Religion teaches us about dos and donts, but my dad helps me see that God is not about a performance-based life.
However, he still found a way to get to my siblings and me.
Proverbs 19:18 - "Correct your children while there is still hope; do not let them destroy themselves.”
Then, I didn't really appreciate what my dad was doing, I don't even think he knows too.
However, the older I have gotten, the more grateful I am for the kind of dad I have.
Now, I realise that his approach to things have shaped my entire perspective on who God was and I am extremely thankful for this because it shows me how wrong religion is.
Religion is all about a list of do's and don't's, that call for a performance-based life.
According to religion, if I walked this imaginary line of righteousness, and obey the rules, then God will be happy with me, but if I don't, His wrath falls on me.
Thanks to my dad, I understand that a relationship with God is not meant to be like this.
From my dad, I get that my Heavenly Father takes no delight in punishing me but He will do it if He has to (Hebrews 12:9-11).
Proverbs 3:11 says, “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
A few years, something happened that made me fall a little more in love with my dad and God.
I did something I thought was so bad that I could never be forgiven. In fact, I thought there was no way He could still love me.
My dad shocked me when he didn't turn me away, he didn't even get mad. He saw how terrible I felt and he had no desire to make me feel any worse rather he did his best to make me feel better.
Psalm 86:15 - "But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness."
This significant incident gave me a huge insight into God's heart. It made it easier to believe His words, that no matter what I do, His love remains unwavering.
This same incident also helped me understand how God feels about sin. Jeremiah 8:18 - 22 and Hosea 11 both discuss how God feels when His children sin and turn away from Him.
During that period of my life, I stayed away from my dad. Eventually, I came to my senses like the prodigal son and went back to my father. (Luke 15:17-32)
Thanks to the way my dad handled that, I understood that God doesn't want us to run away from Him when we sin. Why? Because He loves us even in those moments.
Romans 8:38-39 says, "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I know we feel terrible, we feel like we have failed and are unworthy to be called His children but He still wants us to come to Him rather than away from Him.
John 3:16–17 confirms this, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
I know religion might make us feel otherwise but God loves us in our good and bad times.
His love for us is not based on our performance but on the perfect merit of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:8-9 tells us that, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!"
We did not do anything to earn it so there is nothing we can do to lose it.
Over the years, there have been a lot of times when my dad did or said something and I realised, 'Wow, this is must be how God feel about us.'
For all those times and more, I have to say that I am pretty appreciative of my dad because He helps me understand my Heavenly Father a lot better.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 - "May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ."
Happy Father's day dad, thanks for unknowingly teaching me about God is really about.