Before the dust settles from yesterday’s emphasis of Father’s Day, let me offer my endorsement of fatherhood – and the men who have stepped-up to the challenge – as essential to the relational integrity of society. From families to churches to communities to nations, men play a critical role in bringing people together in mutually-beneficial connectivity.
It’s no surprise that the Evil One would be doubling-down on his strategies to oppose everything that God is for, and to attempt to destabilize a culture through disparaging – rather than honoring – the importance of fathers in the healthy development of every oncoming generation.
Extraordinary individuals begin with conventional names, but – over time – they become known for their accomplishments and their contributions, gaining titles and nicknames that are descriptors of their consistent behavior and reliable character. Jehovah God – the Almighty Creator – has earned designations that celebrate Him as He has revealed Himself to humanity, across history.
In the era of the New Covenant – the season defined by introduction of the Son of God, His redemptive sacrifice and His deployment of His followers to take the Gospel to the frontiers – the unique identity of the One True God has become intensely personal. The New Testament writers recognize the intimacy that now characterizes the bond between the First Person of the Triune God and those redeemed by His Son: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (Paul, in 2 Corinthians 1:2-4).
The challenge of family relationships is significant, but the incredible power that comes from those relationships warrants the attention they deserve. When Paul wrote to the high-visibility church members in Ephesus, he helped them to understand the importance of bringing their faith to life on the home front. With concise precision – and leaving no wiggle-room for marginalization – he gave them this instruction: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ – which is the first commandment with a promise – ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4).
Children who are Christians: do what your parents tell you to do. Christians who are adults: review the role your parents had in your development and speak well of what they did right (while exercising grace regarding their shortcomings). And, for the men who have fathered the next generational wave: don’t strain the relationship; instead, look for the ways to establish disciplines and boundaries while establishing the foundation of faith and worldview that is founded in God’s truth.
Dads are currently being devalued in American political correctness; but, in God’s great plan: we’ve got work to do that is uniquely ours to do.
A one-day “time-out” for recognition is great… but, for the rest of the year, let’s take the field and represent the Father!