“Father’s Day” in America is a day once a year that is designated specifically for us to honor our earthly fathers. For those who have or who have had earthly fathers who are or who were great, or who are or were just okay, the day may be a day of rejoicing and celebration of the man they know or that they knew as “Dad.”
Sadly, that is not everyone’s experience. Many people have or have had abusive fathers or fathers who deserted them and their mothers, and so they have nothing to celebrate. The day is a day of sadness for them, instead. And if their fathers are still living, and they do still see their fathers, they may struggle deeply with how to show honor to them.
For example, my dad was an abuser in the worst possible ways. And I don’t use that word “abuse” lightly, either. So, whenever “Father’s Day” rolled around, it was a sad day for me. For, traditionally we are supposed to honor our dads with gifts and greeting cards on that day. Yet, I would literally break into tears trying to find an appropriate greeting card to give to my dad. Why?
If you go through the cards in the card sections of most any store that sells greeting cards, and if you read the cards on most any category, the cards are either gross, inappropriate, stupid (idiotic), sexual in nature, about getting drunk, or they are excessively sentimental and overly praising of the individual to the point of often being unrealistic.
So, I would pick up a card and it would talk about how wonderful my dad was, and how he was always there for me, and how he did so many good things for me, and all of it was lies. And I would just weep, for none of it was true. But I tried because I thought that was the right thing to do. And then I stopped buying him cards, and then I gave myself permission to get him a card that wasn’t about Father’s Day but was something generic I could feel good about.
You see, my goal wasn’t to be mean to my dad. I didn’t hate him. There was a time when I was very angry with him and I didn’t want to forgive him, but that was short-lived. The problem here was that I was trying to force myself into a tradition that caused me to yearly be confronted with the reality of what I had in a father, and that broke my heart, for it was presenting me with all these lies, and I had to be honest. I could not say what was not true.
So, the Lord helped me to find a way to honor my dad and yet still be true to myself and to him without being unkind. Part of how that worked was that I had to remove myself emotionally from the situation and just see him as a sad man who never found peace with himself or with God. And so, I pitied him, instead. And then I allowed God’s love to flow through me to my dad.
Our Heavenly Father
Ephesians 1:3-10 ESV
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
If we know Jesus Christ as our Lord and our Savior, then we know what it is like to have a Father who loves us, who is good to us, and who cares about our every need. He is God the Father. He does discipline us, in love, but he is not abusive to us. He does not take advantage of us for his own selfish purposes.
Instead, he blesses us. He blesses our lives with spiritual blessings such as forgiveness of sins, eternal life with God, deliverance from our slavery to sin, his guidance and comfort, training in righteousness, empowerment to live godly lives, his Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and spiritual ministries, too.
His will for our lives is not to harm us. It is not to use and abuse us. And that is why he died on that cross, to deliver us from sin which harms us, and to fill us with his righteousness, which is for our good. His will for us is that we be holy and blameless before him, separate from the world of sin, because we are being conformed to his likeness.
Even though we by nature are sinners, he loved us enough to give his life up for us on that cross so that we could be adopted into his family. So, by faith in him, we die with him to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we are born anew of the Spirit of God into the family of God, and now, by God’s grace, we are empowered to live righteously in all godliness, pleasing to our Lord.
And all this is to the praise of God’s glorious grace. It is to the glory of God that we are delivered from our slavery to sin so that we can now become servants of God and of his righteousness. But it is also what is best for us, too, that we no longer be enslaved to sin but that we now be slaves of God.
Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have redemption through Jesus’ blood that was shed on that cross to buy us back for God so that we would now honor God with our lives by living holy lives, pleasing to God, as we are walking now according to the Spirit, and we are no longer living according to the flesh.
We are forgiven our sins according to the riches of his grace. And that grace, which brings salvation, teaches (trains) us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. For, God’s grace frees us from our bondage to sin. It does not put a “Band-Aid” over our sins so that we remain in our sin.
His grace also makes known to us the mystery of his will. And it is God’s will that we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we no longer walk (in conduct) according to the flesh, but that we now walk (in practice) according to the Spirit, by the Spirit of God.
So, even though we may not have had earthly dads who cared about us, but we had ones who sinned against us, we can know God the Father who loves us and who wants what is best for us. We just have to, by faith, turn from our sins and follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways. And he will give us purpose and direction for our lives which will fill us with his love.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:7; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10]
He Gives Purpose
An Original Work / June 9, 2012
“Listen to Me when I’m calling to you.
Obey freely My word.
Follow Me in all of My ways.
Do all that I say.
Hear Me gently whisper to you
My will for your life and future.
Give all of your life and heart to
Follow Me always.”
Repent of your sins and worship Jesus.
He’s your Lord and Master.
He died for your sins so you could
Live with Him today.
He has a plan for your life and
He gives purpose and direction.
He gives meaning to your life,
So follow Him today.
“I love you so much I gave My life for
You to walk in My ways,
Living for Me each day as you
Bow to Me and pray.
Witness for Me of your love for Me and
Of My grace and mercy,
How I died to save you of your
Sins now and always.”