“Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps not record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, NIV
As I was perusing Bible verses to use for this column, this one leapt out at me as the most perfect verse to use on this Father’s Day. For what better description of a father is found in this verse?
“Love is patient” – a father is patient with a toddler’s tantrums, a teenager’s rebellion, and a young adult’s search for the “meaning of life.” Throughout it all, the father patiently waits as the seed he planted slowly takes fruition and blossoms into faith.
“Love is kind” – a father’s kindness speaks volumes to children as they watch how he treats others, especially his wife and his own children. Kids are like sponges – they absorb everything around them – and they will absorb the kindness just as easily as they would absorb criticism.
“It does not envy” – the father works hard to provide for his children – spiritually, emotionally, financially. He doesn’t covet other people’s treasures; rather, he delights in what is given to him by God and by the work of his own two hands.
“It does not boast” – the father doesn’t boast about his accomplishments or his children’s accomplishments. Rather, he is humble about the God-give talents which are given to him and his family. He recognizes he cannot do this on his own; he must rely on God for everything.
“It is not proud” – pride is a sin. It puts a man in the position of thinking that he is somehow “better” than others. Imagine how that message would be interpreted by his children. Rather than being seen as equals in the eyes of the Lord and in the eyes of others, a man is teaching his children that they are to receive special treatment by others and by God if pride gets in the way.
“It is not rude” – if a man wants respect from his children, he must first treat them with respect. If his tone of voice is rude, he will receive that in return.
“It is not self-seeking” – a selfish man makes a poor father because a father must put his needs/wants ahead of his children. A father seeks what is best for his child, not what is best for himself.
“It is not easily angered” – this is difficult when dealing with temperamental children who can be exasperating! But a father recognizes that anger can be a destructive force against relationships, and will choose his words wisely and calmly, and deliver his message gently.
“It keeps no record of wrongs” – a father forgives, and forgives, and forgives again. He doesn’t keep a list of all the things a child has done which are wrong, or else resentment and bitterness will grow.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” – a father is willing to point out to his child the error of his or her ways. Even if it means risking losing a relationship with the child, the father must be willing to stand up for God’s teachings. If a father is silent or is afraid to correct his child’s actions, then he is condoning that behavior. He must be truthful to the Scripture, and he rejoices when his children follow the Truth, and is saddened should they reject the Truth and follow evil’s path.
“It always protects” – a father will defend his family from all forms of attacks – including spiritual. His job is to make sure his children are protected by evil and harm, whether it be through the shields of prayer or example or actions.
“Always trusts” – a father shows his love by showing how to trust in the Lord. That way his children can know that not only is their earthly father trustworthy, but their heavenly one is as well. Trust is the cornerstone of all relationships – where one’s needs are always met, no matter what the circumstance.
“Always hopes” – even in the darkest of circumstances, a father can never lose hope and give into despair. For when that happens, it shows that he is not trusting God to provide and comfort and strengthen him. The message of hope is a strong one to convey to his children – knowing that God will always be with them, no matter what.
“Always perseveres” – a father never, ever gives up on his children. Even when they stray from the flock, he will wait for their return, like the prodigal son.
“Love never fails” – a father’s love will succeed in giving his children a firm foundation on which to grow into Christian men and women. His love will live on and be his legacy for generations to come. Love can conquer ALL.
I think of my husband and his relationship with our daughters, and I see how his love fulfills this scripture. He has been a wonderful father to his children. He has embraced them as his very own, and feels so blessed to be their father.
And they are blessed to have him as their dad.
I love you, Cameron. And thank you for being such a special dad to our two girls.
©2009, Valerie Wolff