Sansone's Gifts for Families

Visit our Amazon Associate store. Same prices as Amazon, but you can help us in the process.

Visit Sansone's Gifts for Families

Some Thoughts on Fathers

Saturday, June 16, 2007

With this week being Father's Day and our "Father-Son Camp-Out" last night for Fellowship Baptist Church, I have been thinking a lot about fathers this week, as I am sure many others have been as well.

It does not come as much of a surprise to anyone who looks around to see that we no longer live in a "Father Knows Best" society. In fact, just the opposite is usually true today. It is very rare to see a father portrayed in the media as someone who knows anything - and this has been going on for years. Television has portrayed fathers as inept for years. Whether it is Homer Simpson or Al Bundy or Tim Taylor, the television father is often a goofball who can't quite get anything right.

Not only are fathers portrayed as inept by the media, they are also portrayed as irrelevant. From the Murphy Brown episode of the eighties (and yes, Virginia, Dan Quayle was right) to the "couples" like Rosie and her pal being promoted as good parenting to the repeated celebrity adoptions by single mothers, the role of the father in these situations is seen as unnecessary. Other than supplying a necessary physical ingredient, the father is often out of the picture.

It is not just the media, however, that indicates a lack of importance of the father. A new term has risen up around these parts that underscores the seeming irrelevance of the continued involvement of fathers in the life of a child in today's society - "baby-daddy." When I first heard the term, I thought the person was just talking fast and was speaking about the baby's daddy. However, I have heard the expression a number of times since then and the best that I can understand this new term is a noun that refers to the person who physically fathered the child. It is often used in the context as an expression that marks out the fact that this is not the husband or even the (current) boyfriend, but was the one who "fathered" the child. In some ways, perhaps this is actually a better term, since "father" should be referred to one who actually has more to do with the child's life than providing seed. (Anyone else out there in a place that uses this expression? I did hear it in passing one day on a television show, so maybe it is a more national thing than I think.) The usage of this term and the promiscous relationships that are represented by this again show that an involved father is not part of today's view of fathers.

When you look at the life and ministry and message of Jesus Christ, however, you see that He had a much different picture of fathers. The term "Father" was a term that He frequently used. It was with the phrase "Our Father which art in Heaven" (Matthew 6:9) that He taught His disciples to address God in the Lord's Prayer. It was by this term that He challenged the disciples to be perfect "even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48)." It was by this term that He reminded us that "your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things" (Matthew 6:18) and that "how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (Matthew 7:11).

Not only did Christ often use "Father" to refer to God the Father, He also often expressed positive expectations of human fathers. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father is eager to forgive. In the teaching on prayer, he shows that he expects that fathers will give good things to their children when He asks "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone?" (Luke 11:11)

When you stop to consider the Biblical picture of a father (best seen by the Perfect Father), some of the things you will find is that in the Bible a father is to be given honor (Ex. 20, Eph. 6), a father is expected to discipline out of love (Heb 12), a father gives good gifts (Matt 7, Luke 11), a father pardons (Luke 15), a father comforts (2 Cor 1:3) and much more.

We need to get back to a Biblical picture of fathers (and The Father), rather than allow ourselves to be caught up with the world's way of thinking about fathers.