Father: The God who loves, teaches, and disciplines

Kile’s Blog – Father: The God Who Adopts, Loves, and Disciplines

I was supposed to be inside worshipping, but instead I was outside texting. I could hear the music through the double doors so I knew I still had some time before the message started, but still, I had promised myself I wouldn’t miss this service. I should have gone inside and let the issue on the other end of the phone sort itself out, but at this point I was committed. Then I was interrupted by the small voice and meak appearance of woman who had just come from service before.

She asked if I had a minute to talk about the message, which was a little funny as I hadn’t heard it yet. As a pastor I usually don’t do 1 on 1’s with women, but since the outside area was full of people and out in the open, we picked a picnic table to sit at and she started talking. Her issue was this: she had a difficult time with the Pastor talking about God as a Father in his message. Her own parents, she explained, physically and emotionally traumatized her – even to this day. She didn’t think or interact with her dad unless she absolutely had to, and even then it brought pain. Thinking of God as a Father associated so many negative emotions and memories with God that she was finding it difficult to accept this teaching. The years of trauma had did their damage.

Honestly she was beyond my expertise as I’m not a psychologist, a psychiatrist or even a decent counselor. There are some things I can help with, but this wasn’t one of them. Since we were sitting there though, I didn’t want to leave her empty handed and frustrated so I did my best to give her some of the positive imagery that the Bible shares with us about God as a Father.

There are more than this, but here’s what I shared with her:

  1. The Father Who Adopts. – Ephesians 1:5 and Romans 8:17 talk about God’s adoption of us, and what it means. This is one of the most powerful images in scripture. Why? Because we are grafted into God’s family, and in God’s family you get an inheritance. It’s not like in modern times where you only inherit something if someone dies and leaves it to you. God gives it to us right away. God says ‘Come on in! Don’t worry about where you’re from, what you’ve done, or what you deserve. Now that you’re a part of my family I can give you the things I’ve been saving up for you!’
  2. The Father Who Loves. – If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of John 3:16 – that God loves the world. He loves it so much that He sent His only Son into it, to show us How much He loves us. Likewise in 1 John 3:1 we hear “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!” It’s the kind of love an adoring Father has for his children. We may spit in His face at times, throw fits, demand things from Him or even run away from home; but you can be sure that He’ll be sitting by the side of the road, eagerly awaiting on our return with open arms. Not convinced? Read the Return of the Prodigal son in Luke 15:11–32 and tell me that’s not more about a loving father than a rebellious son whose come to his senses.
  3. The Father Who Disciplines. Have you ever been out in public next to that kid who’s yelling and screaming? You know the one. The bundle of joy who’s taken up a giddy fascination in kicking the back of your chair or who gleefully ignores their parent’s instructions. You don’t blame the kid. You blame the parents of course. The parents are the ones responsible for discipline. In a similar manner, God has the reponsibility of lovinging disciplining us in the ways we need so we don’t become that terrible toddler. Hebrews 12:4–11 tells us a little about how and why God disciplines us: because God loves us as His children and He wants us to be holy and righteous. So He disciplines us. It may not be fun while it’s happening, but discipline trains us to be a lot more like God, and a little less embarrassing in public.