By Curtis K. Shelburne
Sunday is Father’s Day, and I’ve found myself thinking of Dad more than usual. That’s saying something because I already think of him every day.
My father was the finest man I’ve ever known, and being his son is undoubtedly the second finest blessing of my life, which has been filled with blessing.
The most noteworthy thing about our best blessings is this: They are undeserved. They are gifts of God’s grace.
Of the many conclusions that can be drawn from this grace-truth, two are obvious.
• What did I do to be born my father’s son? Not a thing. So . . .
• Why should I ever allow myself to be even remotely prideful about being his son? Refer to above.
I have never drawn a breath of this world’s air at a moment when I had to wonder if my father loved me with all of his heart. I wonder what life on this globe would be like if all sons, all daughters, could, with deep gratitude, say the same thing? It would be infinitely better! It would almost be heaven.
If, like so many, you didn’t have that blessing, I’m sorry. Neither you nor I can change that now. But we can do two things that will make a world of wonderful difference, change both the present and the future, and have beautiful and eternal consequences.
First, whatever relationship we fathers have had with our own dads, we can be very sure that our sons and daughters (and grandsons and granddaughters), of whatever age, know we love them deeply.
I know that’s not always as easy as it sounds. The fathers we had are, well, the fathers we had. For good or ill, in ways that are delightful or daunting and depressing, and maybe all of those things at once, we fathers tend to be fathers like our own fathers were fathers. No surprise.
But a second truth can change everything. Refer to the second paragraph of this column. Being the son of the finest man I’ve ever known is, I’m sure, the second finest blessing of my life. But the best blessing of my life is one that you and I share: We are the children of the finest Father of all.
That means each of us has a Father who loves us completely and whose love we can share with our children and their children.
As children of our Father who is love, we are loved. Always.
As children of the best Father of all, we are accepted. Always.
The wounds so many people bear because of deeply flawed fathers find healing through the best Father’s sacrificial love and the wounds his Son willingly bore on a cross so that through faith we could truly be children of our Father.
By the way, once we realize that we’ve already got a perfect Father, it’s probably good to realize that earthly fathers can be far from perfect and still be amazingly fine gifts from the Father of us all. I’ve known some dads who I thought should be horse-whipped. I’ve known more who could use a little slack. It’s cheaper than a tie but better even if it’s harder to give.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org