Updated: Jun 27, 2018
FAITH OF OUR FATHERS is a Catholic Hymn written by Fredrick William Faber
in 1849. Although Dr. Faber’s hymns were written, at least in part, as a defense of the
Church of England, the words contained in this particular work can quite possibly serve as a defense of the Faith of our Fathers. Some of the lyrics suggest that in spite of the threat of dungeon, fire, or sword, the faith of our fathers stayed firm. I would like to think that is true when it comes to our faith in Jesus Christ as fathers. Fathers, regardless of what happens, we continue to be strong in our faith.
Each year, normally the second Sunday in June, we honor our fathers. We honor
them for the very important role they play in our everyday lives AND in the
establishment and continuity of our faith. In the Bible, Ephesians 6: 2-4, the writer
stresses to his readers that God requires all Christians to honor their fathers. He writes;
“Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that
it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land.” However, he adds
an additional requirement to Christian fathers by stating; “Fathers, don’t stir up anger in
your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
These are two very significant components of Faithful Father honoring, both of which are important in the process of appropriately demonstrating the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
Witnessing to the those around us, through Faith, Hope, and Love, and the way we
demonstrate these attitudes and behaviors to those closest to us, is proof that
Christians have indeed been changed and our desires and behaviors are redeemed.
Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
These verses in Ephesians 6 begin with the principal of honoring a faithful father.
A faithful father is worthy of honor. The reward for being one may not be metals or money. Being a good dad may not find you fame or fortune but being a faithful father should merit you honor, at least among your family. A father who is faithful is a father who can be depended on, someone who keeps his word, someone who invests his time and energy on those who look to him as father and such attributes are greatly appreciated. I have listened to many fathers talk about their work ethic and how their family is their motivation for working long hours. Although it may seem admirable on the surface, neglecting to spend time with your family can be very harmful.
"It is important to remember that our family needs our time not just our money."
As fathers, we have a responsibility to take care of our family financially but we also should feel a need to spend time with them. Time is perhaps our most precious gift. A father who prioritizes time with his family is a faithful father worthy of honor.
Being a faithful father is a wonderful witness to the those around us but honoring
our faithful fathers is an effective witness as well. The way Christians treat our fathers
says something to the world about how we feel about God. Ultimately, if we love and
honor our heavenly Father some of that honor will spill over onto how we treat our
earthly fathers. In one of Jesus’ sermons (John 8) he talked about the religious leaders
of Israel who were more religious than they were righteous. (Let that never be said of us
if at all possible. People outside the church abhor religious supremacy and legalistic
snobbery.) Referring to such religious fathers, Jesus said; “You are of your father the
devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.” In other words, “Your actions display
who your daddy is.” The fact is this; You WILL honor a father. The question is; Which
one? Will you choose to honor a faithful father? You should if you have one. The
positive results will be multitudinous including being very pleasing to God and also
being very encouraging to your father. In addition, your willingness to honor your faithful
father(s) will be a wonderful witness to those around you. The writer of 1 Corinthians
2:15 reminds us that we “may have countless instructors in Christ, but we don’t have
many fathers.” When you find a faithful father honor him. When you do you will add
years to your life. But how do you honor a dishonorable dad?
"Some dads play hide-and-seek and not the fun kind of hide-and seek. The kind where a child looks for him, but he’s hardly ever home."
A daughter asks for some of his time, but he’s usually too busy. A son begs him to play ball, but he’s too tired. Or the dad gives of his time, but his attention is somewhere else. Some dads play hide-and-seek with their secret lifestyles – attempting to disguise the wounds they’ve inflicted with cute little bandages called excuses and lies. Sadly, some dads have gone into permanent hiding, leaving children unfulfilled and with many unanswered questions.
The facts are that a third of the children in the United States live without a father in their home. The impact is devastating, accounting for 63% of youth suicides, 90% of homeless and runaway children, 85% of behavior disorders, 80% of rapists, and 71% of high school dropouts.
Why are “hidden” dads so common? I think if we try to discover a cause, we will find ourselves digging way back in history until we get to the beginning of time. I’m sure some cultures have less of this than others, but I doubt there are many. I’d like to suggest another cause.
Since the Bible frequently refers to God as our Father, it’s no surprise that Satan would seek to discredit that role through painful human experiences. If Satan can make the earthly father/child relationship miserable, then he can stir all sorts of doubt, pain, and resentment in the spiritual relationship, too. We cannot excuse human fathers for poor choices but we should be reminded of who our true enemy is and expose his devious tactics. Perhaps these are a few ways we can do that. To begin with we can Recognize who the real enemy is and refuse to let him have the upper hand in your heart.
The Bible says “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). I know that there are many people who are hurt, even devastated, by their father’s treatment and disappointed that they have never received the kindness, love, and sense of safety a faithful father gives. However, as Christians, who desire to demonstrate Faith, Hope, and Love to the world around us, it is so important that we learn to forgive our fathers for their dishonorable behavior. One way we do this is by being realistic about our fathers.
Realize your dad operates out of his own wounds – quite possibly inflicted by his father. The writer of Romans states; “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me'” (Romans 15:1-3, NIV). This kind of empathetic consideration is rare among human beings but should be fairly common with those of us who have been redeemed by Christ Jesus our Lord. If we show compassion should it not begin with those closest to us? One of the kindest things you can do for your father is remember the good things about him.
Record a list of your father’s strengths and honor those. Can’t think of any? Start with the fact that you carry his DNA. For the past few months I have been trying to help my mother locate her biological family. You see, mom was adopted at only 6-weeks old and she has never known her birth mother nor any members of her birth family. Just recently, due to DNA testing, she was able to meet her biological brothers and sister. There is something special about sharing the same DNA. It’s not much but it may be enough to help you find some compassion for your father. Possibly some of your good qualities have come from him too. Surely there are some. The writer of Philippians gives us a good reminder when he says; “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8, NIV).
Don’t forget to Request in prayer that God restore your dad to the man He created him to be. If he’s no longer alive, pray for God to restore a vision of that in your heart. Remember that “God created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:27)
Finally, Refuse to let Satan interfere in your relationship with your Father God any longer. Let God be what He longs to be for you. After all, He is the Father to the fatherless. Remember this awesome Psalm: (Psalm 68:1, 4-5)
Let God arise, Let His enemies be scattered; Let those also who hate Him flee before Him. . . . Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, By His name YAH, And rejoice before Him. A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
Rev. Wiley Hughes
D.Min., Psy.D., FBPPC, LPCA, NCC
Apostolic Leader of Destiny Now