Archive for Sunday, June 15, 2014

Faith Forum: What are the best biblical lessons about being a good father?

June 15, 2014


The Rev. Dr. Peter A. Luckey, senior pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont St.:

These words of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke say it all, “Be compassionate as our Heavenly Father is compassionate.” (Luke 6:36)

When you become a dad, you put your heart out on your sleeve. You worry about your children and how you are going to pay the bills, and whether you are being too hard or soft. And for all that worry, dads can be underappreciated. Mark Twain said, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he’d learned in seven years.”

We treasure the lessons we learn from our dads. My dad made sure that when I shook someone’s hand, I grasped it firmly and looked them in the eye. Unfortunately, others remember their fathers as being distant or absent. There are as many way of being a dad as there are dads in the world. However, the goal of all dads should be to have a heart for love.

When we are compassionate, we align ourselves with the One (God) who is always compassionate towards us. A new dad in my church discovered this truth for himself. Being a dad meant “not only changing poop-filled diapers but also opening yourself up to the marvelous and amazing love that comes from fatherhood…it is about being open yourself to the power of love.”

When we as dads are challenged it is good to be reminded of Jesus’ words. Our default position should be one of forgiveness, mercy and love. When we open our hearts in this way, we open ourselves to the God who loves us all.

— Send email to Peter Luckey at

Doug Heacock, contemporary worship leader and director of media and communications, Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave.:

I’ve been spending some time lately re-reading the Proverbs, and it occurs to me that many of them are written in the form of instructions from a father to his children. There are so many individual instructions that there isn’t sufficient space here to enumerate them, but the overall impression one gets is that one of the most important things a father can do for his children is to help them acquire wisdom. (Read Proverbs 2, for example.)

Wisdom, according to the Proverbs, begins with appropriate reverence for God (the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom), so raising children to understand the importance of a right relationship with God would seem to be among the first priorities of both fathers and mothers. Wisdom protects a person from making foolish decisions, from making choices that lead to problems down the road. Wisdom can be difficult to acquire on one’s own—the experience and instruction of a loving parent can be enormously helpful. This is why the scripture encourages parents to speak often about God and his ways with their children as they walk together, eat together, and work together. (See Deuteronomy 6:6,7.)

One of the very best things a father can do for his children is to love their mother. In Ephesians 5, the apostle Paul directs husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church (and gave himself up for her). Marriage is intended to be an object lesson about the relationship between Jesus and the people for whom he died, and the great love that motivated his sacrifice. It is both my belief and my experience as both a son and a father that this is true.

— Send email to Doug Heacock at


Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 11 months ago

There is only one that I can think of, and that is what is referred to as the parable of the prodigal son. It is a parable, meaning it is not something that literally happened, but was told as a lesson for us to learn from. It appears in the Bible only once, in Luke Chapter 15, verses 11 - 32:

And he (Jesus) said, "There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me the share of property that falls to me." And he divided his living between them.

Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want.

So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything.

But when he came to himself he said, "How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants."'

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son."

But the father said to his servants, "Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found." And they began to make merry.

"Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant.

And he said to him, "Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound." But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, "Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!"

And he said to him, "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found."

(RSV Translation)

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 11 months ago

According to some, it is It is the third and final part of a cycle on redemption, following the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin.

And, in Western Catholic tradition, this parable is usually read on the fourth Sunday of Lent, while in the Eastern Orthodox Church it is read on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son.

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