My friend just handed me his research paper for his training for prison chaplaincy. His topic focused on the absence of dads in America’s homes. The statistics from several national studies are chilling, indicating that kids without their dads face a formidable future.
So I was privileged. My Dad was there for me. But not always. Dad worked hard to support and to care for us. In time, I passed his work ethic and his quiet, assuring love on to my sons who are, in turn, now passing those same traits on to their children. Dad died seven years ago, but his traits live on in me and, we observe, in his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“Be like me!” Verbal or not, regardless of our character, our children hear that message. We work hard; our children hear, “Be like me!” We’re lazy; our children hear, “Be like me!” We love our wives, we leave our wives; our children hear, “Be like me!” We support or “f-bomb” our politicians; our children hear, “Be like me!”
I have another Father who whispers, “Be like me!” More specifically, he says, “Be holy because I am holy!” Honesty – I’m honest because my Dad was honest. Frugal – I’m frugal because my Dad was frugal. Humor – I’m humorous because my Dad loved to laugh. But “holy?” How can I pull that off?
“Holy” means separating from evil things and evil actions, from dishonesty, laziness, and immorality. Since Jesus claimed to be the only way to God the Father, and since he died for all my imperfections and sins, he now makes me stand before God – legally holy.
Practical holiness is something else. Practically, I am imperfect. I stumble. I fall. I sin. Ultimately, I will become like my heavenly Father. While it’s taking much longer than I wanted, when my heavenly Father says, “Be like me,” he even makes it happen. Slowly. Surely!
Dr. Don L. Pahl, Crosspoint Bible Church