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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Strength to Strength and Weakness to Weakness

One of my mentors sent me an email this morning that jerked my day sideways.  The adult child of someone we knew had been found to do horrible things.  I will not share any details, for our purposes here they are not important.  What is important is the relationship between the man we knew and his son.
We model both strength and weakness to our kids.  Thoughts at DTTB.
Reading through the article that my mentor sent there was an exchange between the son and one of the son’s colleagues that floored me.  It was in a different domain of knowledge but the words reflected the father’s attitude perfectly.  The father, when I knew him, was a gifted and strong man.  Strong in the sense of effectiveness in the domain in which we were laboring (I am being intentionally vague here).  The father also had, as most gifted people do, you and I included, significant weaknesses.  The strength of his personality overwhelmed any notion that there could be issues about which he should be concerned.  Once he came to a conclusion it was unassailable.  As a result in the domain in which he operated many were negatively impacted by decisions he made.

His son seems to have learned those characteristics from his father with far worse results in his domain.

There are more passages in the Word than I can list here that deal with the impact we have as fathers on our sons and daughters.  They learn from us.  They watch us.  Their character is shaped by what they see us do and how we respond to life’s challenges.  They notice our attitude toward others.  They understand if we are vulnerable, teachable.  From the womb they are paying attention.  They are being shaped by the choices they see us make in all areas of life.

This event forcibly reminded me how desperately important it is that we live Godly before them.  It is not about religious activity.  It is not about going to church, doing Bible study, memorizing scripture, or any other discipline.  While those are all important, they are not the end.  The end is to pursue the true knowledge of Christ.  To get so close to Him that His nature and character increasingly becomes ours.

As dads, for the sake of our sons, we must do as Paul exhort in Philippians 3:13 – 14, relentlessly, passionately pursue intimacy with Christ.  We must do that in a community that speaks to our lives and we must be open to their instruction and correction.  The impact on our children, their lives, and the lives of those with whom they interact are at stake.

I wish that I could say this more eloquently or communicate more effectively the importance of this.  But right now this is the best I can do…


  1. A frightening and challenging post! And its universality is apparent. The Apostle Paul himself consistently lived a humble lifestyle as he preached "repentance toward God and faith toward Christ" (see e.g. Acts 17:21-21). It is easy for me to relegate repentance to the initial act in trusting Him for salvation - and it is essential then! But it's just the start of a lifestyle. How can I live out the reality of Phil.3:13,14 unless I turn from sin and face Christ?! It must be a lifestyle. I believe Paul himself expounded this reality in
    2 Cor.7:8-11, The process can be (usually is in my experience) very painful. But the sweetness of the result!

    Last weekend one or our adult children (the only kind we have, actually) asked to talk with us and shared her heart in an area (comparatively minor compared to what you related here, Mike) that was troubling her in our relationship. We were able to talk it through, seek to understand each other and apologize on our side for the impressions given. What a thrill, a very sweet time. It is a great honor when our children will come with their struggles with us. We were thrilled.

    This is a life-time process, since I'm never past my sin here. That comes a lot later.

    1. Wow what a privilege that your "child" would feel the freedom to come to you. That speaks volumes about the strength of the bridges you have built with them over the years.

      Thank you for sharing.