Friday, June 17, 2011

This Fathers Day, Next Mothers Day

I used to despise Fathers Day for a number of reasons, mainly; I never knew what it was like to have a father. A couple of years ago Lisa Baker wrote a story about me that was used as a Father’s Day feature in Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Magazine. Prior to the publication of that article, I had learned to appreciate Fathers Day.

This year I approach the day a little differently. I won’t go into a ton of detail as to why, just that with a granddaughter, and a grandson due any day now, I realize I have learned quite a bit over the years and there are things I wish I had known over the years.

Growing up without a father, I developed a lot of attitudes and opinions. I have come to recognize things that I don’t know if people will appreciate or not, but I know them as truth.

It is a sad that it seems many if not most kids grows up in single parent homes. There seems to be this obsession with children having children and it is an attitude that strays drastically from God’s plan for a family with a mother and a father. As a result, children suffer. As a child gets older, they want to know the truth. I was one of those children. Finding out the truth later in life will cause hardships and poor relationships with those who either withhold the truth, or distort the truth, especially when the child finds out that things weren’t as they had been presented. I wish I didn’t know this from experience in my own life, but I do.

Many will celebrate days like Mothers Day or Fathers Day and celebrate it with joy and the way God intended, a two parent, loving home. Others will observe it in a single parent way, not really in celebration but by trying to ignore it or just observing it. Let me assure you, the observation of a day does not take away the need for the child to celebrate. It was late in my life before I realized this but thankfully, I did.

Here is my question, are you observing these days or celebrating them? I would also ask, are you giving the example of a Godly parent? The Bible is clear in its instruction as to what is and is not a Godly parent. For a parent to attempt to present anything other than a Godly example shortchanges and ultimately hurts the child. If we truly love our children, and want what is best for them, the child has to become the purpose for living. In today’s society, when so many have children for selfish reasons, I can’t help but wonder what the damages are to the children. There are consequences when we go against God’s will. While God does forgive, the forgiveness process includes a call to change behavior; otherwise, we really haven’t sought forgiveness. Even with forgiveness, we must understand, there are consequences both spiritually and literally for our actions.

This Fathers Day, I pray that God will have me love my children in the way he loves us, a forgiving, caring way. I have to remember, it was Jesus who said if I can’t forgive those on earth I see, then he won’t be able to forgive me. He also stated that it is our obligation to forgive another 70 X’s 7. I am grateful that despite my own disagreements and conflicts with my wife, we realized the plan God had for us was greater than our disagreement. I am grateful that over the years we stuck it out for our children. Of course I am not saying every person should stick it out with each other, not every couple is compatible, but every person can, and should love sacrificially their children in the way God planned and instructed. I will say this, even with incompatible individuals, when surrendering to Jesus and his ways, healing and reconciliation is possible. The unwillingness to surrender and selfishness are more times than not, the reason people aren’t willing to surrender to God and continue living in the despair they are in.

What is the intent of this contribution? It is really quite simple, for those that will, pray for the broken homes, many of which exist where a single parent or a grandparent is raising the child alone. Pray that the family will be restored and that God will protect the child from the bitterness that is often displayed in the attitudes of the parents. May the Holy Spirit move parents to love their children in a Godly way by displaying Godly examples in their own behaviors and actions?

I unfortunately live in a world where I see the damages done to children. I have been blessed over the years to speak to high school students and at risk youth. I have worked with those who have raised their children alone, and I have lived the life of never knowing a father, and never knowing what many would call a loving mother. For many years, I prayed that I would know a mother and thankfully I was able to forgive and love my mother prior to her death. There were wasted years, and while my mother tried to be a wonderful grandmother, we didn’t work things out until the last year or so of her life. One of the worst things a person can do is to realize their selfishness hurt a child. Unfortunately I have seen many hurts in children that could have been prevented. I am reminded of Jesus hard words, ‘It is better for one to have a millstone tied around their neck and be thrown into the sea than to hurt a child.’ Those are harsh words, may all of us on this Fathers Day, and the next Mothers Day, do all we can to not hurt our children, but to love them in a way that is mirrored by God’s love for us.

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