Children’s attitudes toward father

I‘m a single mom that divorced a few years ago. I did not want to divorce but really had no choice in the matter since my spouse had already decided to give up on our marriage, have an affair, and not follow through with marriage counseling with our pastor or therapist. It breaks my heart that I have to allow my children to be exposed to their dad living with his girlfriend, as well as witness negative habits (excessive drinking, angry outbursts w/cursing at the children at times, and not always taking the kids’ needs or feelings into consideration). I have my older children in Christian counseling but having a dad that continues to not be a positive Christian role model takes a toll on these kids. I’m struggling finding the right Bible passages to help my child cope with having a parent that isn’t necessarily being a Christian role model. I do encourage them to always look to God the Father for hope, unconditional love, and loyalty because He will never let them down and he will always be there for them. I just wish I had more knowledge of verses to use as a reference to find comfort in knowing that parents make mistakes but they can always look to the Lord for everlasting love.

The Fourth Commandment teaches that God has placed his representatives in the home (Ephesians 6:1-2), the church (Acts 20:28) and the government (Romans 13:1-4). With an eye on the past and the present, it is clear that not all representatives of God represent him faithfully. There are parents—as you indicate—who are not good role models for their children. There are churches that teach false doctrine. There are government officials who are corrupt and even antagonistic toward Christianity.

While not all those people might represent God faithfully, all those individuals are in positions of honor as God’s representatives. Their character and actions might not engender respect and honor but their positions do. That is why, for example, the Bible includes an instruction like this: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right…honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:13-14, 17). The emperor who was in power when Peter wrote those words was Nero—cruel, Christian-hating Nero. By no means did Nero deserve respect or honor because of his sinful actions. On the other hand, Nero occupied a position of honor. He was in that position because of God’s allowance (Romans 13:1-7).

We can find similar situations with God’s representatives in the home. A parent might not be deserving of honor because of his or her words, attitudes or actions, but the parent fills an honorable position. For that reason, honor is to be given to that person. The attitude we have toward God’s representatives reflects on our attitude toward God. Certainly, if a parent is guilty of sin, rebuke is appropriate.

When it comes to Bible passages you can share with your children, Hebrews 12:7-11 teaches that God’s “parenting” skills are far superior to those of earthly parents. Psalm 27:10 and Jeremiah 49:15 explain that God’s love for people is constant and faithful, even if parental love is not. Isaiah 54:10 promises God’s firm, unshakeable love for his children.

Besides reminding your children to continue to pray for their dad, encourage them to be good Christian examples for him. When you and your children let the light of your faith shine (Matthew 5:16), others will see it. God can then be glorified and others may join you in your praise of God.

God bless you all.