A father to the fatherless: the Biblical implications of the fatherless generation
The fatherless generation
The subject of the fatherless generation hits me hard, because I am a product of that generation. I did not grow up with my father, and I have had little interaction with him over the last 16 years. My mother divorced him when I was a small child, we moved from Oregon to Mississippi, and then I would only spend a few weeks during the summer with him. It was when I was 10 we had a falling out over a stupid argument and then we didn’t speak for almost 13 years. The Lord saved me when I was 15 and I held a lot of anger at him. It wasn’t till a few months before I graduated college that we started to talk again. Now I am trying to build a relationship with him again and sharing the Gospel with him. So as I was studying for this article the statistics about fatherless homes was crushing. I gathered my sources from the NY times, Washington Times, and other news sources. Here are just a few that stuck out:
63% of youth suicides come from fatherless homes
90% of Homeless come from fatherless homes
71% of dropouts of High school come from fatherless homes
People from fatherless homes are more likely to use drugs, drinking, and sexual activities
More likely to divorce
24 million kids (34% of children) are fatherless in America
Single mothers have tripled since 1960
Those are the ones I feel comfortable sharing here and it breaks me to type them out.
Being a father to the fatherless
I cannot explain in proper words how growing up without a father has so deeply affected me. Knowing that you are not loved by your dad is a horrible thing. As a small child I remember seeing my dad here and there and so desperately seeking his approval and wanting to be just like him. Then not having him there, it is shattering. My mother did her best, but there is only so much a mom can do for her son. With the rise of single mother households and such an increase of fathers being absent there is a generation being devastated by not having fathers. Within church culture the same trend is rising. Men are becoming more absent by the day. They might be in the church physically, but they are not actively helping the church. Men are allowing pastors, and youth pastors to be the only spiritual shepherd in their children’s lives, and not taking that responsibility for themselves. For the children without fathers they are left to navigate not only life outside of church, but also their spiritual life is also left to their own devices. Father’s need to step up as men, and men in the church need to step up as fathers to the fatherless.
“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it,2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…….20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.22 And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes.23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day.25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’
The father should be the spiritual leader of the family. He is the one charged with the teaching, disciplining, and bringing the children up in the Lord. Francis Chan once wrote that when you hear that God is your father your very first indication of how to feel about this statement is reflected by your relationship with your own dad. I remember when the Lord saved me and they told me God was my Father. I still remember the initial fear of approval, and abandonment. I was afraid that Christ was going to abandon me like my own dad did or not love me like He said He would. It took a while but I’ll never forget the first time I truly felt God’s love of being my Father. Looking at Chapter 6 of Deut. we see that the father is to teach his children diligently every day of God. Fathers are to raise their children in God’s Word and so that their children will seek the Lord with questions: 20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ Like wise within the church men should be stepping up to disciple young guys. How I wish I could have had someone do that for me. So many years I had to figure out my Christian walk by trial and error. We should be stepping up to disciple and help young Christians in their walk.
I want to leave you with this:
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. – Psalm 27:10