By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

There’s a sad reality that not all of us had great fathers and while this may not be universal, it certainly is common that most of us want to make our fathers proud.

As toddlers, we test our parents and look to our fathers and mothers to set boundaries for us.

Many of us as we grow up look for our father’s approval either with good grades, doing well at a sport or handing him the right tool as you work on a car together.

I’m sure there are studies out there that debate back and forth how this is learned social behavior or that it is innate behavior that we are simply born with.

Because of my faith, I believe God made us that way.

And He didn’t do it to set our fathers up to fail. Jesus was the only perfect person to walk the Earth and while as children, we can develop high expectations for our parents, we can also suffer tremendous hurt and disappointment.

In rodeo, I get to know some amazing fathers out there and I get to know some cowboys whose fathers have utterly failed them. There are plenty of rodeo cowboys out there competing not for their father’s approval, but to prove something to themselves about their own strengths and abilities.

Whether we had the ideal father who rarely let us down, a father who abused us, a father who just couldn’t get it right all the time or if we had no father at all, God wants us to have a sense of belonging to a father who is perfect and will love us unconditionally.

Ephesians 1:3-6 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

The idea of adoption is a big part of the gospel, God’s plan of salvation for us.

Through a saving faith in Jesus, our genuine repentance of sin and desire to be forgiven of our sins, God adopts us into a Heavenly family in which He becomes our Heavenly Father. As our Father in Heaven, he loves us unconditionally. He sees us through the sacrifice Jesus made for us which means He sees us as perfect. No matter what we’ve done or how we think we might have failed ourselves or our families or in some part of our lives, He doesn’t see any of that.

Not only doesn’t He see it, He both makes us perfect and gives us a perfect life. No matter how great of terrible our fathers are or were here, there was just no way they could accomplish that. It doesn’t mean we should love our fathers any less, it means we should give them the same grace that God has given us and then embrace the gift of God’s grace that gets us through this life and into that perfect one in Heaven.

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