The Simplicity Series #4

The Critical Role of the Father in the Home and Nation

 “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but
bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Eph 6:4
The role of fathers is critical, both to the home and family, and to the nation. Here, in America, we have seen a decades-long war against fathers—devaluing and humiliating them in every way—and now we see the cost in the unraveling of society.
Children raised without fathers are angry, unstable, and confused about the world in general. In the above verse, in one sentence, the Apostle Paul strikes a blow at both the spiritual value of fathers and the dangers resulting from their failures.
Creating an Angry Generation
The phrase “provoke … to wrath” is one word in the Greek. It is a compound made up of a word meaning “along, beside,” and another meaning, “deep-seated anger, seething anger.” It carries the idea of an onward motion leading into ever-deeper anger.
Fathers who fail in the God-given role of loving care, headship, authority, and discipline in the family have violated the fundamental needs of the child. Further, they have denied the in-born, conscious sense of right and order that is inherent in the souls of children.
As America has degraded and diminished the importance of the father, we have seen the natural and inevitable rise of a generation of angry, rebellious children turning into young men and women who have no anchor for their souls, raging at injustices—real and imagined—in their world. Nothing in life, except a relationship with the heavenly Father, will ever make up for their fatherless brokenness.
The Heart-Cry of Every Child
Paul well understood that all fathers fail as husbands, fathers, and role-models. His commands given here are not only essential to the souls of the children, but are also remedial for the fathers themselves.
First, consider the soul-needs of children. Every child is born with an inherent need for a father-figure due to mankind’s separation from God. Further, God has made special provision for the inklings of divine truth to be revealed to the soul of “babes” (Mat 11:25; Mat 10:21). The word Jesus uses here means “children not yet able to speak.” Children are born with “eternity in their hearts” (Ecc 3:11), surrounded by a creation that whispers of a Creator, and have an inborn yearning to reach out to God (Act 17:27).
The child’s first “universe” or world is the home. Without the father-figure in the home, two adverse realities begin to collide. Everything in the child’s soul and earthly environment speaks of a loving Father who is provider, authority, and disciplinarian. This creates a conflicting narrative, or “story,” between the soul’s inner sense of spiritual reality, and the experience of a broken home. Orphaned from both heavenly and earthly fathers, nothing is left but a seething anger that life is just a cruel joke, and all the world is my tormentor.
A Perfect Task for Imperfect Fathers
It has been said that “80% of success is just showing up.” The father who is present in the home, in spite of his shortcomings, has already begun to succeed. To offset his many personal failures, he can point his children to the Father in Heaven who never fails, who always keeps His promises, and who cares deeply for each of His children. He can be an imperfect example of God’s perfect authority, order, provision, and care. Every incident of discipline is a reminder that in life there is an accounting, and that every decision carries its own consequences.
The father who takes the time to speak to his children of how Jesus—the Son of God—was sent into this world to pay the debt of sin for each one of us, plays a role no other person can. By being honest about his own failures, showing and confessing his own need for forgiveness, he reveals the need for God’s grace and man’s humility. Out of his own brokenness, he brings into the world of his children a sense of a higher world, in which the wrongs of this one can be made right. The child is then able to see that there is a spiritual remedy and cure for every evil of this world. The knowledge that the heavenly Father has intervened in our behalf demonstrates His care and compassion for each of us. Faith is, in many ways, the awakening realization that what our souls tell us “ought” to be really “is,” and will be so in His eternal Kingdom. Our lives then take on meaning and purpose as we strive to please Him.
No earthly father will ever be perfect. But every father has the privilege of pointing his children to the One Father who is not only perfect, but who “is not far from each of us” (Act 17:27).

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