Thursday, December 02, 2004

What We Can Learn About God From Being Parents: Seeing Our Behavior Through the Father’s Eyes

Children’s attitudes towards their parents can fall various places on a continuum, causing differing responses. Sometimes they are disobedient, triggering concern and annoyance. Other times they are obedient, but otherwise oblivious to them. But sometimes they are loving, showing affection with hugs, kisses, and words. Parents know how much joy that gives.

God, our heavenly Father, likely views and responds to our behavior in similar ways.

At times we are disobedient. We violate God’s general rules or disregard His instructions about particular situations. That must irritate and concern Him, just as our kids’ misconduct bothers us. But He doesn’t stop loving and caring for us, just as we don’t stop loving our kids when they mess up, even intentionally so. He just corrects us and, if we accept it the correction, we’re both happier.

Other times we are obedient but otherwise indifferent to God. We stay within the limits laid out in His word and go about doing what He’s called us to, but don’t give Him much thought. That’s probably less distressing than disobedience, but is probably emotionally neutral for God, just as our kids’ self absorbed, but otherwise appropriate, behavior is for us.

But those times we let God know how much love Him must be very pleasing to Him, just as our children’s outpourings of affection are to us. That’s called worship. It can take various forms: living in continual and grateful communication with Him, doing things specifically to please Him, offering loving words in prayer, heartfelt liturgical and musical praise. That's what we should strive for.

(Other images comparing our relationship with God with our relationship to our children can be found at What We Can Learn About God From Being Parents.
Images about forgiveness were posted on November 27 and December 2, 2004.
Images about the importance of exercising the spiritual disciplines were posted September 17a, 18a, and 18d, and October 3a, and 8, 2004 and January 10d and August 27, 2005.)

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