June is coming up, and with it are the Fatherís Day celebrations! At no other time in a fatherís life, is he as likely to receive a tie as on this third Sunday in June. For a look at the history of Fatherís Day and some practical ideas of honoring dad, please visit my article entitled "Honor Your Father." In this article, I would like to focus on some of the facets of honoring fathers that we, as Christian parents and especially Christian fathers, may not have thought of in a while.
Are you Cain or are you able?
Cain once asked God if he was his brotherís keeper. An expert in the Mosaic Law once sought to stump Jesus, after the latter exhorted him to love his neighbor as himself, and asked him just exactly who his neighbor was. To a Christian, the answers to both questions are obvious, yet how they tie in with an article on Fatherís Day may not be as clear. To shed some light on this, please think about honoring fathers. The Bible exhorts us to honor our fathers and mothers so that it may go well with us. (Ephesians 6:1-3) But does the Bible limit us to only honoring our own flesh and blood fathers?
If we consider that we are called to be our brothersí keepers, and also neighbors to all, should we not also honor otherís fathers? Would this not help us to fulfill the heart of the command instead of simply standing on the letter of the law?
Is your religion pure or polluted?
Jesusí brother once addressed the Jewish Christians and reminded them that God the Father accepts the kind of religion as pure that incorporates the looking after of orphans and widows. (James 1:27) This Fatherís Day you have an opportunity to decide to live out the heart of this command by including in your day to day activities those children who may not have a father...either by the fatherís choice or because he is deceased. Become that healthy male role model for another child! Be there to listen, and toss a ball, and to show a little girl how to fix a bicycle, or to help a little boy get ready for his football game, and to also help the single/widowed mom next door or down the street with the leaky roof.
Conversely, what about the fathers who have lost their children? In a time of war, this Fatherís Day will be a heartbreak to many families. At the same time, there are many fathers who are alone because perhaps their children, though still living, now reside halfway across the country. This Fatherís Day may prove to be a hard day for them, and this is where you can come in and build a lasting friendship with such a man. Honor him in his childís stead! Listen and allow him to open up to you to let out feelings he may have never voiced to his wife or others. Be a steadfast friend, not just on Fatherís Day, but every day!
What about the children who do have a father in the home, but perhaps his presence is more a curse than a blessing? When was the last time you went to see that man and make every effort to help him become a better parent? Do you simply shake your head sadly at the sight of the beer bottles piled high in the recycling bin on trash day, or do you actually do something about the problem you perceive? Do you tell your kids not to play with this fatherís offspring, or do you welcome his kids into the safe haven of your home, and seek to draw out their family as well? When was the last time you invited them over for a cookout?
So...Are you Cain? Or are you able?
If you are Cain, you overlook the most important aspect of Fatherís Day...James told us that God, our Father, viewed a certain type of religion as pure...you overlook the honoring of perhaps the most important father of all: God.