Sunday, June 21, 2009
Father's Day doesn't seem to get the hype that Mother's Day does, and we could probably have a lengthy discussion about why that is. The truth, however, is that fathers are equally deserving of honor and praise. I personally honor men who are good fathers because their role is vital in our society, and we need to give honor where honor is due.
I have often heard women say, "I have been a mother and a father to my children." It sounds good, you know, but it's just not true. Only a dad can be a dad, just as only a mom can be a mom. No doubt, many women have had the overwhelming task of raising their children alone because Dad wasn't there, but that doesn't mean she was a father. She was simply a mother who had to do more than her fair share of raising her family.
Our society is in desperate need of real men, of fathers who have stood the test of time, men who have done the right thing even in the midst of adversity, even when it would have been easier to walk away as lesser "men" have. These men come home to their wives every night, provide for their families, and spend time with their children. They are examples of how to love those closest to them. They have not put their own ambitions ahead of their kids. Instead, they have sacrificed for the sake of those who are counting on them.
These are men who take--not just send--their children to church, allow their kids to see them cry as they worship God, and pray over their wife and children daily. These are men who are not afraid to say, "I messed up; I'm sorry." They don't have to have all the answers. They don't have a destructive need to be right all the time. These men model for their daughters how they are to be treated by a young man. They do so by treating their daughters' mother like a lady, and treating their daughters like the princesses they are. These kind of men understand that the way they treat their daughters is the way those daughters will come to understand they are to be treated by a man, and their sons will learn how they are to treat a young lady. Real men are what Juanita Bynum once preached that she was looking for in a husband: "I want a man of God. I want a man who loves his Momma, that respects his sisters, that can submit to his pastor." I say, "Yea!" Nothing less will do for me either.
It has become popular for some women's empowerment groups to wrinkle their noses at the thought of a woman reverencing her husband, submitting to him, and desiring to be a blessing to him. I reject that mindset. I believe the Bible makes it clear that a woman is to submit to her husband, and the two are then to submit to one another. It also teaches that a man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and I am a firm believer that a woman has no problem honoring a man who loves her that much! I also believe that when children see a marriage--with one man and one woman--who love, honor, and obey one another, they don't want anything less for themselves. They don't grow up to batter and be battered. Instead, they understand what healthy relationships consist of: giving and taking, loving and protecting, honoring and serving. A father who does what he's supposed to do, and a woman who does what she's supposed to do, produce children who do what they're supposed to do, and the whole nation--nay, the world--is the better for it.
I thank God today for men of integrity who do the right thing by their families. They're there. As flawed as they may be--and everyone has flaws--their hearts are in the right place. They seek to do the right thing. They love God first, and they love the babies He has given them-- even when those babies are old enough to have babies of their own. Yes, I honor them today. And I honor the children, and the wives, and the friends who have an encouraging word for these men, who support them, stand alongside them, and pray for them.
My dad died unexpectedly almost 16 years ago at the young age of 46, but I have been privileged to see examples of fatherhood all around: men who walk in faith, who love their God, who provide for their familes--and who are not ashamed of any of it. These men make me proud, make me feel safe, and make me aware of what I deserve--and I'll never settle for anything less.
I love real men. Happy Father's Day!