10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
“Just as a father has compassion.”
You have likely heard many sermons or read many biblical resources that mention how we are made in God’s image and how we ought to strive to be like Christ. However, while it is not unheard of, it is uncommon to see those moments where God is compared to man. Yet, if you were to find something along these lines, it is likely referencing back to the book of Psalms.
In this particular set of verses, there are three sets of comparisons that boil down to the message of compassion of God upon his children. In rewarding, covenant commitment, and reconciliation with his children, it is said that God mirrors the mercy expected to be displayed in the natural relationship between a father and a son.
How do we as men show kindness, love, and pity toward our sons? We rightly want them to be tough and thick-skinned; the world is changing quickly, and they need to be mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared. Nevertheless, there is a natural expectation that we would show compassion in the way God does, but on a narrower level (in that we cannot forgive sins). I suggest that the calling of fathers and men in positions of influence over young men own a calling to exercise prudence toward our sons. That prudence requires us to evaluate sins and failures and be even-handed in issuing consequences. We seek only those designed to change and grow our sons’ hearts and minds (and actions).
How do we raise young men and show compassion in a way that makes us worthy of this high comparison? We remove emotions and ego from the matter. We use every opportunity to develop and mold good character and faithfulness to God in hopes of compassion (not acquittal of consequences, but intentionally directive consequences) leading to maturity.