Let’s be honest, regardless of how good your father is it’s fairly easy to find some fault with him– if that’s what you’re looking for. However, before you take that route I want to suggest that you stop and think about some things you might not have considered.
There is no question about it–God expects us to honor our father. What you might not realize is that many of them, the best of them, feel undeserving. They are aware of their faults and failures, and wish they were better. Sometimes, although greatly appreciated, the nice things said about them in a Father’s Day card hurts more than the words of a critic. They hurt because they are aware of their shortcomings. They want to live up to the glowing compliments and it hurts when they don’t. They wish they could live up to the exaggerated statements about them and are embarrassed when they can’t.
— He became a father without any experience.
There is no trial run, practice period, or special class to prepare him for such a difficult task. You can’t expect perfection. There is not a father on earth who could not have done better and most of us wish we had! It’s not easy dealing with the many different needs of a child, especially when you have no training whatsoever.
— Learning is a process.
Fathers have to learn as they go and sometimes life is going faster than their learning rate. They are always playing catch-up. Just about the time you think you’ve got it all figured out you’ve got a teenager and that’s a game changer for sure. Nobody is ready for that!
— He has other responsibilities as well.
There is no way dear old dad can give you his full attention all the time. He has other things to do–like putting food on the table. If you had any idea what he has to deal with on the job you might give him more credit than you do. It’s easy to find fault when you don’t have to earn the money, pay the bills, and take care of other stuff you never thought about.
— He is probably more aware of and concerned about his faults than you are.
Give him some credit. Naturally there are exceptions, but most fathers care more than you think. Dads are not like moms. A mother’s love is up-front and personal, it’s unmistakable. Dad’s aren’t always that way–even if they should be, and it can be for a number of reasons. But men cry too. You might be surprised if you knew just how many tears your dad shed because of his failures.
— He struggles with his growth and character development just like everyone else.
Don’t expect more from him than he is able to give. If you knew his whole story, what he experienced as a child, you might be more patient with him. It doesn’t excuse his sin, but it helps you understand a bit better. He might never become all that he should be (the same is true of you). But–
— He is your father and is to be shown respect, regardless of his failures.
His faults do not excuse yours. His sins do not give you the right to be unloving and unkind. There is no denying, some fathers are as mean as junk-yard dog, as selfish as a pig, and as unconcerned as a rock. It is awful that you have such a man for a father, but he is your father and you are obligated to be respectful. His best chance for change just might be seeing the love of Christ in you. God loved us “while we were yet sinners“(Rom. 5:8), let us do the same. I’m not saying that you should just ignore his sins, pass them off with the wave of your hand. I’m saying that you shouldn’t let his failure cause your fall.
— Consider his good points.
Isn’t that what you want from others? As I said, there are exceptions but chances are there are some good qualities about your father –perhaps more than you know or want to admit. You can blot out the sun with a penny if you hold it close enough to your eye, and some of you have lost sight of the nine good things about your father because you are focused on the one bad thing about him. Stop tormenting yourself, and look for something to be thankful for–it can change your life. Your bitterness will not make you better. Think about it!
Note: None of this is intended to minimize or excuse the failure of fathers. As Christians there is no excuse for us not being the best fathers possible. Hopefully this article will help folks understand how difficult it is and encourage us to pray for one another. We all need it! HDS, 6/17/17