Another subject that came up at our recent “Wildman” Saturday was the relationship with our fathers. Some still had dads alive, while others had lost their dads. When men get honest about their past unresolved pain, the subject often turns to our fathers. So we talked about the struggle of “honoring” our fathers, even though the relationship might not have been that great.
As most of you probably know the command to honor father and mother is the only commandment with a promise. We read in Deut. 5:16, “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” To dishonor our father will cause our life not to “go well.” We will sow the bad seeds of resentment planted in our soul, producing bad fruit in our relationships, especially at home. Mark it down – it is a spiritual principle. How do you react when your wife says, “you are just like your father?”
Years ago I learned a valuable lesson in the honoring of my father from John and Paula Sandford through their ministry of inner healing. They called Prov 20:20 their “20/20 vision” scripture. ‘”If a man curses his father and mother, his lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.” What I learned was this: “That single fifth commandment is a description in all human life of the way reality works. In every area consciously or unconsciously that we judged or dishonored our parents, in that very area life will not go well with us.” I learned to forgive my Dad, let him go, love him and honor him, without any expectations, because of this commandment.
I know in this short blog I may be opening up a “can of worms” for some men. But my point is this. Take the commandment to heart. If you are not honoring your Father, begin to do so. It will take some soul work. Begin by being honest about any anger or bitterness you may harbor. Ask God to soften your heart. Talk to another brother about your struggle. As you go through the process of forgiving and letting go, ask God for the strength and grace to “honor” your father. My dad and I never had a close relationship. He never dealt with his heart issues. But because I went through the process of forgiving and letting go, I could honor my dad
Men, as a father it is important to model honoring your father. You do not want to have “bad seeds” planted in your children that are a result of your bitterness and hurt. I know I had to stop ‘bad seeds” from being planted in my family, because they are passed down to me by my father. Men, you can stop the growth of these seeds by humbly coming to the cross, where you can confess your judgments on your father, thus laying down a heavy burden. It will be a gift to your family.