Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Absentee Fathers Pt. 1

Have you ever thought about the problem of fathers who don’t do what God has given them to do? When you think about it, this is a huge problem. This is true not only for the family, but for all the areas of life that the family touches on and relates to. I wonder what would change in our culture and society if fathers loved their sons and daughters and taught them how to live in a way that honored God and his standards. I’m pretty sure abortion rates would plummet. AIDS and other STDs would fade into history. Sodomy would slide back into the shadows. Many of the other social ills we face would go the way of the dodo. Divorce rates would diminish as men and women loved one another the way the Bible tells us. Husbands would have time to love their wives. Fathers would stop frustrating their children and causing them to stumble over their bad example. Sons would learn to treat the women like sisters. Girls would learn to respect the right men in their lives and to honor the rest, as God has established.

The Bible says that God created the family around the father as head of the family. As the head, he has certain responsibilities. He is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He must care for her and nourish her. He must lead her in her relationship with God and with others around them. He must place her concerns and desires above his own and make decisions based on what God says is best, rather than on what he thinks, or how he feels. The man must take time to gently care for her and to love her in a way consistent with how Jesus loves his church (He laid down his life and died for her). In addition, together with his wife, the father is to be an example for their children and the community of what God’s relationship with the church is supposed to be. In other words, the man of the house represents God to anyone watching. If he does a good job of representing Him, God is loved and honored in that house and everywhere anyone from that house goes. If he is absent, God will not be revered and the children will become like those with no hope in the world.

Oh, by the way, an absentee father is a father who is not living his life according to the dictates of the Word of God. An absentee father is one who lives for himself and strives to be the center of his universe. He has abdicated his responsibilities and has left a vacuum in the home that sucks the life out of everyone left. So, he may be physically present in the house, but his guiding, leading presence is far away. Consequently, an absentee father is not only a father who does not pay alimony payments or who has abandoned his family and run away, he is also the father who comes home, but has nothing relevant to give his family. A man who hides in his garage with his hobby is absent as far as the family is concerned. A man who watches five hours of TV each night might be there in person, but he is not leading his family in a redemptive way. If the father does not teach his children about the character and nature of God, and the acts of God in creation and history, he is as much an absentee father as the father who abdicates his responsibilities by leaving his family altogether.

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