like a dad

I think that sometimes our lives give us insight into the character of God in amazing ways. Yesterday was one of those instances for me. I was dropping my son off for school, which I like to do as often as possible, and on our way into the building I asked him if he forgot anything. At first it was a fun little game until he realized he had actually forgotten his drink at home. I know that for most people this wouldn’t be a huge deal, but there were a lot of other stressful things for my son that morning and so this kind of sent him over the edge. He asked me to go home and get it. My response was complicated. You see, I am trying to help him see that our actions have consequences and that sometimes we have to face up to them. I walked him into class as he choked back emotion in front of his class mates. I really didn’t intend to go home and get his drink, but a few minutes later I found myself pulling into the driveway.

As I was pulling away from his school, 15 minutes later, a verse from the Psalms came to mind, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” – Psalm 103:13. I think a lot about how we are to compare our character to God, but here the Psalmist is comparing God’s character to us. God has compassion on us, much like we have compassion on our own children. That’s a crazy analogy, but one I have definitely come to understand more as I raise my own kids.

But then I think about how we are called to reflect God’s love, not just to our kids, but to our neighbors i.e. everyone. When it came to my son in the above mentioned situation at some level I wanted him to face the consequences of his actions. But ultimately I ended up having compassion on him. I wonder how often we think the same things about others around us. We see the decisions they make, the situations they are in and instead of having compassion, we want them to face the consequences. Is this truly the way of a compassionate God? Is this the way of Jesus who once said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?…then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:10-11 A compassionate God sees us in our desperate situation and seeks to lift us up out of the dirt, dust us off and help us to get better. He doesn’t long for us to get our comeuppance. Shouldn’t we be called to do the same? Shouldn’t we be like that compassionate God who was once described like a dad who has compassion on his children? May we somehow learn to look at others through our heavenly father’s eyes that truly are a bit like an earthly father’s compassionate eyes for his own kids.

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