I love Father’s Day.
I always have. It’s not just because I’m a dad and I get to set the agenda for my special day. It’s because I have a great dad. He has always been present and dialed in. He loves my mom. He has been a faithful father and husband. He works hard. He loves people. He loves God and has surrendered his heart to Jesus. He’s a fantastic father in-law and grandpa. I hope you had a dad like mine. If you did, you were blessed.
Some of you hate Father’s Day.
I understand. There are plenty of people in my life whose fathers don’t really deserve their own special day. Many of them were absent. Some were abusive. Most had corrosive attitudes and lifestyles that eventually poisoned their hearts, eroded their families, damaged their wives, and alienated their kids. If this is you, I get it. I’m sorry.
One of my favorite preachers talks a lot about the role of men in their households, as husbands and fathers. He has us figured out, I’m afraid. He boils down a lot of our failings into two sinful tendencies: selfish passivity and selfish aggression.
Did you have a great father? If not, it’s likely because he was either selfishly passive or selfishly aggressive.
Are you the dad you want to be? If not, it may be that you’ve surrendered to one of these two things as well.
So, how do we avoid these two all-too-common pitfalls as men?
The antidote to selfish passivity
The antidote to selfish passivity, dads, is a true understanding and surrender to the truth of the Gospel. You have been bought with a price. Through the Father’s active pursuit of his children, we no longer bear the stain of sin and guilt. Jesus nailed it to the cross. He suffered, bled, and died for your sins and mine.
When you truly understand the lengths to which our Heavenly Father went to love and rescue us, it doesn’t feel quite as imposing to get off the couch and have a catch with your son, help your daughter braid her doll’s hair, or have a conversation with your wife. Sure, you’re tired because you work hard. But, your most important work, for the benefit of the people who need you most, begins when you pull into the driveway. Don’t sell them short and settle for the passive kind of existence that has swallowed up so many men.
The antidote to selfish aggression
Love. The antidote to selfish aggression is love. When you are transfixed by the outrageous love your Heavenly Father has poured out on you, you want to reflect that love back him and to your family. What great love the Father has lavished on us by calling us his very own sons.
How can we be so bold as to let our anger and bitterness spill out onto the people we should love the most? Men are powerful; we need to use that power to guide, correct, teach, and protect rather than to hurt. A scorched-earth policy toward your family is the height of arrogance and forgetfulness. Instead of being harsh, cruel, vindictive, demeaning, manipulative, or argumentative, we should treat our families with the same kindness, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, compassion, and tenderness that the Father shows us.
We all still have a chance
I love Father’s Day. I love my dad. I am a better husband and dad because he was so good to my mom, my sister, and me. You might not have had a dad like mine and this may be a bad day for you. But, let it be an encouragement. You may have already made mistakes. I sure have. None of us will be perfect. I am not. But, thank God for second chances. Let’s avoid the pitfalls of selfish passivity and aggression and let’s strive to be the kind of husbands and dads—real men—that God has called us to be.