Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
When Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, penned our focus text, the assumption was that fathers would be around to influence the lives of their children. His concern hits the mark on how we should avoid pushing our children too far while bringing them up in a Christian environment with Biblical instruction. But Paul’s words do not address a problem that exists in many homes today, fatherless households.
In my opinion, the disintegration of the family is one of the biggest problems facing our world today. My heart goes out to the single moms who are filling the gap and pulling double duty as father and mother.
Parents who have remained together and committed to rearing their children in the ways of the Lord are no longer the rule, but the exception.
Currently, in the United States, 20 million children live in homes without the physical presence of a father. According to our most recent U.S. Census, 33% of our children live apart from their biological fathers. A survey conducted by the National Center for Fathering indicates that 72.2% of respondents view fatherlessness as the most significant family or social problem facing America.
Consider what fatherlessness in America has caused. According to an article in the Journal of Research on Adolescence, September 2004, “Young men who grow up in homes without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families. Additionally, 63% of youth suicides, 85% of all children with behavioral disorders, 71% of all high school dropouts, and 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions — come from fatherless homes.
The family has always been important, but now more than ever. And the family has fallen apart because we have abandoned godly values in our society. God’s boundaries, with moral absolutes, and a healthy respect for authority are essential for producing responsible citizens who work for good and make positive contributions to our world.
For a structure to survive the storms of life it must have a solid foundation. Parents, both fathers and mothers, must be fully vested, involved, engaged, and mutually committed to the well-being of their children.
Think about this, we have gotten so far away from God that adherence to the Biblical instruction in Ephesians 6:4 is near impossible. Like I said, Paul’s teaching assumes a father and a Christian home.
If you are a divorced father or mother with your birth children living in another home, don’t shirk your responsibility to stay involved in their lives. Love them. Spend time with them. Support them financially and emotionally. Model a godly life for them and teach them about the Lord.
For the single parent, devote yourself to providing a godly environment and teaching your children the way they should live based on God’s word.
If you are remarried, even if the children in your household are not yours by birth, devote yourself to loving them and rearing them in the ways of the Lord.
For all of us in the faith, let us pray that our nation will come to its senses and recognize its need for godly families surrendered to Christ.
Pray for your family and for all families. And pray for revival among fathers that men will answer the call to be the dads God intended.
For more on this topic, check out this article: The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Children
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.