The Bible doesn’t try to paint its heroes as anything but real people with real flaws.
Consequently, Abraham becomes real, not despite his frailties, but because of them. Like all real people, he had weaknesses. Some of them are disappointing to look at, but they help us see the whole man. And those weaknesses help us learn how to regard our own.
One of Abraham’s flaws was that he turned to deceit when his life was on the line. While he was in Egypt during the famine, he ended up lying to Pharaoh, saying that Sarah was his sister to save his own skin. Then, even after the scheme blew up in his face, he did the same thing again several years later!
Whether this ugly trait was inherited genetically or learned by example, Isaac picked it up from his father. Many years later, after Abraham had died, Isaac moved near the Philistine city of Gerar. “When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, ‘She is my sister.’ He was afraid to say, ‘She is my wife.’ He thought, ‘They will kill me to get her, because she is so beautiful’” (Genesis 26:7).
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
If you have children, share your past mistakes with them and help them learn from your failures. They won’t think less of you; they’ll admire your authenticity. They will feel closer to you. Your humility will endear them to you, and it will give them the courage to confess their struggles to you.
And just as He did with Abraham, God can use us for His purposes in spite of our flaws. And like this great patriarch, we, too, can pass on a legacy of faith to the next generation.
What legacy would you like to leave for the next generation? How can you make your life an example of faith?
We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. —Psalm 78:4
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Faith for the Journey: Daily Meditations on Courageous Trust in God (Tyndale House Publishers, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.