Monday, August 20, 2012

The TRUE ATLAS - A Fathers view

First, let me set everyone's mind at ease. I am not endorsing Greek mythology or attempting to validated it. However, I could not think of a better title when discussing the constant weight that a Father feels. If you continue to read this post then I am begging you to read it in its entirety. I do not intend to offend anyone, but some of you may be offended. I have no intention of discouraging anyone, but if you do not finish reading the post some of you may very well be discouraged.

When is a boy a man?
This simple question can cause hours upon hours of debate. Each culture has their own ideas and customs that shape their opinions on this matter. For instance, according to Jewish culture when a boy reaches his 13th birthday he has become a man and should receive the rights of every other man. Then you have cultures like the US who's laws and customs further confuse the situation. A prime example would be that a "man" has to register for the draft at 18 and has the ability to vote. However, he is not capable of  being responsible with alcohol until he is 21. In addition, the upper and middle classes have allowed "men" to extend childhood until they have graduated college. Once they do that then they are not a child anymore. At that point we can hold them accountable for their actions.  The truth is that when determining when a man is truly a man has nothing to do with age. It has nothing to do with when we are legally allowed to do things and it definitely has nothing to do with the completion of a degree.The American culture and Christian culture has failed men.

Who judges what a real man is or how a real man behaves?
This is a more complicated question with a much simpler answer. EVERYONE.
At least everyone has their own opinions on the matter. Then we compile the cultural and subcultural expectations and not only does everyone have an opinion, but that same person has several different criteria at work when forming their opinions. The most important person forming these opinions is the man's opinion of himself. However, his opinion is skewed by the same factors as everyone else. Please brace yourself for this next statement. American culture has not only made it hard become a Godly man it  dumped a mountain in the path of every male child. Unfortunately, the church tends to turn a blind eye to this fact and leaves young "men" to figure it out on their own. There is also a cultural side effect at work  here because "real men don't ask for help".

In summary, American culture has destroyed any benchmark a man previously could have used to "come of age". It has produced an environment in which young men are constantly fed negative messages, images, and misrepresentations of what a true man is. To finish the job it helped develop in men a sense of inadequacy and shame if they ask for help. This is the starting point that every Godly father has to overcome.

 Now for what you all have been waiting for.

#1 A Godly father must first understand the responsibility God has given him as a husband.

Read  Ephesians 5:22 -28

This scripture is widely misused and misrepresented by both those inside and outside the faith. The majority of them want to stop at verse 24. Feminists like to use this so show that Christians not only don't value women but they actually place them below men. While Christianity does place women below men Christians didn't do that. God did that. In fact, he also told us that you would have a bad attitude about it all back in Genesis. Before I get off on a tangent let me get back to Ephesians. The key to this scripture actually comes in verses 25-28. In these verses the husbands role in the family is explained. Verses 22-24 become more of a footnote in comparison. God tells the woman that her husband is her head and she needs to submit to him in all things. Then in 25-28 he turns to the husband and essentially says....Congratulations. I am entrusting my daughter into your care. It now your responsibility to daily give up your own wants, needs, and desires so that you can serve your wife. I will be holding you accountable for how well she is taken care of physically, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually. If a man wants to force submission upon his wife and claim that she is going against scripture he more than likely needs to reexamine how well he is fulfilling the role God has given him. There will be times when a husband and wife disagree on a course of action. In the end as above the final decision is the responsibility of the husband. However, if he is truly being a Godly husband then his decision is driven by his responsibility not his own personal motives. He is never allowed to make decisions that are best for him. He has to make decisions that he believes to be in the best interest of them as a couple and later in the best interest of the family. The wife of a Godly husband should know from experience that her husband is leading in such a way and submission should not really even be an issue. This is not to say there will not be strong arguments or that during the process a wife will be happy of the final decision. It simply means that in the end she will respect and abide by the decision. It also means that if the decision ends up being the wrong one she is not rubbing it in her husbands face.

#2 A Godly Father should have 1 main goal

We will keep it simple and stay in Ephesians. Ephesians 6:4

In verses 1-3 we see that children are suppose to obey and honor their parents. Then in verse 4 God focuses back in on the man. To paraphrase the man is not suppose to purposely frustrate his kids. Instead he needs to teach and train them to love and respect the Lord. TALL ORDER! Notice that this directive was not given to the mother. Fathers are not allowed to say my wife can handle the kids I just go to work. God places you in the same role for the children as he did for your wife. The Father is held accountable for how well he takes care of the children God places in his care. It is the mans responsibility to ensure A love and respect for God is instilled in his children.

The next few items are less controversial and so I will not be providing the biblical foundation. However, I will instead offer some insight into the male thinking/ interpretation of them.

#3 A Godly man provides for his family. 

This is a commonly accepted statement but many women fail to see the significance of it or how intensely it is felt by their husbands. God has built within men this desire to provide deep down every many knows its their responsibility. This makes financial stress on the family amplified 10 fold for a man. In fact, their is often shame and disappointment felt even if you are "making it". I will tell 1 story to illustrate this point. Once my wife wanted to go hang out and have a cup of coffee with a friend. At the time we did not have the extra money to spend on the gas it would have taken. To my wife it was a mild disappointment and no big deal. However, to tell her we could not afford for her to have a cup of coffee with a friend was like putting a dagger into my stomach. I had thoughts like this " What a great provider you cant even afford for your wife to have a cup of coffee". While this may be irrational the thoughts and feelings still exist. If you are a woman reading this do not suggest to your husband that your friend can pay that would make it FAR FAR worse.

#4 A Godly man protects his family. 

This is physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This is another area that is readily accepted but can be difficult to actually carry out. The physically side of this is the part most people think about but that is the easy part. Emotionally and spiritually are hard because sometimes we have no idea what we are doing. In fact to emotionally protecting our wife and kids is extremely hard for us well at least me. Men are not nearly as attuned to emotions as women. Thus we have to work much harder to fulfill this part of our role.

There is obviously a lot more I could talk about but I have not even gotten to my foster care post yet and it is 2:40 AM. I will finish by reverting back to the title again. A Godly Father may not hold up the Heavens, but he does feel the weight of heaven upon him. God has placed a large amount of responsibility on men and we are in constant need of his Grace.

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