All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace. – Isaiah 54:13

Family Influence

Our ideas about God are first shaped—and very powerfully so—by our families. So it’s little wonder that as relationships within the family have declined, so has the understanding of what it means to have and maintain a relationship with God.

As divorced and overworked parents spend less time with their kids, the concept of a personal God and Savior becomes less clear and less meaningful. An absent father sets the framework for a child who views God as absent too. And a passive father leaves his children wondering if God can or will become involved in their problems and day-to-day struggles.

I’m pointing to the men for two reasons. The first reason is so you men can begin to identify how your family environment growing up has subtly shaped your thoughts and beliefs about God. If your experience has been positive, great! If it hasn’t, please let the present, active, loving Father correct your thinking and heal your heart. Turn to Him and see that He is good.

The second reason is that many of you are fathers yourselves or will be. Your children are watching and listening to you more than you think. And you influence them—and their thinking about God—more than you know. I want to encourage you, men, to walk with Jesus Christ! For those of you who’ve had the blessing of good parenting: pass it on. For those of you who haven’t: let the wreckage stop with you!

Steve Arterburn

Our children give us the opportunity to become the parents we always wished we’d had. – Louise Hart