Ask just about any Christian man what God thinks of him and he’ll reply, “He loves me.” We learned this a long time ago; and it’s true.
But with most men, if you were to probe a little further to explore if there are any other feelings God has toward them, they would add…”He’s disappointed in me.” The truth is many of us feel this way. After all, we fail so often that we don’t even measure up to our own standards, let alone God’s. Of course He’s disappointed in us.
No, I don’t think He is.
When we fell short of our dads’ expectations we knew they were disappointed in us. They even said so; sometimes in extremely harsh language. We in turn learn to communicate the same message to own children. When we feel disappointment in them, we have a particular picture in mind of how we want them to behave, dress, speak, or perform. Usually that picture includes at least a glimmer of reflected glory for ourselves.
“Disappointed in” communicates a standard that hasn’t been met. Its focus is toward self. The unspoken message is: do this and I will be proud; fall short and I will be disappointed. Sadly, it’s the language of many fathers.
God, more than anyone, has a “right” to expect a certain standard of behavior from his children. After all, He’s perfect. And, indeed, Scripture is filled with verses that speak of mankind falling short:
Is. 53:6– “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way…”
Ro. 3:23– “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
Ro. 6:23– “For the wages of sin is death…”
The truth is, on our own, we are hopelessly disappointing; the very best of our behavior is like filthy rags. Fall short? Are you kidding? We don’t even come close to measuring up.
Yet, those same verses reveal the rest of the story:
Is. 53:6 “…but the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Ro. 3:24 “…and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came through Christ Jesus.”
Ro. 6:23 “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Men, the “falling short” part of our lives, the “disappointed in” part, has been paid for. It’s gone, forgiven, forgotten. That’s how powerful the blood of the Lord is.
Yet, I think God still feels disappointment. His disappointment is not directed at us; it is directed for us. He sees the pain, the suffering, the awful consequences of the sinful turn his creation has taken. He knows this is not the world our hearts were built for. It is all of creation that falls short. Scripture says it groans.
Our Heavenly Father is not disappointed in us, He is disappointed for us. Some day, even that will be made right. I can’t wait.
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, their daughter Gemma and son Calvin. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.