The Failure Of Fatherlessness

Many people consider their family relationships to be the most important relationships they have in life. It is in the context of family that we typically feel the most comfortable and the most loved. So, what comes to your mind when you think of your father? Is it positive or negative? Do you think selfless or selfish? Do you think provider or neglecter? Do you think protector or abuser? Do you think leader or follower? Do you think of respect or disrespect? Do you think trainer or taunter? Do you think tender or tyrannical?

Whether or not you have a good association with and appreciation for the role of fathers likely has much to do with your personal experience with your own father. From a purely biological perspective each of us has had a father, and we would not exist without them; but most would agree that there is much more to good fathering than simply bringing a child into the world.

Fatherhood is being diminished in our culture, and this is the fault of fathers failing to be what God has called them to be, to lead as God has called them to lead, to teach what God has called them to teach, and to love as God has called them to love. The resulting damage of these failures is incalculable, but it is ultimately manifested in a culture that rejects God as its Father and rebels against His Word to its own hurt spiritually, emotionally, socially, and physically.

Fathers, we are our children’s first impression of Father God. We need to take this seriously. If we do not, then our children’s view of God is going to be warped. Fathers are explicitly given the responsibility to train their children in God’s ways (Eph. 6:4), and this would have to include modeling God in our leadership, discipline, love, and grace. To fail to do this is to fail our children and to provoke them to wrath. What does that mean? What does that look like? Fatherless homes produce 63% of youth suicides, 70% of all inmates, 71% of all high school dropouts, 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers, 85% of all children who show behavior disorders, and 90% of all homeless and runaway children.1

Yet, we are being told by some modern social engineers that the role of fathers is unimportant. As our world grapples with questions about marriage and gender roles, many—in  an  effort    to affirm and make people feel good about their personal inclinations and choices—are failing to consider the impact that such selfish choices will have on future generations. Children’s needs are not being reasonably and adequately considered.

Certainly, there are too many who can point to abusive men who have been poor husbands and fathers; but those individual experiences are no warrant for re-engineering the family and removing fathers from a role that is more essential than many are willing to admit.  The conscious decision of many men and women to have sexual relationships outside the commitment of marriage (fornication - Heb. 13:4) dishonors marriage and the intimacy that God intended only for that permanent relationship (Gen. 2:18-25) and also naturally conceives children who, through no fault of their own, are born into uncommitted and insecure relationships. Culturally, we have come to believe that this is no “big deal.” Yet, even if the divine intent for human reproduction is unwisely and carelessly discarded as antiquated, the social consequences ought to arrest our attention.

For decades we have observed an increase in what used to be called juvenile delinquency. This has happened in conjunction with a general lowering of standards in all areas, including the redefinition of marriage and family. Any right-thinking person wants to find solutions to these increasing social ills; but, unfortunately, most are trying to fix moral problems without a moral standard. Social efforts to do this through a civil government that has rejected any use of biblical standards as unconstitutional has only exacerbated the problems.

We reap what we sow. This is a scientifically sound principle (Law of Biogenesis) which has a spiritual counterpart (Gal. 6:7, 8) given by God, the Creator of nature and Author of Scripture. If we sow radishes, we cannot expect to reap corn. If we sow to the flesh, we cannot expect to reap spiritual fruit. If we disregard God’s standards and redefine His terms in an attempt to validate our desires, we should not be surprised when we get bad results.

In an article entitled “Family fragmentation: Can anything be done?” 2, syndicated columnist Michael Barone observed and bemoaned the problems of fatherlessness from a purely secular perspective and concluded, “Few Americans want to stigmatize single parents. But should we be afraid to tell people there’s a better way?” No, we should not be afraid. Yet, in the name of love (redefined), we have labeled ideals, standards, and moral judgments as hate speech when, in fact, these things are exactly what is needed to correct the awful trend toward social chaos. Simply put in biblical terminology, we need to repent! Fathers need to repent of their abuse, failures through neglect, and abandonment. If fathers don’t repent and change, then not only will our social problems multiply, but we’ll be damned (cf. Mat. 3:7-12).         

1  Statistics gleaned from various sources. See: