Monday, June 11, 2018

Disrespect of fathers--an old attitude

Image: Microscoft Clipart
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Proverbs 28-31; Psalm 7

TO CHEW ON: "This is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother." Proverbs 30:11

I don't think I can recall a TV show or commercial lately where fathers are honoured. The message is more likely to follow along the lines of certain credit card promos, where the dud of a father books a flight (to his parents' home or a vacation spot) at an inappropriate time because his inferior credit card company has blocked all the good weeks.

What follows is scenes of the family in full sweaty costume celebrating all the year's holidays in the heat of summer, or on the beach besieged by storms, or the tennis court hassled by swarms of bugs. The camera segues to one of the kids who mutters, "Dad needs to get a ___ card," followed by him / her looking at the camera and asking, "What's in your wallet?" They're funny, but they do carry the message: Poor dad. He sure is stupid. His kid is way smarter.

This attitude is not new. In fact it's as old as Jacob deceiving Isaac to get the blessing of the firstborn (Genesis 27:1-29).

There are many ways we can dishonour our fathers (and mothers; the Bible usually talks in terms of both parents):

1. By living lives of disobedience, rebellion, stubbornness and sensuality (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

2. By showing lack of respect (Deuteronomy 27:16).

3. By taking sides and promoting dissension and quarreling in the family (Micah 7:6).

4. By failing to provide for them when they are in need and we have the means (Mark 7:9-13).

The Bible teaching is clear in its stand supporting fathers and parents in general.
1. The command to honour parents is one of the ten, and accompanied with the promise of long life (Deuteronomy 5:16).

2. The child who treats parents disrespectfully is living dangerously (Proverbs 30:17).

3. Robbing parents of what is their due puts children in cahoots with the destroyer (Proverbs 28:24).

4. Children betraying parents is one of the unnatural family behaviors that will typify end times (Matthew 10:21; 2 Timothy 3:2).

The application to us cuts many ways.

  • If you are a father, you will want to live in a way that earns the commanded respect.

  • If you are the wife of a father, it's important to refrain from undermining your husband to your children by going behind his back with deceitful, underhanded speech or manipulations like Rebekah did.

  • If you are a child and your father is still living, you can provide for him (time, attention and respect are provisions as well as financial help if he needs it and living support if he is elderly or failing).

  • Whether your father is dead or alive, you can focus on the good in him, refusing to dwell on the hurtful actions or lacks that may be a part of your memories.

How will you honour your father, not just on Father's Day (which we celebrate this month) but every day?

Dear God, thank You for earthly fathers. Thank You for the gift of my dad and his godly example. For those of us who don't have earthly fathers, thank You for promising to be a father to the fatherless. Amen.

Psalm 7

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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