A Loving Father
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works (Psalm 145:8-9). The Father used this verse to set me free from my fear of His presence, and to create in me an openness with Him. From my early childhood I had the idea that God was harsh, uncaring, demanding, angry, and somehow just simply unhappy with me. It’s as if He put up with me because He had to, not because He wanted to.
God is often mirrored to us through our parents. Our perceptions of what the Father is like are compared in our mind with what we’ve experienced with our parents. If you’re raised in an environment of conditional love, then you may be challenged in receiving the unconditional love that the Father has for you. Parents mean well, but if the only time you received love as a child is when you met certain conditions, then you become a performance oriented person. And when you fail, you will feel unworthy of love and will shun intimacy. And that attitude will spill over into your relationship with the Father.
As parents, it is so important that we show love to our children when they fail. If we are harsh and angry when they fail, and don’t affirm our love to them, then we’re unconsciously creating in them a belief that they are only loved when they perform well. In the above verse, gracious means disposed to show favors. It is speaking of an unconditional love that the Father has for His own. He loves us. He cares for us. He is slow to become angry at us. He acts in mercy towards us. Mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve. Most people think that God is so harsh and demanding, but when you get to know Him, you’ll see that He is the most loving being you’ll ever know. He loves you so much that He’s made provision to cleanse you from sin and to make you so righteous that you can stand in His presence as though you’ve never done wrong!
When you know this, you’ll run to the Father when you mess up and not away from Him. Proverbs says that a righteous man falls seven times and rises up again. That’s possible because of the unconditional love of the Father!
Meditate on Psalm 145: 8-9. This verse opened the Father’s presence to me in a fresh way. It began a journey of intimacy (in-to-me-see) with the Father in my life. It enabled me to curb perfectionistic tendencies that would have crushed my children with my harsh, strict, rigid demands. Yes, I have strong standards, but they’ve been backed by consistent unconditional love for my kids. Strictness without unconditional love will push your children away from intimacy, and will set them up for a life long battle with personal acceptance with the Father. There is no love like the love of the Father. You can pour out your heart to Him with abandonment. He cares about every cell of your being. He’s waiting on you now with open arms. You can trust Him to help you with every issue of life. When you sin, there is forgiveness and mercy as you confess it. He willingly pardons. He wants your heart life. He longs for you to know Him.