This simple statement fixes clearly the nature and character of God. It tells all that man needs to know about God, and about himself, and about his neighbor.
Oliver Wendell Homes said: “My religion is summed up in the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer.”
In this clause Jesus lays down once and for all that the relationship between God and man is that of father and child. This eliminates the possibility that the Deity could be the relentless and cruel tyrant. The majority of men and women are at their best in dealing with their children. Speaking of the same truth elsewhere, Jesus said:
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:11)
The relationship between a father and a child is sacred. However, in today’s crazy world there seems to be more broken homes than ever. In these broken homes the father is not around because he left the mother and children to fend for themselves, or he is on drugs or drinks to the point of violence and abuse, or he is a deadbeat who doesn’t care at all about raising his kids. On the other side of the spectrum, the home is one that nurtures the growth of the child through love and support. The father holds the family together, he is the rock, and the children are able to grow into their full potential. From the broken home to the “perfect” home, the father figure is something that is so important and vital for the children to have so they can learn, understand, and become an adult that is mature and able to cope with life.
When I see a young person struggling I wonder what his relationship is like with his father. I see myself in them, because growing up I had a very hard time with mine. When I was born and for the first 1o-15 years of my life my father was depressed. I didn’t know that is what it was, only until years later did I find this out, but as a child I had no idea why he was so distant, so far away, so silent. He was an alcoholic that was in recovery, I never saw him drink but I saw the effect on an alcoholic when he doesn’t go to meetings and he doesn’t work on himself. I took it all in and I internalized it to the point where I felt like he didn’t love me. This turned into fear which I tried to get rid of and the only way I could get rid of it was through anger and acting out in ways that were self-destructive. So when I see someone else acting out like that, I see myself in their eyes and I relate to their pain.
I see the mug shots of kids, barely 16, who look like empty shells of human beings. How did they get that far lost? How come nobody noticed him isolating in his room for weeks? Why did the teacher not try to step in and intervene, and try to help the kid by being a father figure? Where are the villagers whose responsibility it is to raise a child? Maybe they were too busy looking at their phones, or too busy at their job which is more of a distraction from the reality that they are depressed and don’t want to face it, or they walk on past the kid too afraid to reach out and say hello. Maybe…
Or maybe it is because we have forgot the truth that there is an all-loving, all-powerful God that is OUR FATHER, and he is the father we have always wanted. One we can talk to, who will never leave us, who is there for us when we need him, and who guides us and teaches us about life. Sure he might not appear in the material world so we can touch and feel him, but that is what faith is for. We all grew up with certain commonalities: fear. We have all felt fear. Fear gives faith room to practice and get strong enough to take over one day and lead us towards peace, happiness, and contentment. I have faith that OUR FATHER is walking alongside us, holding our hands, even when we don’t even notice, and showing us the way through this hell that is the world today.
OUR FATHER showed me the way to forgive my father because he is the best damn dad a kid like me could ask for. He had his problems but he made sure I had food to eat, clothes on my back, a nice home to sleep in, and even took our family on vacation. Despite his shortcomings, I have learned to love this man for what he is, rather than what he is not or what he did in the past. He loved me when I didn’t love him back, and he supported me when I hated him and myself and nearly died many times, even when I was in jail or a psych ward or jail again, my father prayed for me and didn’t give up.
This is what OUR FATHER does for us. He doesn’t give up on us, even when we hate him, don’t believe he exists, curse him, and try to live on our own human power without his help. He loves us unconditionally. So the next time you say the Lord’s Prayer, remember that our real father is God, and everything is going to be okay.