We really need to understand the role that fatherhood plays in our life. God has presented Himself to us as a father. And the theme of fatherhood right through our history, right through our parenting and wars and family and cultures and of course in faith and the Bible, fatherhood is one of the key elements of our upbringing, of our development. A father brings into his son or daughter some of the most important things that you and I need to develop.
Let me begin with self-esteem. Self-esteem is something that any and every human being has to live with, they have to work with. They draw their energy, they draw their strength from their self-esteem. The ability to recognize, to know, that you are worth, you are somebody in this world. Fathers bring that to their children. It is the father’s confidence in a child, a father’s affirmation of a child, an assurance of the child, it’s in his word, it’s in his eyes, that you first find that confidence. Self-esteem without your dad, speaking words of life and meaning and direction into you, without a dad to please, without someone whose smile and whose joy grips you, life is very difficult.
We’re saying that there are some key areas that are underdeveloped when a father has been absent. I’m going to give you long term solutions. I’m not just going to leave you there, if this has been your experience. I want to work with you on getting you out of that and getting you beyond. Now, one of a hundred guys or girls would probably say, “You know what, I didn’t have that but I’m going to live, I’m going to make something out of myself and I’m going to move forward, I’m going to win”. One of a hundred. But most would live for the affirmation of an absent father. And that void that is left in their soul leaves them not wanting to do even well in life, not wanting to relate to other men, other authorities.
Let me tell you some of the most important areas.
Correction and authority: when you have not experienced it from a loving father, then every other arena becomes correction and authority without love, without that confidence that comes from the fact that you know that this authority is being established upon you with your interest in mind. Every other authority is established or is executed on top of you, was implemented upon you or top of you, for their own interest. But the only one you truly trust is your dad. And when that hasn’t happened, then you will suspect any and every authority as self-interest, as with agenda. You will not be able to relate to authority the way you’re supposed to, when dad has been absent in your life.
Another area is affection. It primarily comes from dad. You see, moms are there and they nurture and they hug and they kiss, but the latter years, where you learn to associate with other people, where you learn to be comfortable with yourself, comfortable with your body (again, going back to self-esteem), comfortable with your masculinity or your femininity, a lot of that comes from dad. And when dad has not given you physical affirmation, physical affection, again, my friend, no matter how much you think you can cope with it, it has affected, it has done its damage. Now, this doesn’t mean you go and start beating up on your dad and start blaming your dad for everything but I’m just trying to get to the root problem so that you understand how God wants to heal and how God wants to compensate for that.
When God says “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), He knows what He’s talking about. But some of the damages come from there. When your dad has not been affectionate, you don’t know how to be correctly affectionate with other men, you don’t know how to treat women properly, affection from that point becomes sensual, it becomes sexual, it doesn’t become filial, it doesn’t become healthy, and then you misconstrue and misinterpret any bit of affection whether from men or from women, and it seriously affects you.
Another area in your life is absolution. Absolution is when you are told “It’s okay beta, it’s alright. I forgive you.” Those are words that we need to hear. We need to hear I am forgiven. And when I do something wrong, mummy always says “Wait till daddy comes home”. Mummy always says “dad is going to be very upset about this”. But when dad addresses the issue, and he executes punishment or reprimands or correction, and then after that he says “Come, let me give you a hug”, and you do something wrong or you do something stupid, your dad corrects you and then he completes that process with saying “I forgive you, come” and he restores that love.
If that process is not complete, if you’ve had a father that just looked at you with that look saying “you’ll never be good enough” or a father just walked away and you don’t know what he’s thinking, a father who never closed the deal, a father who left you hanging, a father who didn’t give you that final closure of saying “I forgive you”, that is absolution. Absolution is when a father executes forgiveness and tells you “This will not come up again. You’re free to go.” That is something that leaves a lot of people wanting more correction.
So, you see young boys getting up to more mischief because actually what they want is that full process. You see young juveniles or you see teenagers being more rebellious. Actually, what they want is the end product, a make up of that entire story. They want to be corrected, they desperately want to be corrected, and fathers don’t do that, so therefore…and many fathers don’t have the guts to correct, they don’t have the love to correct. And God says, ‘When a father loves his son, he corrects his son’ (Hebrews 12:6). So, it’s a love issue. Again, God wants to go the distance and complete that story for you.
But let me tell you the good news. There isn’t any area where you are broken or hurting or damaged because of the absence of your father, there isn’t any area that God cannot heal. God can heal. God can replace that, not with another person, but by Himself. He can replace that, He can heal that, He can measure up and He can go further than any father has ever gone, to bring you back and restore in you what has been lost. That is the miracle of Jesus. That is what Jesus can do for you. Cause Jesus says, “I have come and all that the Father, all who the Father draws to me, I will in no wise cast out. I will not lose anyone that the Father has given to me and I will bring them back to the Father.” That’s what Jesus is all about. To follow Jesus is to get back to the Father. The only Father who’s ever really loved you, the only Father who knows exactly what you need. And no matter how much has been robbed of you or stolen from you or kept from you, God can reimburse.