“And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.” – Malachi 4:6
The coming of Jesus Christ to the earth and His death on the Cross was not just to earn believers a ticket to heaven; it was to bring salvation in all its ramifications, to all of mankind. He came to save, restore things to the pre-fall of man and give man the opportunity to enjoy God forever. These benefits can only be accessed when somebody accepts the gift of God by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. When that is done, life becomes meaningful and the trials of life are bearable and conquerable, while personal goals and ambitions birthed in Christ, are attainable.
However, this reality has eluded so many people because of man’s constant pull and desire to do the wrong thing and rebel against his Maker. This has only brought pain, chaos, futility and frustration to people who decide to continually proceed on the negative and wrong path. Even the wisest, most intelligent and famous of the earth sometimes feel the emptiness that life gives when God is not the man factor in a person’s life. That was the experience of King Solomon in the Bible, who found most of man’s pursuits in life to be vanity. That is why so many young people, wealthy people and in some very sad and sobering cases, even ministers of God become despondent and take their own lives.
When the life of an individual is full of troubles that he cannot deal with, wrong choices and agreement with evil, what is there to pass onto another person? As a result, many fathers today have little or nothing positive to pass on to their children and their posterity.
From the passage quoted above, one of the benefits of the coming of Jesus was to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and vice-versa. Unfortunately we have a society that has relegated to the back burner, the idea of a fathers heart being turned to his children. So we have a lot of absentee-fathers; not-caring fathers, selfish fathers and in some cases, fathers whose presence around their children is forbidden because of their caustic nature and attitudes which corrodes, pollutes and stunts their children’s growth and development.
For a child to grow up in a healthy environment that grooms him to be a useful citizen who contributes to society and the church in particular, he needs to grow in “wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” like Jesus did (Luke 2:52). This means that they learn and exhibit intellectual or mental acrumen or judgement (wisdom); physical growth (stature); spiritual growth (favor with God) and social growth (favor with man). When one area grows and the other is lacking, that child does not exhibit his full potentials. Many children in our society are experiencing this stunted growth and a serious lack in various areas.
It is the responsibility of parents- particularly fathers, to nurture, inculcate and guide their children towards attaining these attributes.The Bible is clear that if you train up a child in the way he should go, when he grows he will not depart from it. This can only start with a determination of each father to not abandon this functions to others- such as mothers (as in the case of many single mothers or mothers who raise the children by themselves with little or no contribution by the fathers). In some other instances, there are fathers who expect their children to pick up or imbibe such values from schools, their teachers or the church. Where a father fails to fulfill his roles of being a guide, teacher, counselor, Priest and an example to his children, there are other forces waiting to capture the minds and hearts of these children.Some of these are destructive and counter-productive.
In this day and age, all kinds of vices can be picked up from the media, peers, some adults whose desire is to prey on children that lack parental love/guidance or even child molesters, among others.
The main solution is for fathers and some father-figures where relevant, to make concerted efforts to see to the welfare of these children in the areas mentioned and more, and commit to sacrificing time and effort to pour into the lives of the children, to help them make it in life. None is more fitted for this role than the fathers.
It starts with wanting the best for your child, wanting to raise a Kingdom citizen and a decent future adult you can be proud of, and wanting to glorify the Lord by being a blessing in the life of another. It can only come from a heart that is like that of God- our Father in Heaven. He is the Almighty, Maker of all things and Ruler over all the earth; yet His heart is full of love for His children that He was willing to sacrifice His very best- Jesus- to reach His other children whom He adopted as His own. He pays attention and lavishes care on His children.
God’s invitation is to “whosoever will” and if He is unwilling to leave any of His children behind, that should be the heart of every father. May the Lord touch all fathers this Father’s Day, to understand, embrace and fulfill their roles as fathers- with God’s kind of heart.