Read: Proverbs 11:29
“Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air; Common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live.” (The Message)
One of the greatest gifts God gives a man is his family. A truly wise man will recognize the incredible worth of those God has placed in his care, and lovingly guide, develop, protect and provide for them until his dying day.
What a tragedy when a man brings trouble on the very ones he has been assigned to keep safe. He is what Proverbs calls a fool. Not only is he tragically hurting those who depend on him for safety and security and health and happiness, he is actually destroying himself. Here’s how the NIV renders this verse:
That verse probably brings to mind the alcoholic or drug addicted man who ruins his family through physical violence, emotional mistreatment, or even sexual abuse…the kind of unfaithful, out of control, raging, shiftless father whose wife and children would probably be better off without him. But is that the kind of dad Proverbs says brings trouble on his family? I would suggest any man has the potential to exploit, abuse or bring trouble on their family in some not so immediately apparent ways. Here are some for instances:
MODELING: Some men ruin their families by not living a life that is worth following. They do not provide an example of integrity, diligence, discipline or godliness for their children.
NEGLECTING: How does a father neglect his family? The most obvious way is by not spending an appropriate and consistent amount of time with them. Someone has said that a parent’s love is spelled T-I-M-E. Giving time to his children demonstrates a man’s priorities.
IRRITATING: Some fathers bring disaster to their children by picking on them, nit-picking every little move they make, criticizing their efforts, and in general, exasperating them through over-discipline. (Ephesians 6:4)
EXPLODING: Some fathers destroy their family through uncontrolled anger. How sad when a father is known by his children for his explosive temper; when they fear the very one who they should be able to count on to protect them.
Dads, you can make a difference for all eternity in the life of your child! Will you? There is no better investment of effort you can make than to be the kind of dad for your kid that God has designed you to be!
Christian family therapist John Trent shared two letters given to him by a third grade teacher. The letters were part of an assignment her students completed. (The words are unedited for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.)
Dear Dad, I love it when you take me on dates! I like it when you play baseball with me, miniature golf with me, and watch movies with me. I really aprisheate it! I like it when you tell jokes to me. I like it when you hug me and kiss me. Daddy, I love you!
The teacher said that just four seats away from the first letter writer sat another little girl. Here’s what her letter said:
Dear Daddy, I love you so much. When you are going to come see me agen? I miss you very much. I love it when you take me to the pool. When am I going to get to spend the night at your house? Have you ever seen my house before? I want to see what your house looks like. Do you? Whand am I going to get to see you agene? I love you, Daddy.
One letter is from a child whose father knows what it means to be there. The second is from a child whose father, for whatever reason, has chosen not to be there.
Dad, I hope you’ll be there—fully you, fully the man God intended—for your family!
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
If you are a parent—especially a dad—go back to the four ways you may be neglecting or abusing your family. Do any of these describe you? If so, apologize to your loved ones for your behavior. And by all means, take corrective action today to change the way you parent your children. Believe me, you’ll not only be doing your family a favor, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor, too!