A Father’s Greatest Call
Father’s Day will be celebrated by many people on Sunday, June 18 in the United States. It is also celebrated by over 40 other countries on different dates. This day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influences of fathers in society. This special day can bring great joy for some, and for others, a sense of sadness. For those who have pleasant memories of their father, there can be the great desire to want to honor them on Father’s Day. For others, their dad has passed away, and they are left with grief and sorrow. Still others may not have had a good relationship with their fathers and are left with hurt, anger, and/or even a bitterness of soul toward them. If the latter is the case, it is imperative that the father be forgiven. Forgiveness does not have to be a feeling but a decision of obedience to Jesus. He said, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses" (Mk. 11:25). I often see men and women who have not forgiven their fathers or someone else, and they are either depressed and/or angry. In humility before my Lord, I explain to them that Jesus cannot forgive them of their sin until they forgive others. Sin opens the door to the devil, who comes in to steal, kill, and destroy (Jn. 10:10). Besides, the sin of another becomes a part of who we are if we do not forgive. This does not imply that we have to have fellowship with those who have hurt us or our family, but we must forgive.
My own father was a constant student of the Word. He loved the people that he pastored in our church. He was most devoted to the work of ministry but was certainly not present for my family. His father was an alcoholic; therefore, he did not have the example of what a father was supposed to be to his family. I starved for my dad’s attention, love, and affirmation; but he was always too busy with the church. I would often say or do things for him to gain his attention but to no avail. Soon, I felt unworthy and suffered low self-esteem. I found myself striving for perfection in all that I did, trying to “add up” to my own expectations. I did achieve many awards, high school and college honors, and honorary achievements. …But in my early days, nothing filled the void of my desire for my father’s acceptance. I am most grateful that I did have a mother who was always present for me. She encouraged me and loved me unconditionally. Thank God, I had her but I needed my dad, too.
I knew as a young mother that the Lord had called me into the ministry, but I had so many insecurities. What was I to do? I needed confidence before my God and man (1 Jn. 5:14&15). I knew that “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). The Lord led me to daily look into the mirror and quote the Word over myself. I decreed, “Charlotte, you are blessed in the city and in the country (Deut. 28:3); you are blessed when you come in and when you go out (v.6); you are the head and not the tail, and above only and not beneath (v.13); you are accepted in the beloved (Jesus Christ), (Eph. 1:6); etc. A confidence came to my heart that I was truly accepted by Jesus just the way I was.
Too many sons and daughters are suffering because of an absent or abusive father. Some fathers don’t know how to be a father, as we have seen, because their father wasn’t a good example. May our fathers be filled with the heavenly Father, allowing Him to give to them the wisdom that they need to father their children. “For you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you just as a father does [in dealing with] his own children, [guiding you] to live lives [of honor, moral courage, and personal integrity] …” (1 Thes. 2:11, Amp.). I declare to all fathers, your greatest call in ministry is to raise your children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).