Fathers: Your Words Shape the Destiny of Your Children
Have you made the mistake of saying something to your kids that you later wished you hadn’t?
We all have regrets as parents, don’t we? But how did you know it was the was the wrong thing to say? Was it the look of hurt on your child’s face after you said it? Did you feel the spirit within you wince as you said it? Or did you see the lasting results of your words years later?
This past weekend I had the privilege of sharing the Blessing of the Father with a group of men in prison. I asked each of them to tell me what their dad thought of them. Many of them had never had a father in their story. Those who did said things like ‘fool’, ‘no-good’, and a few other words I won’t repeat here.
Not one of them had a dad in their story who knew how to speak love, life, and blessing into them. They had been labeled by their fathers at a young age, either by their words, or by their absence. These words largely shaped these men into who they became, and only helped pave the way to the labels they gave themselves years later as a result: rebel, convict, worthless.
I had the honor of introducing these men to the Father they have always wanted, and to bless them with a new name, the name their Father in Heaven has given them; Beloved Son, Child of God, Chosen.
Dads—your words matter.
I’m sure you’re agreeing with me that our words matter, most of us readily accept that principle. But do we understand it? Do we understand why our words hold such weight with our children?
Did you know that God created the entire earth, and everything in it (including you and me!) with just the words from His mouth? Think about how powerful His words are! He said “Let there be light” and there was light – those are some powerful words! The Bible teaches that we were created in God’s image and likeness.
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26a ESV)
Beloved, we were created in God’s image. That means that God has placed unique attributes inside of us that reflect to the world who He is! God created the whole world, wondrous and unique, and He has given man that same ability to create. Think of the incredible works of art, architecture, and music that man has created. God speaks, and His words are filled with life and power. Creation obeys.
God has given man that same ability to speak life into others, and speak with power to the world around us. Listen to what Jesus said:
“He said to them, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20 ESV)
These are a few of the ways in which we have been made in God’s image. The trouble is that sin has marred God’s beautiful creation. Instead of creating beautiful works of art to bring glory to God, man defames God with his art and brings glory to himself. Instead of using our words to speak life into those around us, we use our words to tear down, destroy, and curse one another. Both blessing and cursing coming from the same mouth—James said, it ought not to be.
Dads, I have good news for you. It’s never too late to begin speaking life into your children. It’s never too late to allow the Spirit of God to fill you and speak through you. It’s never too late to let God transform you into the father you’ve always wanted to be, the father you never knew you could be.
Here are a few practical ways you can use your words to shape your children’s destiny:
Use your words to tell your kids what you love about them
We tend to tell our kids what we think they’re good at, or what we want them to be good at, don’t we? It’s a performance model. If you measure up to my standards, I’ll love you.
I want you to use your words to tell them what you love about them, about their personality, their character, their uniqueness. This small, but often challenging task assures our children that we see them and love them for who they are—not what they are doing.
Use your words to encourage your kids
How do you encourage or lead your kids when they’ve failed, broken the rules, let you down, or disappointed you? Your words, tone, and direction matter now more than ever.
Take these opportunities to encourage your kids, rather than shame them. Remind your children that you still love them, and God still loves them no matter what they do. You are rooting for them.
Use your words to include your kids
As a young dad, I used to try to have all the answers. That left me doing all the talking and my kids doing all the listening. What I didn’t realize was that was also reinforcing to my kids that I thought they couldn’t decide anything on their own, that they wouldn’t know what to do, they were incapable.
I’ve learned over the years that I can use my words to include my kids, to let them know that I value their thoughts and opinions. This might look like asking your kids when they come to you for advice, “That’s a great question. What do you think about that?” Or it might look like including your kids by asking their wisdom on things you’ve been praying about or thinking about.
Use your words to ignite their passions
Dads, God made you and your kids for awesome things. Use your words to ignite their passion by speaking God’s word and truth over their life. Open up the Bible together, and let the Holy Spirit inspire them!
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Published on July 11, 2018.