Tough and Tender

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

Fatherhood isn’t for the faint of heart. We dads have to balance a lot of things, from work to home life. We’ve also got a lot of responsibility on our shoulders for guiding our children in spiritual things. It’s not an easy gig, but it’s all part of the package. Fatherhood is leadership.

Along with all of the other things that are a constant balancing act is the way in which we approach leadership in our home. Some lead through a dictatorship, never allowing anyone else to have any valid feelings or any say in anything. Others go the opposite route and don’t lead at all. These men are passive, allowing everyone else to make the decisions and not providing any guidance. There is another way. The biblical way.

We’re never commanded in Scripture to Lord power over our wives and kids. But it’s also clear that we aren’t to be passive. The biblical way to lead is to be tough and tender. There’s no better example of this than Jesus. While never showing any indication of being a passive man, Jesus did all things out of love. We protect our families in all aspects – physically, emotionally, spiritually – we lead spiritually through our example by walking out our faith. But in all things, we act in love. When we discipline our kids, we do it for their good and so they get back on the right path, not because we’re angry. When we speak to our wives about important topics, we listen to what they have to say and validate them, offer our perspective as well, and do it in love.

Tough and tender fatherhood is really the only way to effectively lead. It’s not easy, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can lovingly lead with strength.