By Charles Stanley, Christian Post Contributor
February 24, 2012|8:11 am

Malachi 4:5-6

Have you ever wondered why a priority of Elijah's ministry in the last days involves restoring the relationship between fathers and children (v. 6)? Perhaps it's because the father has a powerful role, both in the development of emotional health in his offspring, and in the shaping of their perceptions about God. By his example, a dad can either draw his children to the Lord or push them away.

Sometimes the easiest way to understand this is to look at negative paternal examples:

+The angry, unpredictable father instills fear in his children and teaches them that God is a tyrant who lashes out unexpectedly.
+A critical, demanding dad makes his kids feel inadequate. They see God as a strict taskmaster who's never pleased.
+The uninvolved or absent father sends the message that his children are unimportant, and both he and God are too busy for them.
+A macho dad's tough, uncaring nature leads his children to feel unloved and conclude that the Lord doesn't love them either.
+A fault-finding or abusive father conveys that his child is worthless and God is full of condemnation.

But a man with Christlike character provides children with a healthy emotional connection, not only to their earthly dad, but also to their heavenly Father.

Think about how your earthly father helped to shape your perception of God. The Bible will reveal whether your understanding of Him is rooted in truth or error. If you were blessed with a father who demonstrated the love and compassion of God, take the time to thank Him for this priceless blessing.

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