When I pray for my kids, I pray not only for God to save them from their sins, but for God to save them from my own. As their father, my influence carries more weight in their lives than anyone else’s—that is, perhaps, besides mom’s, of course. Nevertheless, as their father, how I interact with my kids will shape how they perceive and respond to the Fatherhood of God.
When I think about that, I always find myself with a shortness of breath and an increased heart-rate. I am not aware of all the ways I fail to reflect the Fatherhood of God, but I am aware of a lot them. At times, such awareness threatens to sabotage any future attempts to be a better father. The temptation is to throw my hands in the air and say, “There’s no coming back from that blow up!” Yet, in those desperate moments, the Spirit of sonship dwelling within me cries out, “Abba, Father!” (Gal. 4:6). He reminds me that God fathers me even as I father my children. Our heavenly Father is the God of redeeming grace who works all things together for the good His children (Rm. 8:28). Even in my shameful shortcomings as a father, God still reveals Himself as the best Father to us all.
I often apologize to my kids and ask for their forgiveness. I do so not only for the sake of our relationship, but because I want them to know that I do not think of myself as beyond the need of mercy and grace. Essentially, I want to confirm what they already know to be true—I am not a perfect father. Before doing so, I let them know that I have already confessed my sin and asked my heavenly Father to forgive me. Although I am their dad, I am also a child of God. Like them, I also need to be fathered. Perhaps the best way I can point to the Fatherhood of God is by disclosing my incessant need for the Fatherhood of God.