This is the first of what will be, Lord willing, an ongoing series of blog posts here at KNI about what being a father has taught me about God and His relationship with humanity.
A few years ago I became a father for the first time.
It was quite a shock. I never saw myself as the type of person who would have children and if someone had told me back then that I would not only have children but that I’d enjoy them more than almost anything else I ever did in my life I would not have believed them.
Additionally, my wife and I were both in our mid-30s when we got married and I’d been told by a friend of mine who is a physician that my wife’s age made it medically unlikely that we would have children. But by God’s grace she beat the medical odds not once, but twice, and my two sons are blessing my life in ways that I never even knew I needed to be blessed.
One way that God has used my children to bless me is by, through them, teaching me things about His own relationship with humanity, that is, His own children.
One of the first lessons I got along these lines was why God hates sin.
Many people, particularly if they didn’t have a father-figure in their life or if they had a difficult relationship with the father-figure they had, probably think of God as a harsh taskmaster who hates sin because committing sins is fun and He doesn’t like it when people have fun.
This view of God, which has been endlessly promoted by popular culture, is probably one of the reasons so many young people in today’s world define themselves as atheists. They don’t want to worship, or even acknowledge, a God like that.
But having children taught me a different answer to the question of why God hates sin.
It happened one day when I was walking my son to school, which was on the same street as the office where his mother and I both work. He had his little hands clasped in ours, but all of a sudden, he dropped our hands and started running, as little boys do sometimes. He ran down the sidewalk as his mother and I told him to stop and come back, with more and more urgency as he looked back with an impish little smile and kept running (this and similar incidents also expunged whatever doubts I had had up to that point about “original sin” that we’re born into) until finally he reached the end of the sidewalk and dashed out into the street where…
…he almost got hit by a car.
I was FURIOUS with him!
But even as I scooped him up in my arms as he giggled and made every appearance of having no idea how close he had just come to eternity, part of my brain was registering the fact that I was only about 5% angry at him for flagrantly disobeying me while the other 95% of why I was angry at him was because he had put himself in a dangerous situation.
From this, I learned that God hates sin for two reasons, one is that when His children (you and me) sin, we’re rebelling against His authority. This is a serious matter, but I don’t think it’s the main reason He hates it when we sin.
I believe He hates sin far more because when we sin, we’re damaging our own lives. God, our Heavenly Father, wants only good things for our lives, but when we sin, we cause bad things to happen for our lives, and He hates it when we do that.
As fathers, both to our own biological children and to any spiritual children God blesses us with the opportunity to mentor, we must impart this simple truth. God loves His children, and wants only good things for them. If he calls something sin, it’s not because He knows how much we’ll enjoy it and He doesn’t want us to receive that enjoyment, it’s because He knows how much it will hurt us and He doesn’t want us to receive that pain.