Pride is something I’m trying to step away from because God says that I should. It’s a transition for me, because it’s never been uncommon for me to be proud of my children, my family, my career, my country, my team – among others. Many of us are taught to be proud – it’s so established in my life it’s nearly innate. Pride is a sin because things of this world will parish, all of them – and the only real pride can be found in setting yourself before God, and surrendering.
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.1 John 2:16
As God continues to work in me, He’s guiding me – but it’s only His guidance. He cannot force me to make the right choices, he can only show me what is right, and watch from afar. Like my heavenly Father, I’ve taught my children the best I knew and know – I’ve poured my heart and soul into them, and now I only get watch from afar as they choose as at least one of them move into adulthood. Unlike my Heavenly Father, I’m a highly flawed man. I did the best I could, the lament of every parent. I’ve never been the best and smartest – I’ve made poor decisions, right in front of my children. Sometimes I fear they’ve learned that. However, I think God can use our poor decisions to show children the best way to handle things, and sometimes that gives me comfort.
Recently I heard that one of my lovely children is struggling with something, and among other things, my son is worried that he will let me down. I can think many things here, but mostly I think of the many times I’ve let him down. There have been many, many times – and I feel regret about it. I don’t want him living with the regret that I have of feeling like I’ve let him down. What I really want to tell him that he cannot let me down – it’s an impossible task – he’s a miracle to me.
I remember the moment he was born, too many years ago, and it has been the only thing in my life that quite literally took my breath away. All I could think of is how perfect he was, and how hard I would work to keep this work from God dripping with perfection. And yes, sometimes father’s become disappointed in a child’s decision. Sometimes, perhaps, we offer better advise, or maybe we shout and get angry. What a son will never see is that I’ve only been angry that I’ve been unable to convey the necessary lesson, so they won’t travel down many of the same roads that I’ve chosen.
Growing up is, indeed, hard to do. I love my dad, but he wasn’t around me as much as I wanted growing up, or even as an adult. Instead, God felt it necessary to remove him from the bulk of my life, and I was gifted with the perfect father, the one in heaven. And even with the gift of the perfect father, I came out highly flawed. I don’t fully know why, but I think men are born of courage, bravery and strength – we believe in the pride of ourselves so much that we often fail to take the lesson, even if it’s staring at us in the face. We know better.
Let me testify that as a man, I didn’t know better, and often still don’t. Lucky am I to have lived many years now, and convey what wisdom I’ve known to my own sons. And they are flawed, it’s their nature, it’s how we learn – it might be what allows us to succeed on this planet. A young man can take risks that scares an older man, and sometimes those risks pay off, even if mostly they do not. But a young man can afford risk, he can make mistakes, and it’s perfectly fine – it’s exactly how God created us to be on this earth, imperfect. God realized that man was born into sin, and was born to make mistakes.
The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.Genesis 8:21
However, God offered us a path of redemption, through Christ Jesus. He promises that if we choose to follow him, love him, obey him, honor him – then we are offered an eternal life in heaven. And, if we choose this path in our life on earth, He will walk with us, guide us, comfort us, and love us through all of it.
Son, you will make mistakes, as have I. And I love you, miracle baby boy, gift from God, love of my life. I’ve loved you from the beginning of your time on earth, and will love you until the end of my time. Whatever your choice, your mistake or your glory, I stand beside you. I will advocate for you, fight for you, love on you, and give you all that I have. All I have, all I am, is what I’m willing to give to you. Lord, I pray – please allow me to get out the way of my children, and be gracious toward their mistakes.