never diminishes. Whether they have been obedient or disobedient, respectful or disrespectful, kind or cruel, loving or unloving, my love remains the same. I tell them, if my love has been altered in anyway, it has only grown deeper! Whenever I tell my children these things I always seem to find a bit of disbelief in their eyes, doubting that it is possible that no matter what happens my love never changes or decreases. But then, as the understanding of what I’m saying begins to sink in, I always catch a glimmer of relief and gratitude in their eyes.
While my love is never diminished for my little boys, in the midst of dealing with the things little boys do, I find myself working through my own depravity on a regular basis. When dealing with the defiance, disrespect, and selfishness every child is prone to express, I find it hard to suppress the same thing within my own heart and mind. Depravity is a human condition that every person experiences. Whether we are 9 or 90, every Christ follower will come face to face with the choice of either surrendering to our sinful nature, or submitting to the sweet promptings of the Holy Spirit. When my little boys are disobedient and disrespectful, I find myself teetering between exemplifying a Christ-like attitude in my approach, and surrendering to anger and brute force.
The beauty of a life surrendered to Christ is that I am never alone in those moments. Whenever I am tempted to surrender to anger and brute force, the sweet Spirit of Christ douses the fuel of my depravity with the memory of what my Heavenly Father has done for me through Christ. I am no longer a slave to sin, but instead a slave of Jesus Christ. Led by the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, I am able to respond to the actions of my little boys with a firmness and love that rises above my own depravity. Fueled by the the power of Christ in me, I am able to deny the lies of Satan, and instead submit myself to the admonition of Christ to love my little boys in spite of their actions. In all fairness, I must always remember that God loved me, and sent His only Son to save me, not only in spite of, but because of my actions. Instead of justly unleashing the effects of His righteous wrath on me, my Father in heaven chose to sacrifice His only Son to rescue me from my depravity.
At times I admit, it’s not easy being dad. But in the most trying moments of parenthood I must remember a gracious loving Father who loved me in spite of my unlovable-ness. If, in the most difficult moments of parenting, I give my children even a pittance of what God has given me through His Son, I will have demonstrated to them a tangible sense of what the love of Christ looks on a level they can receive, comprehend, assimilate, and reciprocate.