Respecting Our Fathers

John James Pershing Heaton

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.(Hebrews 12:7-11)

Respecting Our Fathers

The celebration of Father’s Day has been a long tradition since the Middle Ages among Catholic Europe. In America, it was first recognized in 1910 in the State of Washington and was designated a national day of honor by President Johnson in 1966. President Richard Nixon made the third Sunday of June an official holiday in 1972. Americans like their holidays. We have a holiday to everything including National Apricot Day, National Bubba Day and Eat Your Vegetables Day. There is a misplaced confidence that if we celebrate a certain day there is a huge respect for that day in the minds of the world. Father’s Day is set aside to honor the institution of fatherhood. Like most holidays, it is more about the commercial side of things than the original meaning. What is lost in the fervor of the next sale on tools and televisions is the reality of a lost fatherhood in our nation.

Numbers differ depending on how to view the role of fathers in the home but data suggest more than 30% of homes do not have a father living in the home. This will change dramatically within cultural communities where some average more than 50% without a father in the home. Taking the numbers that have a male presence in the home, what percent of those fathers are leading the family in a role of respect and honor becomes a frightening statistic. It is imperative to have a father and mother in the home to guide the children but when parents fail to fulfill their responsibilities in leading the home there is failure. On the one hand, American society berates and degrades the husband and father as a useless part of the home promoting the lifestyle of same-sex families as healthy in contradiction of the natural design given by God of one man and one woman in the home. Women’s liberation rights have been so infused into the family culture the man has abdicated his role of leadership to a place of incompetence. Roles are reversed where children grow up never seeing fathers take their place of leadership in the home. The end result is not just the destruction of the home but the culture that denies the authority of the only Father that matters in the universe of man: God.

What children learn in the home will furnish the building blocks for their understanding of God. A family that does not respect the role of the father in the home will have a difficult time respecting the role of the heavenly Father in their hearts. Discipline is the instructive training of the child to respect and honor authority which includes punitive discipline enforcing the rule of authority. Fathers who exercise discipline in the home teach their children to honor and respect them. Failing to discipline children will teach them to disrespect and dishonor the role of leadership. This carries over into the child’s understanding of the word of God. The Lord disciplines us and we learn to respect and honor Him because we accept the role of His leadership in our lives.

Fatherhood is the keystone of the home only when the leadership comes from the mind of God. The Hebrew writer exhorts the early Christians to learn the love of God in the role of discipline so that respect and honor will be given to the Lord. This first begins in the home. Celebrating fatherhood is more than trinkets of tools and electronics. The church needs men who will take their places of leadership and women who willing accept the word of God to be in submission. Culture does not change the word of God. Blending the roles of the father and mother in the pattern of discipline will create a home of peace, holiness and righteousness. This will lead to a greater understanding of the presence of God in the hearts of our children. May God richly bless the fathers who take the mantle of responsibility in their homes with the fervency of His Spirit and His word.

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