The Hearts of the Fathers
Hi guys, I had a chance to sit in on a time that a few of the brothers were spending with some of the boys the other night learning some history, and frankly I was shocked and disappointed. The time itself was good and the boys were respectful and relatively self-controlled. But once the sit down time was “over” many of the boys regressed into a certain level of silliness, fun-centeredness, and were just generally immature. Most of them were 11 or 12 yrs old, and I couldn’t help but think of Jesus as a 12-year-old, in the temple, discussing the Scriptures with the teachers of the Law. If you’ll permit me to say this, most of the boys seemed years away from being able to do such a thing, not just from a lack of knowledge about the Scriptures, but from a lack of character, maturity, self-control and Heavenly priorities. I began to consider ways to remedy their situation. The most effective solution I could see was based on this fact:
Becoming a real boy VITALLY DEPENDS on having a dad that is a real man and having many dads that are real men.
Or another way:
If the Life of Jesus Himself—His Qualities, His Priorities, His Character, His Love, His Zeal for the Father’s House—is not fully alive and well in you, then you will have a very difficult time trying to impart those things to your sons (and daughters). The children are becoming who you are. You may be able to COMMUNICATE a high vision with your words, but who you are is what you will IMPART.
So, if you are lacking, then 1) Turn to Jesus, repent and be changed and 2) Aggressively integrate other men in whom you do see Jesus into the life of your son (and you should do this regardless, since Jesus is so multi-faceted and you don’t have all the gifts that your child needs to flourish).
These are a few things that can so easily be imparted to them that absolutely must NOT be imparted:
Misplaced priorities: Do they see us get all excited about things that are so undeserving of our affections and energies? Sports, work/business, electronics, food, movies, gear (computers, sports or otherwise), current events, etc.
Lack of character: laziness/sloppiness, anger/temper, complaining/bitterness, foolishness, COWARDICE, lack of righteous zeal towards sin, arrogance about what we know, arrogance about what we can do, arrogance about what we “own,” apathy, defensiveness, shyness, loudness (“hey, look at me everyone”), talkative/constant joking, worry, self-centeredness, crumbling under failure or pain, emotionally unstable, etc.
Lack of Kingdom perspective and building: independent functioning, closed about our “personal” and inner lives, functioning in the worldly “us four and no more” mindset, building up our own paneled houses, sacrificing little for others, acting on natural instincts, overall attachment to seen world issues and priorities, not passionate about “as in Heaven, so on earth,” etc.
Do you see any of these things in your son? Do you see them in yourself? What about writing down the ones that you see and telling others (those with whom you and your children have close relationships)? Ask them for help. Ask them what they see. One of the things that I’ve been guilty of in the past is being soft on sin in my son’s life if I saw the same sin in my own life. Only the righteous are as “bold as a lion.” If I won’t have the courage to nail it with energy in my life, then I won’t have the courage to nail it in his life, at least not with any integrity. If we both have raised the same dragon, then it becomes difficult to kill HIS because we both have raised the same pet. If I coddle my dragons, then they can kill us both.
“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
Fathers, we are the keystone here. We must do our part. We must be Fathers to our sons and to each other’s sons.
One final thought...if your son were to write a paper about all the similarities he sees between you and Jesus, how much could he write? I know there might be some things he doesn’t see or some things he couldn’t articulate very well, but is there enough about Jesus’ life that comes through you that he could say, “In my dad, I see Jesus in the way he...And in the way he...” Just a thought to remind us to make sure that there are real and tangible ways we are expressing Jesus, that we truly are dying to WHO we are, and are more and more becoming WHO He is.
With much love, hope, and need for change, Stephen