Once upon a time there were four fathers who were all raising sons and daughters. The first father liked to spoil his children. Nothing was more important to him than their happiness and comfort. His children were encouraged to dream big, to want the best and to be the best. In fact, these things already belonged to them and all they needed to do was claim the promises for themselves and watch them unfold. Because image was of the utmost importance in the household; when things were not going well the kids would sometimes experience a sense of shame but keep their struggles to themselves, the house could be a lonely place sometimes.
The second father was not a hands on kind of a fellow. He was a stubborn man and could not be swayed in his thinking. While his children were still in their mother’s womb he had already decided how he felt about them. Some of them he would accept but most of them he would write off before they had even being born. Being a meticulous man; he planned out every detail of his kids lives. His will would determine what they would wear, which schools they would attend, who they would one day marry and what careers they would pursue. His children had no say in the matter neither could they ever know if they were really accepted or not. If you seemed to be in but the relationship was somehow strained at a later stage it was only proof that you were ‘out’ all along. Everything was a test for the kids but because they never got to see the report cards the only means of measuring themselves was by comparing themselves to one another.
The third father was not really concerned with his children at all. They were like worms to him and he did not delight in them the way that most parents do. He was a hard man and his children feared him. The kids could however remain in his good books as long as they attended the appropriate gatherings, spoke the right way and did what was expected of them.His children soon became hardened to everyone outside of their circle as well, even those that bore the family name.
The fourth father was different than the first three. He loved all his children dearly. While he did all he could to instruct them in living rightly and warn them of the repercussions a lifestyle of bad choices would lead too; he did not seek to control them or manipulate them into doing things his way. He left the welcome mat out for those who chose to leave his house and always kept an eye out longing for their return. His will was simple; he wanted his children to know that they were loved and for them to love him and one another in return. He delighted in watching his children dream, create and achieve things; so long as it kept within his desire that it helped rather than hindered others. Like the third father; he too could be hard and firm with his children but it seemed to emanate from his passion for them rather than his own anger issues.
Maybe you too have met these four fathers before? Maybe you have experienced more than four of them? And maybe some of the children of the first three fathers would point out that I have oversimplified things and they could mention several good things about those fathers which I failed to do. That’s fine. All I am saying here is this; someone once said that God once made man in his image and then we went and returned the favor. Does the Father you know look like Jesus or someone else? It's something to think about.