As I was tucking our kids in tonight on this, Father’s day, I had in the back of my mind all of the flack that us father’s get in our culture. Men get a lot of flack in general, but father’s get especially targeted or singled out for ridicule. Just see some of the stories from the past week as an example. But anyway, as we were praying I started thinking that it shouldn’t be surprising that things are like that. American culture is so hostile to Christianity right now. Any aspect of Christianity, in this case it’s emphasis on the role of men as fathers, will be instinctively mocked. But it isn’t just that teaching of Christianity that inspires such father loathing. It’s the whole image of the God we worship.
We worship a God who calls himself our “Heavenly Father”. If He indeed exists as we think He does, then it was not an accident that He chose that title. He is the father of our Lord, true. But that relationship applies to us as well. He is literally our heavenly father. He fills all of the roles of a father: protector, provider, motivator, chastiser, leader and friend. All of those aspects that we as humanly fathers struggle to satisfy on a daily basis. We routinely find ourselves out of balance. One day we are too much of a protector and not enough leader/motivator. The next day we’ll be too much of a disciplinarian and not enough of a friend and provider. To be a dad is a complex job. Even in our modern culture when things are so mundane, finding that balance proves to be much harder than it should be.
I’m sure in your churches this morning you got a toungue lashing from the preacher about all the things you should be doing as a dad. I’m sure those things are true, but I get really tired of the dad bashing creeping it’s way into the church. Dads, you keep up the good job out there. Love and lead your wives, discipline and play with your children, and take care of your families. Beyond that, take comfort in the fact that God is not our heavenly mother. He is our heavenly father. And that is a high honor that you should be able to share that title with our Lord. Having an honored position means we should fulfill our duties with zeal and reverence. Don’t walk around mealy-mouth, always afraid that you will fail. That doesn’t inspire anyone, and it is not what our heavenly father wants from us.