Tuesday, September 5, 2006
It was Father's Day, and my friend Dave and I were making the most of it. Our families were spending the day together and Dave and I knew what our job was on Father's Day - loafing and making sure everyone understood our needs. And sometimes someone even paid attention to us for a second. Well, all of us were sitting at the picnic table in the yard and I was explaining what the day's activities were going to be and why Dave and I were the ones making the plans. I said, "It's Father's Day." To which his son mumbled this interesting comment, "At our house, every day is Father's Day." And that got me thinking.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Father Power."
Actually, every day is "Father's Day" in many families and it's not necessarily a good thing. The Bible makes it clear that dad is the thermostat of the family; the one who basically sets the temperature that everyone else responds to. So dad has tremendous power to make his family feel loved, or small, or confident, or tense, relaxed, or frustrated. In that sense, every day is Father's Day, where the father has a lot to say about what kind of day it is.
It's actually a father's power to frustrate that is addressed in our word for today from the Word of God in Colossians 3:21. Let's double back to verse 17 which is sort of the keynote for the words that follow about each family member's role. Colossians 3:17 says, "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus." What does that mean in real life if you're a father? God answers that. He says, "Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." Apparently, the "dad-sin" seems to be to embitter a child - to discourage a child. Now, how does that happen? It's not intended, but there's such a desire to please your father that he can really crush your spirit if that power isn't exercised gently. If you're a dad, you don't want to commit the dad-sin. I can think of four ways that we fathers do embitter and frustrate and discourage our children.
First, our expectations. See, they're a problem if we usually major on what our child needs to improve instead of on what he or she is doing right. It feels like they can never be good enough for us. Secondly, our neglect. We're just not there to hear about their day, to watch them do what they do, to discipline them consistently.
Thirdly, we fathers can frustrate our child with our insensitivity. Sometimes, we just run into their life briefly and drop a bomb on them without ever finding out the feelings beneath their behavior. And then we hurt our child with our inflexibility. If you're never able to be wrong, to forgive, to ask for forgiveness, you don't gain respect. You lose it, and eventually you may lose your son or daughter in the process.
Today isn't the official Father's Day, but I guarantee you it's another important Father's Day in the life of your precious son or your daughter; another day when how you make them feel will greatly determine how they live. Take a look at that guy in the mirror. Is he building a healthy child or a wounded child?
Many a man has looked in the mirror, and when he considered the kind of a father he was, he's seen a man he didn't want to be. But he didn't know how to change. It's been in a moment like that that men have claimed the promise of the Word of God. "If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, a new life has begun" ( 2 Corinthians 5:17). It could be that you're a man today; very aware that you are not able to be what your family needs you to be. That's when a man reaches out and finally finds his Savior, who died on the cross for every sin he's ever committed - every hurt he's ever inflicted.
If you'd like to begin a relationship with Him, tell Him that today. And I hope we can help you do that if you'll just visit our website at yoursforlife.net. Because in terms of making a child feel loved, important, and competent, every day is Father's Day.