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Strict Dad/Loving Dad

Strict Dad/Loving Dad

He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18,19

God gave us the child/parent relationship, in part, to teach us about our relationship with him. As a child, I carried some resentment about not being in control. As a parent, I came to understand that parents create boundaries for a reason. As God’s child, I’ve retained some of that resentment unfortunately, and even though I’m chronologically an adult, I still struggle with doing whatever I want.

This has brought grief and pain to my parents, and my heavenly father, all of whom truly want what’s best for me. From my childlike perspective, I find discipline unfair. As a parent now though, I’ve begun to understand God’s discipline.

Much of the book of Micah is spent revealing God’s strictness towards his wayward children, who had abandoned God, leading to Micah’s warning of the approaching consequences. In the close of his book though, Micah revealed the why of God’s boundaries.

God loves his children and desires to live in a loving relationship with them. For that to work though, the children must live within the boundaries of the father. When his children wander, God uses discipline to bring them back. He may have rules, but those rules exist to keep us in the loving relationship for which we were created.

Just as I may discipline my own children when they make bad choices, God does so with us. I will always love my children. When they struggle, I don’t love them any less and they don’t lose their status as my children. Our interaction though, will be very different based on their behavior. In their self-destructive behavior, they will meet strict Dad. When they choose to live within boundaries, they encounter loving dad. We all prefer loving dad.

God also longs to show us his loving face. Micah insists that he prefers this. In our destructive behavior though, we encounter his stern face. Like my kids, we don’t earn or lose our relationship with our behavior, but our intimacy with God depends significantly on whether we’re following our way or his.

 

 

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