Words of Hope: Preparing Children for Faith
In this advent season, I love to read the first chapters of the Book of Luke. I am struck by John coming to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah. One of the ways he prepares people for receiving Jesus is to turn the hearts of the Fathers back to their children. It is such an interesting phrase.
It’s curious, because when I look at our society, I might say that the preparation to receive Jesus lies in the responsibility of the children to turn back to their fathers. But that is not what the text says. Scripture requires the fathers to change. It is dads returning to the hearts of their kids.
I looked up the research on the importance of a healthy father/child relationship, and the findings are significant and deeply profound. Children who have absent fathers, whether physically or emotionally, have such a harder road, and many have more difficult self-esteem, and especially faith issues.
The article gave tips for how fathers could heal their relationships with their children and help them do better in life. The most important way for healing to come was for dads to speak with respect and gratitude for the mother of their children. Wow! Once again, the power of words.
I think of what an incredible father I had. I know he would say speaking well of my mom was crucial to an aligned heart with his children. He also would say the importance of admitting wrong and asking for forgiveness was an absolute necessity. He believed in giving power to his child to tell him directly anything he was doing to hurt or harm their relationship. He believed the father, committed to the love and respect of the child, should receive any request for change with gratitude, humility, and the will to follow through.
This prepares the way for the child to deeply trust the father and prepares the reception of the gospel, opening a life of the Spirit. A life full of love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF FATHERS BACK TO their children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. – Luke 1:17