Sitting on the Atlantic shoreline with my friend, our conversation turned to the joys and challenges of godly parenting. She stated, “My goal in parenting is to be the kind of parent to my children that God is to me”. She paused. I don’t know whether the pause was intended to be as long as it was, but it seemed ages before she continued in this thought.
“As my Heavenly Father, God has been with me through the good and hard times. He does not judge me when I make mistakes. He does not force me to do things His way, and He gives me the space I need to figure things out. I have always known He is near when I call and He covers me with unconditional love. But He does not smother me with demands nor try to manipulate or control me. He does not speak words of condemnation or guilt. My sins are forgiven and forgotten. My desire is to mirror that same love, concern, and freedom to my children.” Another long pause followed as I sat in the middle of her statement and allowed it to settle.
Profound. Yet simple.
I found myself speechless in the pondering. I could see the words before I could voice them – and I could imagine the impact of the words if I could somehow manage to live them out. What a life change we would experience if we used God as our example in all of our relationships. Like I said – profound, yet simple. A”no-duh” statement, yet how many actually approach relationships with this perspective?
Try this one: My goal in being a friend is to be the kind of friend to others that God is to me. He listens and never tires of my repeated stories, thoughts or dreams. Wisdom is always on the tip of His tongue. He adventures with me in search of answers, wisdom, and discoveries.
Every relationship in life can be enriched by sitting in this thought. Reflect on God’s attributes and faithfulness and mirror those same characteristics to those we love. Rather than seeking outside counsel to mend broken relationships, why not start with the example set before us – yes, even set within our own heart by our one true example – Christ! Let’s put in a little more effort and be to others a little more of who God is to us!
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25 (ESV)