If it is our goal to become more like the heavenly Father, and less like our earthly fathers, then we need to consider the importance of "tailor-made repentance." Obviously, we have inherited some "tendencies" from our fathers. Some of these are good qualities that reflect the heavenly Father. For these characteristics we need be grateful and remember to honor our dads for what we have received from them.
But we also have learned some attitudes and behaviors from our fathers that distort the heavenly Father's character to our children. It is our challenge to learn what specifically the heavenly Father would have us turn away from that has been handed down our family lines.
Repentance is not "one size fits all." Each of us have specific areas we need to focus on and give to the heavenly Father for transformation. Our repentance or "change of mind," needs to be "tailor-made" so it fits us. "One size fits all" repentance really doesn't work.
For example, as I reflect on the importance of parental teamwork with my wife, I realize that my dad delegated much of the day-to-day parenting to my mom. And although it was a good thing in that he wasn't micromanaging her, he was less than enthusiastic when it came to him getting involved in family conflicts or difficulties. Even as a young child, I could tell that, with all the work challenges he was dealing with, he would rather be anywhere else on the planet but right there at home dealing with our problems.
So guess what I tend to be like? That's right, just like my dad. Even with all that I have learned about the importance to my family of being an involved father, my "default switch" automatically goes to reluctant involvement in dealing with family issues.
Repentance for me is to be proactive with my wife and ask her about problems with the kids as they come up and offer to help. My job is to initiate talks about the kids as often as possible. It is for me to embrace involvement in the often not so pleasant challenges of raising two teenagers. In these ways I am showing the heavenly Father's character to my wife and children while at the same time coming to know the heavenly Father more intimately myself.
This may not be your area of repentance but I hope you see how this works. For me, this idea was one of the most important things I wanted to communicate through the "Like Father, Like Son" book and discussion guide.
I urge you to remember that the heavenly Father doesn't wave a magic wand over us. He respects us too much as His sons to do that. He reveals to us by His Spirit and the Scriptures area by area where we need to change and then He encourages and empowers us to make changes in dependence upon Him.
Where have you needed "tailor made repentance" as a dad lately?
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