Every father leaves his mark on his child.
That mark can impact generations.
My father became my dear friend before he passed into eternity, but we had a difficult history. He didn’t become a believer until late in life. Before choosing to follow Jesus, he made some choices that were incredibly destructive to our family. Those choices left marks of anger, rejection, and abandonment.
Consequently, I grew up with a distorted picture of fatherhood. However, when I became a believer, that distorted picture was gradually replaced by one that displayed the beauty of biblical fatherhood. Destructive marks were replaced with marks of grace, acceptance, and faithfulness.
Personally, I was side-swiped by the impact of of this topic, so I know it can be painful for some people. However, by exploring it while anchored in Christ’s unconditional love, I experienced a wave of healing.
I had the great privilege of listening to several godly men tell stories about their experience as fathers and sons. In this series, I will share some of their insights, and we will explore:
- 3 marks of fatherhood
- 3 practices for fathers who want to strategically invest in their children
- 3 important lessons fathers teach their children
- 4 ways fathers can love their children
- The Legacy of a Father
If you’re ready, let’s take a look at three marks of godly fatherhood:
THE MARK OF FAITHFULNESS
Children are marked forever by faithful love.
“I knew my father would be faithful,” remarked Scott Gibson, family counselor and father of three. “He was consistent. I counted on him. I didn’t fear that he would turn his love away from me.
“There were moments that I questioned that love, moments that I felt his chastisement—sometimes deserved, sometimes not—but I knew that he would be there. And that he would provide for me.”
THE MARK OF ACCEPTANCE
Children thrive when they know their father’s acceptance is not performance-based.
Frank Ley, father of two, was marked by his father’s acceptance. He explains: “My father never ridiculed me or put me down, so I always felt that I belonged in the family.
“Although in many ways things in our house were tough, I never wanted to run away from home because of my dad. There were things that I wished had been different, but I never wished that I had a different dad.”
THE MARK OF COMMITMENT
Children observe how we relate to the world. They are marked by our integrity.
Scott Pederson was marked by his father’s commitment to ministry. “It was a privilege to have a dad who was unashamed of who or what he was. He was ridiculed by all sorts of people—from family members to strangers—for being so foolish as to give up everything to become a missionary.
“I felt the sting of those comments growing up, and even agreed with some of them. But to see and to be with a man who had conviction and a commitment to what God called him to do….
“There are certainly a number of ways my dad could have been a much better father for me and my four brothers and sisters. Still, I am privileged to be the son of a man who focused on that which really mattered in a way I’ll never forget.”
If you are a father, you, too, will indelibly mark your child.
What kind of mark will you leave?
If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in Celebrating Manhood — a rite of passage guide.