Not Only a Father but Also a Dad…

I could not ignore this day, special to many, and to me, without adding a post. I will post the continuation if my last post, but I felt compelled to post some thoughts about what it truly means to be a father. I post this not as an expert on the subject nor as the model of an ideal father, but as man who has learned from disappointments, other men, God’s word and experience on what it means to be a not only a father, but a dad.

No child should have to experience the absence of dad for months. No child should have to see his or her mother cursed at or physically beat. But unfortunately these are the most vivid memories I have on this Father’s Day. And that’s because I may have had a father but never a dad! I harbor no hatred since I did have the opportunity to forgive my father for his lack of commitment and loyalty, but the feelings still linger.

My biological father (I can’t bring myself to refer to him as dad) was hardly around. My younger brother didn’t meet him until he was 7! When he was present, he was more interested in being disengaged and not being a leader. He was more interested in arguing than loving. In fact, I don’t think I ever realized until just now that I never heard the words “I love you,” from my father. Not a great way to model fatherhood. But then again, even if he had said it, they would have been empty words with no actions behind them. He was much more interested in providing an example that if you don’t get your way in a marital argument you resort to the cowardly act of physically abuse.

So you see, although I had a man man who who participated in the act of making a baby with my mom, a biological father, my brothers and I never had a dad. And although we had some other family men, like my grandfather, who stepped up to the task, that void was still noticeable.

A dad, unlike a “baby daddy,” to borrow a term from the common vernacular, will not only make a baby but will provide an example for his baby and kids. The example that a dad should look to pass on has to do with how to lead in Godly love, how to love his wife, how to love his children and how set a standard of what a man is for his daughters. The desire that a dad has to provide a positive influence for his child comes from his love not only for the child but primarily out of the love he has for his wife.

You see, in God’s word and in His standard, a man must first be a husband in order to be a father, 1 Corinthians 7:2-4. This is in line with the rest of scripture which labels sex outside of marriage as a sin, as referenced in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7,
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.”

Therefore, being a responsible father must follow from being a good husband. This is called commitment. The husband must love, honor, nourish and cherish his wife in every aspect of her life as we read in Ephesians 5:25-30 and 1 Peter 3:7. Only then will one be prepared to be a good father. For only in this manner will a boy have modeled how a true husband should treat a woman and a girl have a standard from which she can judge all men.

So a man who is a father and wants to be a dad must first provide a positive influence of loving his wife in a manner that glorifies God. The second part of of being a dad is directly related to the children and is a direct mandate from Paul in Ephesians 6:4; “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” What does provoking a child to wrath have to do with modeling or loving my wife? Well, as a dad I should not do things that make my children angry, resentful or bitter. In other words, I should love my wife not scorn her, I should protect and care for my wife not beat her, I should be loyal to my wife not engage in extramarital affairs, and I should provide for my children not neglect them.

Well these are my thoughts on this Father’s Day. I have been given a true blessing in my kids but also an immense responsibility. I pray that I will always be faithful in spite of my past. Happy Father’s Day!!

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