Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Last time, we were talking about absentee Fathers. The answer is not in education, even education about the Gospel. The answer to the problem is related to the definition of the problem. The problem of absentee fathers is a problem of the heart. It is not a brain problem. Men with plenty of smarts are abdicating their responsibilities in their families. The problem is that men have dead hearts. The core of their being is in the grip of sin. They are not doing what they ought to do because even though they may want to do the right thing, sin has control of them and they are not able. They are, as the Bible says, dead in their trespasses and sins. Therefore, the only real answer is that they need to get a new, clean heart. Fortunately—no, gloriously—God loves dead people and wants to give new hearts to those who ask him.
How do men go about getting new hearts? First, men everywhere, need to get on their knees before the living God and confess their sins of abdication and selfishness to God. Then they need to go to the people in their life and confess the same sin to them. If they have not been a good husband (for whatever reason), they need to confess it to their wives. They also need to do the same for the children, the boss, the co-workers, the employees...and anyone else who is watching.
Second, they need to ask God to give them new hearts. They need to beg him to clean them up and to give them new lives. What they are doing here is not just trying to create a new relationship with their family. They are trying to recreate their relationship with God. Without that as a foundation, men can never live the way God requires. Men must have the blessing of God and the power of God, if they are to live the life we are talking about here.
Third, they need to find a Bible and begin to read it. I would suggest beginning in the Gospel of John. Then just keep reading. As a man reads he should get a pad of paper and ask questions. If he doesn’t understand a section, ask God to make it clear to him and go on reading. God will illuminate the text as he goes.
Finally, the new men need to find a church where the pastor knows what the Bible says about living for God. If they are already attending a church, they need to ask their pastor to teach them what the Bible says about living a life that is responsible to God and fulfills God’s created purpose. This issue is too important, not only for the people in large cities, but for our children, for our wives, for our lives as men. The reason our country has no heroes is because men have stopped being men and have become something less. If your pastor does not know how to be a man living in the presence of God (as seen by his actions and the results of his family), or if he is not a man, you need to go to a church where you can get the insights you need.
If fathers would begin to live their lives, serving God by serving their families (according to God’s Word) we would see a dramatic and almost instantaneous change not only in our families, but also in our businesses, and in our communities. If we want to pass civilization on to our children and to their children, men have got stop living absentee lives. Men have got to live godly lives and pass those lives on to their children.