For many years now there has been a search for fathers. People usually want to connect with their father down deep in their spirits, even if they had a bad father. The desire for reconciliation, and maybe even restoration, is extremely intense in some of us. The theme of fatherhood runs throughout Hollywood movies and books of every description. Unfortunately, most examples of fathers are terrible with rare exceptions.
One of the more popular ones in recent years was that of the evil Darth Vader, formerly Anakin Skywalker, who ruled the galaxy alongside the Satanic-like Emperor Palpatine, and his son Luke, whose initial reaction to Vader’s declaration that “I am your father” was something akin to finding out your father was Hitler, Pol Pot or Ted Bundy! “Nooooooooooooooo!” The rest of the story was several fights to the death between these two before Luke knew there was “still good” in Vader, whom he eventually “saved,” only to have him die in his arms when the Death Star blew up.
God the Father, who created all in His Son Jesus, wants very badly to intimately connect with every son or daughter He created for his pleasure (Rev. 4:11). Despite accusations that He is to blame for many of the world’s ills, this wonderful Person truly loves each person on planet earth and desires their greatest blessings and for them to experience real love and peace. His heart longs to know you and for you to know Him, but things have gotten in the way.
Jesus the Way AND the Revelation
Theologically speaking, Evangelicals customarily quote John 14:6 as Jesus saying He’s the only way to heaven: “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except by me.” Although this is a true statement, the context is that of Jesus answering not only the way to the father but of Phillip’s query that Jesus “show us the father.” Jesus’ heart desire for all people was and is to reveal His Father to them and to glorify Him in every situation. In John 17, the high priestly prayer of Christ, He is found asking the Father to make us one with them, to join the Holy Trinity in such an enveloping presence that people may know us by their love that shines through us.
It’s interesting that Christians usually relate to different persons of the Godhead: Some are more focused on God the Father in some churches, although real intimacy with the Father may be sorely lacking. Other Christians relate more to Jesus as Savior and Lord, while Pentecostals and Charismatics may relate more intimately to the Holy Spirit. The truth is, like the crude example of the three-legged stool, if one leg is missing, the stool is unbalanced! Our Lord wants all His people to have intimate fellowship with all three members of the Godhead!
In God’s dispensational economy, He has revealed Himself to humankind in various ways with more emphasis on one Person of the Trinity than the other. Until the time of Jesus, God revealed Himself as Jehovah God, primarily through leaders such as Moses, Daniel and other prophets, and the Kings such as David and Solomon. Then Jesus came to reveal the Father and do His works, and to leave us the sweet Holy Spirit to take His place. Since Pentecost the Holy Spirit’s power and presence have been available to every Christian who would receive and be blessed with the Comforter and His gifts.
It’s also interesting that in church history, after several hundred years of being lost in formality and rituals, God began to restore us once again to the richness of the Trinity by giving us Luther (teaching justification), the Wesleys (teaching sanctification) and from there to the 1920s Azusa Street outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power and love until now, sometimes known as “the Latter Rain.” In our day we are beginning to see a greater emphasis once again on the Fatherhood of God.
Unfortunately, this understanding and revelation was lost to many people who were poorly fathered by their earthly dads. So, God began to teach us what was wrong – what was blocking this intimacy with the Father.
There is a “Father Factor” in our nation’s worst social problems
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America — one out of every three — live in biological father-absent homes. Nine in ten American parents agree this is a “crisis.”
Consequently, there is a “father factor” in nearly all of the social issues facing America today. But the hope lies in the fact that children with involved fathers do better across every measure of child wellbeing than their peers in father-absent homes.
For more information on the impact of fatherlessness, see http://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistics for data on the positive impact of father involvement, and data on the effects of father absence on poverty, maternal and child health, incarceration, crime, teen pregnancy, child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, education and childhood obesity.
Can you envision not only the impact of human fatherlessness on generation after generation, but also the perception foisted upon our Heavenly Father, whose goodness and light are obscured by our darkened spiritual eyes?
“He who curses his father or his mother, his lamp will go out in time of darkness” (Proverbs 20:20).
But it’s God’s desire that our eyes be enlightened to know the hope of His calling and our the rich inheritance we have in Him:
“By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones)” (Ephesians 1:18 AMP).
To curse, as in the 20/20 scripture above (interesting that God named the ability to see clearly by giving us that numbered verse, isn’t it?), means to take lightly; to treat as worthless; to treat contemptuously; to curse. Under the Mosaic Law this brought a death penalty (Ex. 21:17; Lev 20:9; Deut. 27:16).
This was indeed severe, but today, rather than experience physical harm or death (praise the Lord!), we’ve cursed ourselves with sicknesses, a shortened life, embattled relationships, job loss, devastated finances, etc. The sad thing is this happens to good people, people who shouldn’t be experiencing such things, but dishonoring parents brings hardship and trials that are inexplicable.
This is not to say some of these things are just part of living and life, but in many cases they are the result of dishonor and judgments made against parents. One Christian author says dishonoring parents is the number one reason for most difficulties in life! I think you agree that’s a mouthful!
In the New Testament we find the same commandment as in the above Old Testament references with two promises – that you may live long and prosper.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right. 2 Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother—this is the first commandment with a promise—3 That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth” (Eph. 6:1-3 Amp).
How we see God
In every way we have judged our parents, to that degree, our view of God is distorted. In other words, we see through a bad pair of spectacles. This is not to say all of them are honorable, but judging is something we can choose not to do through God’s power and grace.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light. But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you [your [r]conscience] is darkened, how dense is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23-24 Amp).
I once worked for an eye bank. Eye banks specialize in extracting a donor’s cornea and providing it to surgeons for transplantation in a patient’s eye who is experiencing very poor sight or even blindness. A cornea is often referred to as “the window of the eye” because it allows light to enter the eye to be ultimately refracted by the retina that sends signals to the brain so we can see. From an ophthalmological point of view, you can see how necessary it is for the cornea to receive proper light to enact the process described here. A bad cornea equals a distorted view of life or no view at all!
In essence, our view of God is reflected by how we have honored or dishonored our parents. Again, some people have had horrendous parents, who don’t deserve honor. However, law is law. As we forgive and give up bitterness and judgments, our view of Father God changes.
God’s bad rap
God very often is seen as angry, vindictive and longing to judge the people of the earth with severity. That’s a very poor picture of who He is. To the contrary, the Father of Lights is a wonderful, loving Father who loves freely and abundantly. Moses once asked God to “show me your glory” (Ex. 34:6). God passed by Moses and described Himself – or His glory – as the following:
“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…” God the Father is compassionate, gracious, slow to get angry, abounding in love and faithfulness. This doesn’t sound like the God most people envision, but it is who He truly is.
Salvation is first light
When we first come to believe in Jesus, the light of the Holy Spirit is given to us, showing us in greater measure WHO Jesus is. As we advance in our maturity in both knowledge and experience, even greater light should illuminate our being, bringing us closer and closer to God the Father UNLESS we’ve made those parental judgments! If we’re cursed in the respect mentioned earlier, our eyes are dimmed, and our image of The Father is obscured.
What to do
- Ask God to show you all the ways in which you have judged your parents, especially your father.
- Repent for making these judgments. You may find this extremely difficult, but do it, anyway.
- Forgive your parents/father, and release them from any “debt” they owe you. You want to wipe the slate clean.
- Ask Jesus to take you to His Father, revealing all He truly is to you – your real father!
- If you’re a guy who’s failed at being a good father to your children, repent of this and begin to ask God to show you how to be the father you need to be.
Your earthly father isn’t your true father (somebody said “thank God!”), but we can experience a greater depth of understanding and appreciating our Heavenly Father by dealing with that earthly one. Believe me, I’ve seen this happen countless times, and I’m sorry, but you don’t get to be the exception –LOL!
Joseph Beckham is the author of Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls http://amzn.com/1493781286