This may well be the most poorly worded, least organized blog post I’ve ever written, and that’s OK.. because it will likely be the most heartfelt as well.
Yesterday was Fathers Day, and we celebrated it like I imagine many families do; Bright and early, my three princesses presented me with adorable drawings, beautiful cards, and a couple of very cool (and always practical for Dad) gifts. We then went to church. As the sermon began to honor Fathers, I felt it. It was warm and comforting. As I heard all of the things a Father was supposed to be and supposed to do, I mentally checked each. Let’s just put it out there, I’m a good Dad. Scratch that, I’m a GREAT Dad. (I’ve got handwritten certificates in beautiful marker colors from my kids to make it official). I am, in fact, the World’s Greatest Dad!
Preach it Pastor!
Spend time with your kids? Check!
Teach them to read their bibles by example! Double Check!
Raise them in church? Yep!
It felt good. Like totally killing it at work, and showing up for a performance review to pick up the bonus check. I’m totally nailing Fatherhood.
And then, slowly, I became more and more uncomfortable. Then I didn’t feel so great. Then I felt horrible.
Guilty. I fell into the trap. Law always leads to one of two places in my heart; I either fall to pride when I feel I’m checking the boxes… or I fall to despair when I feel like I’m failing.
Yeah, Marc, you’ve got it.. great Dad. Checking all the boxes. Thank God you’re not like the deadbeat, the selfish Dad, THOSE guys. OK, Marc, trade shirts.. see how this one fits:
And for that, I need to die. You need to die. All the Christian Dads who patted ourselves on the back yesterday for not being like the tax collector (or deadbeat/uninvolved Dad) need to die. Die to self. Die to pride. Die to our perceived righteousness through the law. We’re not getting it right, we just compared ourselves to the deadbeats and think we’re nailing it.
So, for that, I say let me die, and let Him live. Let Him show to the “deadbeat” Dad in the pew who was beaten down by the law that I found such false comfort in…
What do we have for this guy? The guy who knows he dropped the ball? Who failed his kids?
What do I have for that guy? There are bad guys out there, I get that. Broken families, broken promises, broken hearts. But what do we have for that guy? The guy who finds nothing but condemnation in the law?
Matthew 12 tells us that Jesus will not break a bruised reed, and he will not quench a smoldering wick. As a Christian, you are under no condemnation, brother. Those sins you keep beating yourself up for, that people keep beating you down for, for not measuring up, for failing them, those sins have been paid for. You. Are. Not. Guilty! Soak in the gospel.
But be clear on this; if you are NOT a Christian, if you have not repented of your sins against God, and believed in faith that Christ has lived, died, and resurrected to make the promise in the graphic above apply to you , you’re still guilty of all of that stuff. You’re still under God’s wrath for those failures.
For those of you doing your best as Dads, keep striving. Your family is worth it! But know that your striving will always involved failing; when that happens, bask in the grace of the gospel. Remember your justification is through grace and not works, and that every time you shank it as a Dad, it’s been paid for. For those of you who shanked it already, there’s grace. I can’t guarantee that the people you hurt will forgive you, but I can assure you, through scripture, that your repentance has led to His forgiveness. Rest in it.