Fathers and Sons: Oil and Water – Part 1 of 2
Why can’t we get it right? It’s all so seemingly simple. Man and woman copulate, and their child is born.
Oh look, it’s a boy, and he looks like daddy. Proud dad smiles, softly strokes his calloused palm over the light blue beanie cap the nurse tugged over junior’s funnel-shaped head, and he feels panic.
Boys Need Dad
Boys love their mom, but they desperately need their dad. Around 6 or so years old, young boys begin to identify with dad’s personality and style of play. They begin to solidify genetically encoded characteristics passed on through generations.
By the time puberty strikes and the boy’s testosterone spikes 800%, he’s actively seeking dad as his chaotic body is rushing full-speed into manhood. The teenager needs his dad to guide him through these years. Modelling is critical during this period. It’s a form of monkey see, monkey do.
This father and son relationship goes beyond the physical aspects of maturity. Boys gain their perception of God through their earthly dad. God created that relationship on earth to mirror the relationship He desired with us in heaven.
But when, where and why does it go off the track?
In The Beginning
The relationships between fathers and sons went wrong right from the start. God loved Adam dearly, but His child separated himself from the Father through sin. Instead of confessing his sin and seeking to restore the lost relationship, Adam never apologized to his Father.
In reality, Adam, after trying to hide his deed before being confronted, then blamed Eve. Eve, of course tried to blame the serpent. Adam, God’s very son, who was created in His own image and given authority over every single thing on earth, surrendered his position by refusing to take responsibility for his actions.
Thus, he lived a life separated from an intimate, mentoring existence with his Father.
As a father, it’s a devastating loss.
therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:23-24
It wasn’t meant to be this way between us. God the Father created men to be kings and conquerors. Before He breathed life into our form, He said to the Son and the Holy Spirit:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”Genesis 1:26
Did you see that? Men were created to look, act and be like God. Not be God, but be like God. The devil tried that, and see how it ended up, but that’s another story. The Father cherished His child. But alas, because of the oil and water between men and boys, the loving dynamic was lost.
A father’s responsibility to their family is indisputable. While a Godly dad can guide his son on a path of wise life choices, a misleading, sin-filled father condemns his children, grandchildren and possibly, his great-grandchildren.
“You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me.”Exodus 20:5
I know you’ve heard the phrase, “He’s his father’s son.” It usually isn’t applied in the kindest of conditions. It’s not unusual for dads who are alcoholic to raise sons who drink, or domestic abusers to raise sons who will beat their wife. Why?
It’s generational sin. The failure of the father and son relationship has implications beyond the current condition. It’s a curse placed on young boys before they even have the ability to understand that they’re already behind life’s 8-ball.
Let’s go back to the beginning. I mean to the absolute beginning.
Adam lost a loving relationship with his Father. He and his wife lost their perfect home in paradise. Life apart from his Father became hard, but Adam did go on with living a meager life. In that struggling existence, he had two sons; Cain and Abel.
Cain’s understanding of God was learned by the example his own dad showed. He, too, sinned because of his selfish rebellion. Instead of stealing fruit like his dad, he committed murder. When God confronted Cain, what did he do? He did what his very own dad did back in the Garden. He tried to deny his sin, and again like his dad, Adam, he never confessed, apologized or repented.
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”Genesis 4:9-12
Yes, Cain was indeed “His father’s son.”
Cain, like his dad was exiled. Not only did he lose a relationship with Adam, but also a loving relationship with the Father. Where do you think Cain learned that behavior? From his dad. It’s no different from fathers and sons today.
When Does It Stop
This destructive curse can stop right now, with you.
I want to take one step back before going forward. It’s vital that you truly understand the historical and biblical significance of these examples. While there are numerous examples of fathers failing their sons, there are also encouraging illustrations of fathers fulfilling their God-ordained role.
It’s also important to know that even if the dad is a crumb, there is still hope for the son. That hope is found in God, the Father. Abraham, who was previously known as Abram was cursed with a horrible father, Terah. He was described as a wicked man who believed in many gods and created idols to sell.
Terah even tried to have his son murdered when Nimrod threw the boy into a fiery furnace because Abram opposed his father’s wicked influence. God protected His son. Abraham went on to become a mighty man and the father of many nations.
Men, we are still being called by our heavenly Father to be the men He first created us to be. It doesn’t matter what the relationship with your dad looked like. It’s a curse, but not an excuse. The curse can be broken by relying on God the Father to save you, the way He did for Abram.
I love this verse. It’s encouraging for men. This is also a description of the Godly dad – Alert, Firm, Faith, Courage, Strong and Love.
Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Be men of courage. Be strong. Do everything in love.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
I will be very honest with you. Wanting, expressing or even giving it your best shot at creating a positive father/son experience will only last so long. While you may have the will, you don’t have the way. Only through a God-centered reliance will you sustain the relationship between father and son.
Playing catch and buying snacks isn’t what it’s about. Being “Fun” Dad isn’t the answer either. God is the only answer and the example. He created the father/son dynamic through His example of being a loving, yet accountable, heavenly Father. This is shown in two of many biblical examples.
A Father’s Pride
Upon Jesus submitting to baptism:
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”Matthew 3:16-17
A Father’s Sorrow
Upon Jesus assuming the sin of the world:
About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means,“My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46
God the Father never forsook His Son. But at the moment Jesus assumed the sin of the world as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, His Father couldn’t look upon Him. God hates sin, but God loves the sinner.
Where To Begin
Son to Dad:
Men, if the relationship with your own dad is strained or non-existent, you must pray God makes the changes in you to bring a restorative relationship. Before you delete this message in anger or disagreement because your dad hurt or offended you, please spend time in expectant prayer about restoration. Allow God to talk to you about this.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.”Exodus 20:12
God does not entitle you with the option of judging your father. He commands you to honor him. He adds the caveat that your days will be prolonged. The father/son relationship is vital to having peace in your life. Even if the two of you don’t hang out to watch football, you must work for restoration.
Dad to Son:
Dads, I wish I could convince you that you are in the company of an overwhelming number of other dads who are in the same or similar situation as you are in regards to your relationship with your son.
Don’t just blow it off as something that didn’t work out. Pray to God that He will make the changes in you that your son will come to understand. It’s never too late, and they’re never too old to restore the relationship with your son.
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.Psalms 127:3-4
Dads, whether it’s hurt, anger or ego, we are entrusted to guide our sons into manhood. Remember, we are the example for our boys and where their own perceptions of God will be developed. I know it’s tough, and it gets tougher as we/ they get older.
“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Colossians 3:21
But, if your relationship with your son brings you pain, recall how the relationship with your father makes you feel. If it was a positive one, doesn’t your son deserve the same? If it was one of dysfunction, do you want to be the one who continues the generational sin of failing relationships? Be the man described in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, and stop the cycle.
Lead from the front,