Tomorrow is Father's Day in Australia. Unfortunately, when it comes to dads, the news is not all good. Steve Biddulph, in his best-selling book Manhood, estimates that:
* 30% of men don’t speak to their father.
* 30% have a prickly or hostile and difficult relationship.
* 30% go through the motions of being a good son and discuss nothing deeper than lawnmowers.
* Only 10% of men are friends with their father and see them as a source of emotional support.
Those are sad statistics!
In an ideal world, we need to feel love and respect for our fathers and also receive love and respect back from them. However, maybe your relationship with your dad is not a good one. Either way, we have to come to grips with who our father is (or was), especially as men. A man’s masculinity, unconsciously and whether he likes it or not, is often based on his father’s masculinity. Your father’s mannerisms, tendencies, and even words are a part of you and are likely to emerge at any time (“like father, like son”). Who your father was matters. You must come to terms with him, his life, and why he was the way he was.
Biddulph suggests that every man has a serious conversation with his father. Find out about his childhood, his life story, his work, his decisions, and what was going on when he raised you. Find out the truth and don’t be judgmental. Break down the defenses. Get the story straight. It’s important to say, “Thanks”. Your dad may feel like he never “got it right”.
A parent has the power to crush a child’s self esteem. Few realise that, in time, a child holds the same power in reverse. Many fathers go to their grave convinced that they have been an inadequate human being. The pain of this cannot be overstated. Our need for love and approval cannot be overestimated. Maybe forgiving your father will be one of the most freeing things you ever do.
"See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." [Malachi 4:5-6. NIV]
Yes, your natural father is the foundation of who you are. However, you are responsible to take what you’ve inherited and build upon it. Don’t be a victim by blaming others for where you are. You can’t control what has happened to you but you can control what happens in you. My dad never knew his father and grew up his entire life without a dad. Yet, by God’s grace, he worked through the pain of this and then did his best to become to Sharon and I the father he never had.
Thankfully we have a God who reveals himself as a father. Unfortunately, with the breakdown of marriages and family relationships today, we often develop a marred concept of fatherhood. Our natural fathers often fail in accurately presenting the character and nature of God. But no matter what our natural family situation may have been, God wants to be a perfect spiritual Father to each of us as His children. We can have a close relationship with him and know him as our 'dad' (see Matthew 11:27. John 14:6. 1 John 3:1-2).
Psalm 68:5. He is a father to the fatherless. When your father and mother forsake you, the Lord will take you up.
John 14:18. I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.
In our Father God we have identity, acceptance, approval, relationship, a new family, and life purpose. Nothing can separate us from His love - it will never fail. He will never leave us or forsake us. He will provide for us. He watches over us - he knows the hairs on our head. His grace will be sufficient for every need. He will discipline us when we are going the wrong way. He does this because he loves us.
Think about your real dad today ..
Think about your heavenly father today too ...