Yesterday America celebrated Father’s Day. It is a Sunday in June set aside to honor our fathers (and grandfathers) as the foundational person of the family and to thank them for their contributions. The fifth Commandment is to “honor your father and your mother, so you may live long in the land the LORD is giving you.” (Ex 20:12).
It is a hollow day in America. Statistics show that most fathers are absent. They are either absent from the family totally, absent emotionally though physically present, or absent from church as the spiritual leader of the family. There is no doubt that absentee fathers have had a devastating impact on society as a whole.
“For the best part of thirty years we have been conducting a vast experiment with the family, and now the results are in: the decline of the two-parent, married-couple family has resulted in poverty, ill-health, educational failure, unhappiness, anti-social behaviour, isolation and social exclusion for thousands of women, men and children.”
From Experiments in Living: The Fatherless Family, By Rebecca O’Neill; Sept. 2002, CIVITAS
This is satan’s plan, his plot, to divide the family. Divide and conquer is a time-honored stratagem because it works.
“The Fuel Project, “Know your enemy: part 67- Satan’s war on parents” is a ten minute video on how today’s culture, government and society is working to separate children from parents. It is worth a look. The entire series is well worth a look!
I had an emotionally absent father until I was 14 years old, then my parents got divorced and he really was absent. I remember being shocked at age 10 when I learned that fathers actually spent time with their children individually. My friend and I were riding our bikes past construction for a new subdivision. She said sadly that she will miss playing on the green hills, and having picnics with her father there. I said “Wait, what?” It did not compute that she and her father, by themselves, spent time in recreational activities. I was shocked, and I spent the rest of the day mulling this new information. Dads did that?
Emotional absenteeism would slap us in the face every night, Our dad, who was hard working and did provide for us in good style, would come home tired, but that tiredness soon turned into disgust at the family. We weren’t quiet enough. We weren’t smart enough. We weren’t clean enough. Something was always not enough, no matter what we did. Soon he would crumple his newspaper in disgust, vault himself out of his chair, and mutter, “I’ve had it.” He would head for his bedroom (my parents slept separately) and go in and close the door. Then he would lock it.
It was the lock that got me. Being young, and not knowing how fathers and mothers and children were supposed to interact, I knew intrinsically that it wasn’t supposed to be like this. You weren’t supposed to be afraid of your father. You weren’t supposed to be demeaned by your father. You weren’t supposed to be locked out by your father. Daily. Closing himself off just as we were thirsting for fatherly sustenance was a blow. Then the sound of the deadbolt turning…it was awful. To have a father that actually locked you out was crushing. I hated that sound of the lock falling into place. Sometimes I’d go into my bedroom and cry, not knowing why I was suddenly so disconsolate.
The bible has much to say about the three-legged stool that is father-mother-children. The family. Divorce is actually a violent act, for flesh is being torn from flesh. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24). Husbands are supposed to be devoted to their wives and their families, as the head, even as Jesus is the head of the Bride and the Body (Ephesians 5:25-33). Fathers are commanded to instruct their children wisely in the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4).
Yet satan has infiltrated society with the lie that an absent mother will make no difference to the family. That motherhood is second class to career. That absent fathers or gay fathers will not impact the childrens’ development. All lies.
If a man’s home is his castle, he is not supposed to bar the gate against his family. As Christ is the head of the Body, he likens the father of the family as the head of the unit. When Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. … I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:7, 9). The open door is critical.
How critical? Growing up fatherless, which the bible likens to society’s most vulnerable, means it becomes that much harder to trust the real Father. How many children grow up without a steady hand to guide them, without an authority figure in their lives, without stability, without trust? “Why should I trust Father God?” they wonder, and shouts of glee emit from the serpent every time a fatherless child asks this.
Fathers, be fathers. Be loving, sacrificial, and gently authoritative as the bible urges. God has a plan for the family and it begins with fathers. Go to church and set an example. Spend time with the children, talking, playing, listening.