by Gary Curtis
In this day of ephemeral beliefs and ever-changing guidelines, “hashtag” advocacy is hard to take seriously. So, when I recently saw #DadsMatter, I wasn’t sure what was meant nor how serious the “tagger” may have been.
Having a special day to honor fatherhood, along with the paternal values and positive influence fathers can provide, is a commendable recognition. Although it is doubtful it will ever rise to the retail marketing levels associated with Mother’s Day, it is still a meaningful opportunity to connect with an eternal spirit-dimension of who we are.
Some have been so damaged in their own experience with fathers, they would prefer we completely ignore celebrating Father’s Days, altogether. The biblically prescribed nuclear family structure continues to suffer abuse by a high percentage of absentee, biological fathers, leaving mothers to cover the real and relational gaps. Sociologist Ryan Bomberger has rightly noted, “Neither nature nor nature’s God intended for mothers to be both parents to their offspring.”
Bomberger goes on to note that societal “villages,” substituting limited structure for absentee fathers, tend to suffer higher crime rates, higher drug usage, higher abortion rates, higher drop-out rates, higher poverty rates, and on and on.
Today, human relationships between parents and children increasingly have become broken and fragmented. Denied the love and security of a two-parent home, many individuals are often scarred by parental dissertation or divorce in the past and scared to enter into a God-ordained, life-long commitment of marriage for themselves in the future.
The Church should be leading on these issues instead of sheepishly following after social workers and secular counselors, who are often hostile to the Gospel and its ability to give meaning to life and to transform human desires and destinies.
God intended fathers to “love your wives” just as Jesus Christ “also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Fathers should also learn the wisdom of loving “their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it just as the Lord does the church” (Read Ephesians 5:25-33).
Husbands and fathers are to illustrate this God-kind of love to their own wives in the home, before their children. Just as Jesus (the Bridegroom, in this illustration and throughout the New Testament) loves, nourishes and cherishes us, husbands and fathers are to love their wives, provide for them and honor them. Lacking that godly example and model from their fathers, children may grow up with a lessened view of God, Himself.
Psychologists assert that a person really cannot answer the question “Who am I?” until he or she knows who his or her father is–not just a name, but the fuller paternal person, himself. The modern result has been a widespread, emotional identity crisis that plagues children, teens and even adults.
Christianity’s answer to that identity crisis is to bring boys, girls, men and women into a direct, personal relationship with God the Father, through Jesus Christ the Son. People who truly know God as Father no longer have an identity problem. They know who they are–they are children of God and:
• their Father created the universe,
• their Father loves them and
• t heir Father cares for them!
Unlike some earthly, imperfect fathers, our Father God is interested in us, is never too busy for us and desires a direct and personal relationship with each of us. These truths can provide a tremendous increase in self-worth!
Jesus has made us acceptable to Father God (Ephesians 1:6). We are not tolerated by the Father, but we are “much favored” by the Father. We must learn to thank our Creator God* because He is our Father and we are His child. He loves us and cares for us and we are special in His sight!
Derek Prince taught that Jesus the Son died that He might bring us to Father God. He is not the end, He is the Way (John 14:6). God’s ultimate purpose is not merely that we should come to the Son, but also that, through the Son, we will all come to the Father! He is our destination!
Therefore, let us all learn the emotional empowerment that can come when we daily proclaim that “I am a child of God. Heaven is my home and Jesus has gone ahead to get my ‘room ready’” (See John 14:2-6, MSG).
May the love of Father God, our Creator, the grace of Jesus Christ, our Savior and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, our empowering Comforter and Companion, be ours today and every day–especially on Father’s Day!