Father’s Day 2019 is dawning upon us, and the average article on this “Hallmark Holiday” tends to focus on nostalgic recollections of families engaged in various outdoor activities. Dad is pictured as the family chef whose main job is to throw a slab of red meat on a grill over some glowing charcoal as uplifting music plays in the background. While we at Gallagher’s Pen appreciate all those happy family scenes, we’re choosing to leave all that nostalgia on the shelf alongside the greeting cards. Given the significance that God attached to fatherhood, celebrating that relationship and recognizing the vital role God designed it to play deserves more from us than another card with a sappy poem, even if it includes a hardware store gift card and a steak dinner.
More than Backyard Fun ~
Fatherhood is a product of God’s creative genius. It wasn’t developed by a bunch of godless, narcissistic liberals and progressives sporting Harvard degrees in sociology. When God said, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” Eph. 6:4 (NKJV), He had more in view than fun times in the back yard. God was drawing a blueprint for a nation where baseball games, prayer meetings, concerts, and nights out at the movies could take place without fear of being shot by some crazed lunatic who feels compelled to kill those he disagrees with.
God closed out the Old Testament with a promise to send two things. He promised to send a prophet with a special mission and then He added a warning. God said that a curse would follow if that mission did not accomplish its purpose.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. Malachi 4:5-6 (NKJV)
A Disturbing Picture ~
God was intent on having fatherhood accomplish what He designed it to do because if it failed, the results would be devastating to the overall welfare of His people. With that in mind, even a cursory glance at the status of fatherhood in America is worse than sobering:
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
- 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
- 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice)
- 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes – 5 times the average. (US Dept. Of Health/Census)
While the current situation for fatherless children is disturbing enough, the implications for their future shows that the heartbreaking impact continues. Consider this . . . Daughters of single parents without a father involved are:
- 53% more likely to marry as teenagers
- 711% more likely to have children as teenagers
- 164% more likely to have a pre-marital birth
- 92% more likely to get divorced
The collapse of traditional family units and the values associated with them has left in its vacuum a moral, ethical, and spiritual petri dish breeding toxic social bacteria. The anarchy playing out on our streets and in our homes and schools is, to a great extent, the product of kids being raised without fathers—and especially without strong, loving, spiritually mature fathers. We don’t have to wonder whether the curse God warned about will come. It’s already upon us, but what to do about it is the question confronting us this Father’s Day.
Lighting a Different Kind of Fire ~
We hear a lot about “inflammatory rhetoric” these days, and someone is always calling on everyone else to tone down the incendiary language. I agree with much of that but have a related suggestion. Maybe it’s not that we’re using our words to strike matches, maybe it’s that we’re using them to inflame the wrong kinds of passions. For instance, heat can either be a source of positive energy or a devastating and destructive force:
- What if we ignited something on Father’s Day besides charcoal?
- What if we used our words and influence to help spark efforts to push back against the curse of fatherlessness in ways that matter?
- What if we turned up the positive heat by ending support for anti-family politicians and started speaking out against their destructive policies?
- What if we stopped sending our kids to morally bankrupt, anti-Christian colleges and universities and stopped pretending that the success of the school’s football team somehow makes up for the anti-Christian, anti-American bias polluting the hearts and minds of our students in the classrooms?
God gets pretty incendiary sometimes, too. He gets fired up when His designs are perverted and His principles for living are mocked and contradicted.
- What if we got fired up enough to stop watching propaganda machines posing as mainstream journalism?
- What if we stopped supporting profane ‘entertainers’ who take our money and use the platform we give them to undermine and attack everything we believe? And
- What if we got fired up enough to devote some of our money, influence, and energy toward keeping another kid from becoming somebody’s sex slave?
God asked a profound question. He said, A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Malachi 1:6a (NKJV)
Honoring our spiritual Father on Father’s Day might best begin by throwing some of our own sinful proclivities on a sacrificial fire. Instead of just lighting a grill, we could reignite a passion in our hearts for the One who made that relationship possible. Think about it . . . Wouldn’t that lead to some inflammatory stuff that would make Father’s Day unforgettable?
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to Tweet & Share from the pull quotes below. Each quote links directly back to this article through Twitter.
- “God was intent on having fatherhood accomplish what He designed it to do because if it failed, the results would be devastating to the overall welfare of His people.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “The anarchy playing out on our streets and in our homes and schools is, to a great extent, the product of kids being raised without fathers—and especially without strong, loving, spiritually mature fathers.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “God gets pretty incendiary sometimes, too. He gets fired up when His designs are perverted and His principles for living are mocked and contradicted.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Honoring our spiritual Father on Father’s Day could begin by throwing some of our own sinful proclivities on a sacrificial fire. Instead of lighting a grill, reignite a passion in our hearts for the One who made that relationship possible.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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© 2019 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
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I can only add an “Amen” Mr. Ron. Thank you so much for this truth. God’s blessings.
“Amens” are always welcome and deeply appreciated, J.D. God bless you for your faithful stand in very challenging days.
great article brother. Wayne Raborn
What a blessing to hear from you, Wayne! Thank you so much for taking the time to touch base and add an unexpected smile to my day. Your faithful service to the Lord has been a source of encouragement to me and many, many others for years, and I’m confident that your ministry will be even more fruitful in the future. Hopefully, our paths will cross again in the not so distant future and you can fill me in about how God is using your gifts and talents.
Thoughtful and inspiring as always, Ron! Yes, the rise in fatherless homes has done so much damage to the American family. Praying for a turn around back to God’s expectations.
Thanks, Martha– I hope your Father’s Day was blessed with pleasant family contacts and full of happy memories. It may sound like a cliche, but prayer, as you know, is a basic strategic weapon available to us and I’m glad you’re one of those who neither ignores it nor takes it for granted. I’m always encouraged for your faithful reminders that you’re out there in the trenches with us. God bless you for standing strong.