My father has been gone for a number of years now. He had quadruple by-pass surgery back in 1975 and had actually lived years longer than expected. Although we all knew his health was poor, his passing was still a painful shock to myself, my four siblings and of course to his wife, our mother. The thing that most of us as children experience when a parent passes on, whether its a father or a mother, is the sudden realization of the enormous impact that they had in our lives. Their input on us was more than just clean clothes to wear, food to eat and a roof over our heads. It was more than buying our school supplies and making sure we actually went to school. It went beyond making sure we had our baths, brushed our teeth and did our homework. What is imparted to us by our parents runs much deeper, more personal and intimate, more lasting, helpful and useful.
This came to me not long after my father had been laid to rest when I had to go jump-start the battery to someone's vehicle. As I began the process of connecting "black to ground and red to hot", my eyes could not help but tear up as I remembered back to when I first learned how to do this simple task. Back to the time when my father tossed me the keys to the trunk, told me to bring out the jumper cables and then slowly talked me through the task, step by step, explaining the do's and don'ts and the why's. My father had molded a part of my life that will be with me forever.
I am sure that you can understand and can relate to this parent/child molding. Stop and think of the things that you do today as adults that are a direct result of your father or mother. The way you bait your fish hook. How to change a flat tire. How to do your laundry. Proper use of hand tools. How to tie your tie or shine your shoes or balance a checkbook or fold your clothes or any number of other things that you were shown how to do by your parent. Not only did they impart so much into your life, but their life continues to live in you and through you, as you take all those things that they freely, lovingly and wisely gave, and pass them right on along to your very own children. Why do our parents do this for us?? Why do they take the time to show us by example, to teach us personally? Simply because they love us, and that's why you do the same for your own children. It's a wise thing to learn, apply and pass it a long.
Ephesians Chapter 5, Verse 1 says; "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
Here in Ephesians, the Apostle Paul is telling us that we too should be imitators of God. Jesus is God revealed to us, and Jesus showed us by example and taught us in person the ways of God the Father. Jesus said in John 13:15, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." What is it that we are to do then? Live a life of love. We are to get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger. We are to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave and forgives you.
If you find yourself today not living a life of love, if you find yourself holding on to bitterness and resentments, if you find yourself dealing with bouts of rage, anger and unforgiveness, then let me encourage you to put an end to those things, for they are not what your Father has taught you. Living your life in those things is not what Jesus gave himself up for. I encourage you to do as Christ has done, to follow his example, and to live a life of love.
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