Life Lessons from the Bad Dads in the Bible
By Sylvia Cochran – Christian Parenting
Being a parent is tough on the best of days. Yet when the chips are down, you are tired from work, fed up with the boss, had enough of the long commute and then step into a home with kids on a sugar high, it is not surprising that you might just consider becoming a hermit.
What happens when the chips are down more often than they appear to be up? You have an excuse for the occasional lapse in judgment and good parenting. Then again, does the volume of bad parenting choices make up the majority of your interactions with the kids?
The Bible is not short on examples of bad parenting that fathers should heed carefully:
The Uninvolved Dad
King David was called a man after God’s heart. David was nevertheless a failure as a dad. While it is unclear exactly what his many flaws were, the one that stands out is his failure to be an involved dad. 1 Kings 1:6 says that David never interfered with his son Adonijah by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” Perhaps a bit of fatherly interference a little earlier in life would have dissuaded this youth from trying to take over his dad’s kingdom.
The Dad who Played Favorites
Jacob had 12 sons. Rather than treating the children with impartiality, Genesis 37:3 teaches that he “loved Joseph more than any of his other sons.” Not one to hide his affection for the boy, Jacob gave Joseph a “richly ornamented robe” when his brothers got nothing. Not surprisingly, the brothers did not take this in a stride and soon plotted vengeance. Had Jacob treated all of his sons with equal measures of affection and gift giving, a potentially deadly bout of sibling rivalry could have been avoided.
When Dad Has a Bad Influence
King Manasseh thought he had it all and ran his kingdom his way. 2 Chronicles 33 details the fall of Manasseh’s kingdom due to the vile practices that had offended God. Manasseh learned his lesson, prayed for forgiveness and received God’s pardon. Unfortunately, his son Amon did not learn from his father’s repentance. When it was his turn to take over the kingdom, he did all the bad things his dad did before he saw the error of his ways.
What Does it All Mean?
Being a dad is tough. Still, there are plenty of books and Biblical examples that teach you how to be a good dad. Yet before you can truly appreciate their advice for all it has to offer, you must come to the realization that you may not be the great father you had thought you were.
So, How involved are you in the day-to-day lives of your children? Do you play favorites? Do your children see you try to undo mistakes? How insistent are you in making sure that they understand just how badly you messed up and how important it is to do it right?
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