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By KEITH ANDERSON
I was an unmarried single young man the first time I heard the phrase, “It's easy to become a dad; it's more difficult to be a father.”
Twenty-some years later I know something about being a father as my two girls are in high school and college. It's been a blessing to watch them grow up into their own persons. And yes, it's been a journey of work, play and lots of grace.
Wouldn't it be great if the Bible had a chapter or two, or even an entire 'book' on how to be a good father, or mother, or family? In truth, there are few topics confined to just one chapter — which makes it necessary for us to search the entire Bible for glimpses of help on parenting, or other topics.
So what does the Bible say about fathers, parents and families? Let me suggest this brief introduction.
In the beginning, God created ... first Adam, then Eve, for it wasn't good that the man should be alone. (Genesis 1)
Reflecting the image of God, we see that people are made to be in relationship with one another, and with God, as He would often walk in the garden with Adam and Eve in the middle of the afternoon. Fast forward to Abraham, a righteous man with whom God made a covenant such that Abraham's name would be a blessing for centuries to come. (Genesis 17)
Anyone who's read the Bible knows that most of the families in the Bible are pretty 'earthy' and less than exemplary. Yet God called them and did his work through them all the same. And what was God's work? First, to establish a relationship between God and people, and second, to reveal to all people a better way to live as a family that lives in community with others.
In a word, it's all about love, which was the essence of Jesus' purpose in human form. When asked what the most important commandment was (which a Hebrew speaker would hear as teaching/instruction), Jesus captured it beautifully, “Love God with all your heart, soul and mind,” and “love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).”
So fathers (and mothers), pay attention to the relationships in your family, for they are the starting point of building trust and expressing love in the best of ways. You don't have to be super dad or have all the answers, just be there. And know that the ancient words of scripture reveal clues to help you through even the toughest of situations.
The Rev. Keith Anderson is pastor of First Lutheran Church
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.