By Jack Wilkie
There’s a long history of fathers being portrayed as useless, bumbling, out-of-touch idiots in the world of entertainment. Television characters like Homer Simpson on The Simpsons, Al Bundy on Married… with Children, Archie Bunker on All in the Family, Tim Taylor on Home Improvement and countless others have for decades been portrayed as terribly incompetent. Joined by numerous children’s shows of the past two generations, those shows have gone out of their way to depict dads as immature and in need of their wives to serve more as their mothers than their spouses, as embarrassments to their children, and as lazy, incompetent employees in many cases.
Sadly, many of today’s fathers have begun to live with the assumption that that’s just who they’re supposed to be. The stereotype of unserious, immature men who are constantly trying to shirk responsibility and have a good time while avoiding the watchful eye of the old “ball and chain” is emulated by many
Add to all of this the ideology of feminists and homosexuals that claim that strong male leadership in the home isn’t necessary and you can see why the world continues to spiral further away from the truth and why morality continues to decline. Statistics show that fatherlessness leads to higher teen pregnancy, youth crime, suicide, substance abuse, poverty, and runaways along with lesser academic achievement. The world can unwisely go in that direction of mocking, undermining, and even eliminating fathers, but Christians cannot afford to follow.
The Bible confirms the importance of the fatherly role by charging them with bringing their children up in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In Deuteronomy 6, as Moses addressed Israel before they entered the promised land, the blueprint was given for how the nation could succeed in their new homes. The responsibility was placed on fathers and grandfathers (6:1-2) to love the Lord (6:5), teach their families to walk in God’s ways (6:6-9), worship God (6:13), and obey Him (6:17-18). Israel would rise and fall based on how the fathers of the nation’s households led their families in these ways (6:24-25).
So, with all of that said, I want to do two things in this article.
First, I want to say thank you to the Christian fathers who are approaching their role with the proper respect for the importance of it. We are to give honor to whom honor is due, and Christians of all people should be those who recognize and praise active fathers who are helping strengthen the church both today and in the future. Dads who are aligning themselves with the role Moses envisioned in Deuteronomy 6 are making a difference in their homes, the church, their communities, and in the world as a whole. Thank you for casting off the role of immature, weak-willed men that the world tells you you’re supposed to imitate. Thank you for instead taking on your biblical role, and thank you for reflecting the loving, serving character of Jesus Christ to your families.
I also want to commend those who may not be biological fathers but are doing their best to fill that role for someone anyway. To single mothers who are left having to do doubly duty, know that your work is noticed and appreciated. It takes that much more work to try to fill both shoes, and those mothers who put the time in to give their all for their children are invaluable. To grandfathers, uncles, and other male figures who step into the lives of fatherless children as mentors, thank you for your commitment to those you help. The difference you make is simply massive.
Second, I charge you to keep on leading your families toward heaven. Keep on keeping on. We need as many good examples as we can get, and we need godly fathers to develop their sons into future godly fathers and daughters into future godly mothers so the church can grow stronger generation after generation. If you aren’t doing that, now is as good of a time as any to take the Joshua 24:15 pledge and start leading your family spiritually. Find a good example who can mentor you and whose footsteps you can follow as you strive to build a G0d-centered home.
Oh, what a difference the church could make if every father dedicated themselves to making sure that they were following Jesus and showing their families how to do the same each and every day. To those who are, know that your work does not go unnoticed. Thank you for helping us see the beauty of God’s plan for the home.