I lied to my father once. I was about 10 years old, and he asked me if I had brushed my teeth.
“Yes,” I responded quickly. I had not.
He looked at me for a moment before responding, “OK, then it’s time for bed. Goodnight.”
I went up the stairs slowly. My heart was heavy. I knew I lied, and I knew it was wrong. I went to bed, but I could not sleep. I lied there in the dark with my active conscience reprimanding me for lying to my dad. Eventually, I couldn’t take it any longer.
I threw the covers back and scuffled back down the stairs and stood before my dad.
“What are you doing up?” he asked.
I paused with one last moment of hesitation. I was unsure what the consequences would be if I now told the truth. I was afraid he wouldn’t love me as much.
“I lied to you, Dad,” I confessed. “I did not brush my teeth though I said I did.”
“I know,” my dad responded calmly. “I was waiting for you to come tell me yourself.”
I was shocked. My father and I talked about the perils of adopting a lifestyle dependent on even little lies like brushing your teeth. Then he kissed my cheek, told me to brush my teeth and go to bed.
That interaction with my father has shaped the way I view God, my heavenly father. I have never failed to run to him, and over the years, I have found God, my father, to be even more patient and kind when I approach him with my countless sins and missteps, ones he already knows I have made.
Sometimes, it’s easy to think God’s love is measured by my works. Yet, no matter how many times I mess up, my heavenly father always embraces me, assures me of his love and encourages me to do better next time. Because no matter how much our earthly fathers love us, it pales in comparison to the love and compassion God, our father, has for us. His love is unconditional.
Sunday is Father’s Day. For many of us, it’s a time to celebrate the fathers in our lives. But for others, the holiday is far from joyful. Some have lost their fathers to death and others do not have a favorable father figure to look up to.
But if you follow God, then you have a patient and loving father ready to wrap you in his arms and cherish you regardless of the pain you may have suffered or the sins you have committed. If Father’s Day usually brings more pain than happiness, spend time on Sunday focusing on how deeply loved you are by God, the father. Ask him to show his love to you in a tangible way. Then rest in that love and allow it to guide your future days.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” – 1 John 3:1