Bethel Baptist Church
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
A People You'll Call Family. . . a Place You'll Call Home
It's On My Heart...
On Mother’s Day, Dad and the kids take Mom out to eat. On Father’s Day, Dad takes the family out to eat. Is something wrong with this picture? Mothers get a lot of attention and encouragement, and rightly so! They more than deserve it. But fathers deserve a little rec- ognition, too. With the absentee father, comes the absence of recognition and respect.
Time was when men were more respected in our culture than they are today - especially fathers. It was evident even in TV programs like "Make Room For Daddy" ,"The Waltons" and “Father Knows Best”. If someone were to come out with a sitcom about fathers today, they probably would call it “Father Is an Idiot,” because dad is usually the object of ridicule on television.
Sadly, in most sitcoms today, Dad is the one who doesn’t know any- thing about anything. In fact, it is the children who are depicted as the all-knowing, all-wise ones who have it all together. But there was a day when fathers were looked up to for their strength of character, wisdom and guidance.
The man who honors the marriage vows he made to his wife and stands by his children and his grandchildren is the unsung hero of America today. And that is especially true of a Christian husband and father who understands that he is to be a spiritual leader in the home. Even that is becoming more of a rarity.
Much ( if not most) of the social ills in our society today is the result of the absence of a father in the home. In the past 30 years, there has been a 550% increase in violent crime, a 400% increase in illegitimate births, a 200% increase in teen pregnancy and a 300% increase in teen suicide. Experts have traced all these things to the breakdown of the family and, specifically, to the absence of a father.
70% of the juveniles in our criminal justice system come from father- less homes. In his book One Man, One Woman- One Plan , Joseph Wible, Jr. put it this way: “Throughout history, men have been torn from their families by war, disease and death. But in this millennium in America, men are choosing to disconnect from family life on a mas- sive scale – and at far higher rates than other industrialized countries.” Choosing?
Some fathers are never there. My dad's father died when he was only 7 years old. He had a big blank spot in his life because of that. But there are fathers who are never there through divorce. They disen- gage. And then, there is the father who says he doesn't see his kids often enough because he's working long and hard to give his children what he never had.
Fathers - the best thing we can spend on our children is time, and lots of it. Quality time is a modern myth.
Kids need quantity time. They need to know their father is there. (Mother too, for that matter!)
The problem is that when there is a breakdown in the home, it is often passed on to the next generation. The absentee father, the abusive father, the alcoholic father- that chain needs to be broken! Jesus is the one who can break it.
Fathers need to be there and bring their children UP, because they natu- rally have a tendency to go DOWN. They have a propensity toward sin just like we do. We are all inclined to do the wrong thing. Solomon said, A child left to himself disgraces his mother. Proverbs 29:15. That is why we have so many problems in our culture today. Children are left to themselves - not even being raised anymore. There is no father in the picture, and the mother is overwhelmed by trying to be all things to her children.
So, we put them in front of a television set. We let the "village" raise them. We let the public schools raise them. We let their peers raise them. Instead of providing the much-needed parental leadership that children need in their lives, we let someone else raise them.
There is a modern-day phenomenon described as "helicopter parenting". That's parents who hover over their kids and tell them they can do no wrong. But children need to know when they have done wrong. They need someone to tell them and show them another way.
Charles Swindoll tells the story of a father and his young son who were hiking mountain trails together. When they came to a very difficult and dangerous place in the trail, the father stopped to consider which way he should go. Then he heard his son say, “Choose the right path, Dad. I am coming right behind you.”
Our children would say that to us today: Choose the right path, Dad. I am coming right behind you. I am watching you, Dad. I am going to walk in your footsteps. I am going to emulate your behavior. And hopefully, as fathers, we are walking the right way.