"Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them...for they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them..." (Hebrews 12:9-10). This verse hits me as a dad. I feel like I am pretty good at disciplining my girls in love, but not in perfection. You see, today I made a mistake and lived out the part of this verse that says, "...as seemed best to them." I am reminded of the poster found on Despair.com's website that says, "Failure. When your best just isn't good enough."
Let me explain. So there I was enjoying my Saturday afternoon--studying for a wedding and Sunday's message when I saw something. I saw my five year old daughter intervening with her younger sister. I missed the first part and only saw my five year old with scissors in hand wrapping her arm around her younger sister's neck. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I immediately jumped in to stop this dangerous action with a firm voice. I immediately sent the five year old to her red chair to await some discipline. She quickly ran off in tears.
After a few minutes of thinking through what I was going to say to her, I went into her room to talk with her about what she did wrong. I started to lecture her about the dangers of what she had done. In trying to see if she understood what I was saying, I asked to to explain to me why she was in trouble. Through her response, I discovered that I, in fact, had translated the events incorrectly as the older child took the scissors away from the younger. I discovered that I was wrong in my actions and my five year old was confused about what she had done wrong. My heart ached.
Wow, I felt horrible. What to do? My initial desire within me was to shrug it off and not take responsibility for my mistake. Following Christ has made me more sensitive to the Holy Spirit's conviction of my wrongs or mistakes. Paul, in Ephesians 6:4, tells fathers not provoke their children to anger. In light of this, I knew what I must do.
I decided the right thing to do was to explain to her that I was wrong, that I was sorry, and to ask forgiveness. She started to cry again. I reassured her that I was wrong and had made a mistake. Through her tears she told me that she loved me and forgave me. Ultimately, we gave each other a big hug and prayed together asking God to help us be the people He wants us to be.
I am so thankful that the Lord has helped me to be a gracious dad that knows how to say, "I am wrong, I am sorry. Will you forgive me?" I want to encourage parents here. You don't have to be perfect. But, when you fail, and you will, you must be able to admit it to your child. Seek God's forgiveness and help. In turn apologize and ask for forgiveness. I can't express to you how much joy it brought to my heart to hear my little five year old forgive me and to pray with me.
Thank you Lord for being so gracious to me.