In a society where fatherlessness (or at least dads who aren’t stepping up to the plate) runs rampant, one thought must race through the minds of so many men and women out there: “How do you honor someone who isn’t honorable?”
This is a question I’ve wrestled with myself over the years- both revealing the flesh side of anger and disappointment from my own upbringing; as well as the spiritual side of love and grace since I became a follower of Jesus. I have asked that question to a mentor of mine and gathered my own conclusions along the way. Here are a few brief thoughts on the matter:
Sometimes “honor” means not saying anything at all.
We learn it early in life: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. The Bible consistently tells us that whether it is slander, gossip, or retaliation, that life and death are in the power of the tongue and the same mouth we use to bless God with should be used to build others up, not tear them down. Our words carry great power, so let’s choose them wisely.
Recognize the holidays.
Father’s Day and perhaps some of the major holidays may not top (or even exist on) your list of “favorite things to do”, but again, to honor our fathers may mean making the sacrifice to attend a family function; or at least sending a gift or card with some kind words in it. Recognizing our dads during such occasions is also a great way to allow the Lord to work on us and soften our hearts along the way.
Allow God to heal the wounded areas.
In our recently-published book The Daddy Gap I make the statement, “A wound will only become infected if it is left untreated.” In other words, failure to address our “father wounds” can become potentially hazardous to many areas of our lives such as our marriages and relationships with our own children. There is healing at the Cross, and Christ is the only one who can completely heal the damage our dads may have caused us.
In one way or another, our fathers have the ability to make us or break us as adults. Nevertheless, if they fell short and missed the mark, we are still commanded to honor them in a Biblical way. In doing so, our heavenly Father will be glorified and He will bless us with eternal gifts that even the greatest of dads down here could never provide his children.
Honor your father and your mother,
that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
Exodus 20:12 NASB
Parents, are you honoring your earthly father in a way that pleases the Lord?
By Matt Haviland
Dad of one daughter
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of “A Father’s Walk”
Author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers and co-author of The Daddy Gap