Impress me
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - October 7, 2020 - 12:00am

Many preachers and priests love to tell us that we are all made in the image and likeness of GOD and therefore many of our human attributes, particularly our emotions, are microscopic, sometimes tainted versions of GOD’s character. Whereas GOD is the pure and intense version, what we manifest is either the water-downed version or something better stuffed in a vault and dropped in the Marianas Trench.

Quite recently I found myself reflecting on my relationship with GOD – “The Father.” I don’t know why but it felt like GOD or the Holy Spirit was prompting me or asking me if I really thought of GOD as my Father, as our Father? And not just in reference to the Lord’s Prayer. It is often said that our relationship or experience with our earthly fathers greatly influence or determine our image of GOD and our relationship with GOD. If that’s the case we better get our acts together, gentlemen, because the last thing I would like to hear on Judgment Day from GOD would be: “I’d like a word with you about how your parenting style ruined my reputation and personality for your kids.”

It has been suggested that if we had a reserved father, a father who based things on performance and rewards, or a legalistic father, chances are our impressions or expectations of GOD would be directly affected by all that. Many of my generation who are now in their early 60’s grew up under the “Performance and Reward” category and therefore many of us subconsciously try to perform or think we need to perform in order to get the break or the blessing we need. You need to work for it, you need to earn it or you need to deserve it. Others don’t go to GOD the Father unless it’s an emergency, it’s really, really, important or simply because we are desperate and can’t do things on our own because that was how we were raised not to bother parents. In short, we, GOD’s earthly representations, diminished the reputation of GOD.

To be fair, there are a lot of modern-day fathers who’ve done a great job representing GOD at home. They are Dads 24/7, they are all around fathers in the body, mind and spirit, they shepherd their family in the word and works and as I reflect on all those attributes and try to magnify them to GOD’s level, you come up with an awesome GOD the Father who is far from being a cosmic killjoy or someone who is simply all about the rules.

For starters he is creative, complimentary as shown in Genesis onwards. He is a visionary, motivator and loves to prod, push and affirm his children. From cover to cover, GOD shows us in the Bible how he brags on Job, David, John, Jesus and many others. Like earthly fathers he also makes us take “first steps,” acts of faith, sends us on “missions.” From time to time, he does bring out the rod to set us straight or steps in to settle squabbles. He even joins in when enemies surround us.

Interestingly, if you’ve read enough Bible stories, particularly battles, you will notice how GOD fights for his family and loves to “impress” on those occasions. He did it in Jericho where the walls came tumbling down; he did it for Gideon where GOD limited the warriors to 300, which is probably where the movie of the same title came from. He did it for many prophets like Daniel in the lion’s den, for his three friends who were not even zinged in the fiery furnace. He actually stopped the sun from its rotation while the Israelites were in battle, oh, and did I forget how he brought a couple of guys named Lazarus and Jesus back from the dead.

Earthly fathers also want to provide, protect, battle for their kids and of course we all want to impress. We do feats of great courage, lead them on adventure and we try out darn best to make wishes come true, whether it’s buying a bicycle, a pony, a first car or a trip on the wish list. Big or small, it all comes as manifestations of our image and likeness of GOD because GOD loves you and loves to impress for your benefit. Many people are missing out on the benefits and good things from GOD because they don’t know GOD as their heavenly Father. Remember what Jesus said to his critics: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him.”

Tough if you don’t even know GOD, hard if you don’t see him as Father. Just like GOD, we as parents try to be a step ahead of our kids, try our best to provide for them and in every opportune time we all want to impress them now and then. GOD, my Father, has impressed me countless times, beginning from undeserved love and provision even when I was living on the wild side, to bringing me through countless adventures, giving me inspirations I would or could not have imagined – whether they were classic cars, being able to send my daughter to study abroad in spite of our limited funds, being in media twice over without ever having to ask or apply and countless more things that only a loving Father GOD could do. If you want it as well, it all starts with…“Our Father…”

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