Part of being a legacy dad means not only talking the talk, but also walking the walk. As both Lance and I have shared in the past and will continue to share into the future, both of our wives read this blog and our children are watching us. That being said, more than just our wives would call us out! Does that mean that we are perfect? Absolutely not! Our wives and close friends know that we are sinners who are saved by grace. What it does mean by being a legacy dad is realizing and committing to the fact that there is a greater authority in our lives other than ourselves. That the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. The beginning of being a legacy dad is putting God in our lives where He should always be: On the throne room of our lives. God should be overall. God is in control of my life, my family, my work, my personal life and I am subject to His will! This doesn't always mean that I get this in the correct order. This also means, if I am being honest, that I sometimes try to put my old self back on top and on my throne room of my heart. God has given me emotions and the ability to think and to have free will. He is Sovereign and He is in control of all things. He knows what I will do. One of the hardest things for men to overcome is forgiveness. On our own, we are incapable of it. To be honest, even when we are walking the walk, forgiveness can be a very difficult thing to do. When someone wrongs us (or we feel wronged) or someone wrongs ones that we love, it is next to near impossible to forgive even when God calls us to forgive.
1 John 1:5-10 English Standard Version (ESV)
Walking in the Light 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 2 English Standard Version (ESV)
Christ Our Advocate 2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
The New Commandment 7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because[a] the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Ephesians 4:32English Standard Version (ESV)
32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
When we subject ourselves to God's truth (The Bible) then we have a really hard time trying to justify the wrongs in our lives:
- A bad marriage
- A difficult work situation
- An event
- Difficult living situation
- Being wronged
No matter how we try to defend our positions, it is impossible to justify the wrongs that we have done against God. We are sinners in need of a Savior. Left on our own devices we have no hope, no salvation and no chance of salvation. But with God's plan, there is a hope. There is His Son. There is salvation and redemption and forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ.
So if God can forgive us...
- We can forgive our spouse - some of us, if we are honest, have let our marriages die. We have stopped pursuing our spouse because we feel hurt, we feel betrayed, we feel broken and disappointed by some things in our past. The marriage that we thought we would have - we don't. The spouse that we thought would meet every expectation - doesn't. The relationship that we thought we would have until we get old - isn't. Because of these shortcomings or acts or events some of us have grown weary, hopeless, and embittered. There is unforgiveness and anger and in some relationships even dangerous anger.
- We can forgive our children - some of us have wayward children or children that did not meet our expectations or what we thought we would see them grow up to be. We have been callous with them and even neglected our parenting and call to disciple them because they continue to disappoint. They have wandered or committed some unforgiveable sins that we can never get over. How could they embarrass us like that? How could they shame their mother and father the way that they have? How can they sin and continue to have unrepentant sin in their lives?
- We can forgive those who persecute us - whether some of us have been a victim or have a situation where we have been wronged or have been persecuted or have even ben maligned in ways that were not justified we feel that we have righteous anger, that is, we think we are justified in being unforgiving toward those persons or situations in our lives that persecute us.
- We can forgive those who have wronged us - some of us have been a victim of drugs and alcohol or of loved ones who have hurt us not only physically, but emotionally and have destroyed our spirit and will to live. As a result, we find our lives in a sense of rebellion and for some even with destructive habits that are reckless and in some cases malign others around us because we feel that if we have been victims then why should the rest of the world get away with this (this lifestyle leaves a wake of destruction and bitterness in its path).
- We can get over ourselves (and for some of us our horrible pasts and let God move in our lives) - some of us try to say that our pasts (and present) is so horrible that we can not forgive ourselves, that we were really bad and that there is nothing or no one that can forgive the sins and atrocities that I have committed.
To all of what was just said above, I have one thing to say to all of us: Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. Do not withhold love when it is in our power to act. Love and forgive as God loves and has forgiven us through His Son Jesus Christ.
How about this, Legacy dads:
- Instead of blaming our circumstances on our wives (our children) our work, our outcomes, we let go and let God have control over it all.
- Instead of withholding love, we love unashamed
- Instead of judging with a measuring stick that puts us in pure hypocrisy, we judge ourselves by the measure we judge others. Quickly realizing that this cannot be, then we let the only One judge others. Instead we can love and live the lives that Jesus calls us to live (Read Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 3).
- Instead of living in the past (past mistakes, past transgressions, past wrongs instead of rights) we turn that over to God. We surrender the pain, the unforgiveness, the un-love in our lives and let God through His Holy Spirit fill that up with His love allowing us to show others God's love and what God is doing through our lives by forgiving others (by letting His will be done).
- Instead of saying that we cannot forgive ourselves of the sin and atrocities that we have committed, we finally come to understand that biblically speaking we cannot forgive our sins because only God can forgive us through His Son.
What is holding you back from receiving God's best design for our lives?
What is holding you back from letting go of all it and giving it to God?
What is holding you back from letting God move in your life and filling the void that you thought others should fill?
What if, just what if, we did all of this and realize that when we completely surrender that under God's will and plans and timing - we will have the abundant life that He promises?
Do you believe this? Can it be true? Do we serve a God who raises once what was dead into life?
Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you!