You’ve heard the saying, “Like father, like son.” Most of us have used it to describe a trait or mannerism that we saw our dads use or say and have used it ourselves. My father was a fix it man and I pride myself in following in his steps. I don’t know of the number of times I have fixed a toilet, or taken off the drain pipe under the sink and taken care of a plugged pipe. I have replaced screens in windows numerous times. I’m not bragging. I’m just stating that what I saw my father do, I learned by osmosis watching him and began doing it myself.
My dad was a quiet man and was a good listener. I know that my listening skills have come from growing up with him and watching him listen to his customers or patrons around his rural mail carrier route. He loved to help widows and elderly with odd jobs around the house and I have taken up his love. Like father like son.
What is also true is that we can take on the bad characteristics of our father and begin to manifest those bad traits and thought processes in our own life. I was reading in the Old Testament and came across an attitude and perspective of the younger generation that was so similar to their father’s.
We need to go back to what the father’s perspective was and then you will get the picture. It was the time when the nation of Israel was being directed by God to go into the promised land. Thirteen spies were sent out to spy out the promised land and report what they saw. They were gone for 40 days and brought back produce they had seen and the land they observed. They did that, but they also brought back a bad report. “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 13:32-33 NIV Rather than looking at what God could do and resting on His promises to take the promised land, they compared themselves with what they saw and found themselves to be inadequate to handle the situation. They trusted in themselves rather than in God.
Fast forward 45 years when all the fathers had died and the sons entered the promised land. God told them to clean out all the enemies in the promised land and settle with their families. The sons of the tribe of Joseph replied, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots fitted with iron, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezebel.” (Joshua 17:16 NIV). Like father, like son. They were looking at their circumstances and the people in the land, rather than focus on God and His power to be victorious. Sometimes being like father is a good thing. In this instance, it wasn’t.
On this journey, it is important to take the good things of our ancestry with us as our legacy, but make sure that the bad things are being replaced and transformed by God’s perspective.