Fathers are a picture of God to their children. That’s what Dr. Scott Keith said to me when I interviewed him last week on the STR broadcast. I don’t know about you, but that makes me nervous. Children will develop their view of God in part by their view of Dad. Being a father myself, this is a critical reminder for me.
Dr. Keith’s book helped me recognize the importance of emphasizing grace and Gospel over and above law and being authoritarian in my parenting. It also explains how good fathers are an apologetic for a good God. The following paragraph from his book highlights this key point.
Yet the father is by design the point of powerful grace in the house; his absence means that the apologetic picture in the modern house is bleak. Children are created to look to the dad in the house as a picture of God. God is powerful. God is authoritative. God is credible and worthy of trust. God is gracious. God is kind. God forgives. These, too, are the qualities that we apply to a masculine man. The picture is complete. If the father is dismissed as passive and impotent and he is not to be admired, then maybe God is nothing to write home about either. But the reverse is also true: if dad is a foggy picture of God and is good, strong, and gracious, then maybe God is good, strong, gracious, and maybe He cares about me, too. Strong men create strong and gracious fathers who, in turn, serve as an apologetic for a strong and gracious God who loves and saves freely.
There are no neutral fathers. No matter what, we leave an impression about God to our kids. Check out my interview with Dr. Scott Keith, or get his book to learn more. If you’re a father (or planning to be one), this is important stuff.