Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ (44) But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (45) so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven… (46) For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have. (47) And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others… (48) You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Colossians 3:21– “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
Recently we celebrated Fathers Day. Fathers Day is a day to honor fathers and say thank you to them for all that they have done to help raise and support us. Some people have great memories of their fathers and talk about the good times they had. For others, it is a painful day thinking about what could have been and the pain their fathers brought them. Sadly, I was in this second group. In fact, whenever other young boys started talking about their fun times they had with their fathers during school holidays, I would walk away because there are no memories I made with my father doing something ‘cool’ and ‘amazing.’ Now I am married, and I have a son and reality stands before me- what kind of father am I going to be?
Most young men will say without blinking, “I hate my father!”. When you listen carefully you will start hearing of various kinds of fathers such as…
The Giver– a father who was so busy at work and the only way they felt his presence was through the financial support they were receiving, though no relationship at all.
The Bottle Lover– a daddy who loved the drink so much and wreaked havoc whenever he came at home. He would verbally abuse the mother, calling her names and boasting of how he has found a better woman out there who has better brains!
The Boxer– a father that acted like a boxer and beat his wife and/or children. He is the kind that would give everyone physical scars to show how strong and in charge he was.
The Womanizer– He was the Romeo to the harlots, and at home, he was an evil version of Shrek- big, fat and ugly in every way! Many would also allude to the father who was a big sham and never cared for provision for his family nor the education for the children. The kind that blew their money on negative things at the expense of posterity!
The Abuser– We may not explore the sexually abusive father who raped his daughter or molested his son; or the brutal one who slew his own family with the bullet or machete.
If you had a bad father which one did you have? Many people today are crying out, “I hate my father!” Truthfully many of the issues we see in our society today is due to missing or bad fathers. Almost all serious criminals and problems in our society can be connected to missing or bad fathers. People are acting out of anger and resentment to their fathers even though they may not realize it. Such challenges can lead someone to say “I hate my father!”
Are you like this today? Are you the one saying I hate my father? I have vowed like I used to back in the day, “When I grow up, I will never be like that man!” Those are seemingly good resolutions. But will power is not enough. More often than not, many of those who have made these vows have ended up doing worse than their fathers. The exception is almost negligible. Your feelings are legitimate. Your frustrations are real. Your pain is tangible. However, your options are two! Walk and wallow in the mire of your experiences or reach out to the One who can handle you better than you can! Take time and sift through your own life. Find out how many ways you are similar to this man you hate so much (especially for men) and write them down.
The best step to overcome and become a different person is by accepting that you have hints of what you are trying to repel! Hatred is like cancer inside your body. It only hibernates for a short while, then comes out with deadly effects if it is not taken out immediately. Hatred for someone else is like paying a high price for something you will never use! There comes a time in life when, as an individual, you must choose to do what is needful and not what you feel. You need to lead your feelings into the right behavior and not wait for your feelings to lead you to the correct behavior. The correct behavior is to love your enemies (see verse above) and pray for them. Hatred has sunk, as it were, many great ships in this sail of life. Watch out! The Titanic iceberg ahead is not as small as you suppose! Be obedient to the scripture above and ask God for help love your father as he would have you.
In the next issue, we will look at the remedies.