God is described as a Father throughout the Bible, and being the father of two sons has given me a great deal of insight and perspective on the phenomenon of Fatherhood as well as an appreciation for how God views us, His children.
Since my own biological father passed away many years ago, I am unable to ask him for advice on how I should raise my sons. So I’ve relied on spiritual fathers that God has put in my life who have their own children and can advise me based on their experience. I’ve also subscribed to the podcasts from Dr. James Dobson’s organization, Family Talk and Family Life Today, led by Dennis Rainey. (I heartily recommend anyone who has children to read the books written by these men and subscribe to their daily podcasts.)
A lesson that has been repeated over and over again by all these sources is that when my sons challenge me, as they inevitably will, with a question about why they need to do something I’ve told them to do, or stop doing something I’ve told them to stop doing, it won’t go very well for me if I say “because I’m the daddy, that’s why!”
This has been quite shocking for me, because when I was a kid and my father would use that phrase on me, it was absolutely sufficient. I was VERY aware of the power differential between us and I knew it was a futile waste of time to try push back against his authority.
But, as I have learned, in many countries today, including Israel, there are government agencies children can complain to if there’s something their parents are doing that they don’t like, and these government agencies are empowered to take all manner of punitive measures against parents, including even taking custody of the children.
Sometimes, perhaps often, this is good and necessary to protect children from abuse. But in a growing number of places, the legal definition of “abuse” has been widened to include many things which, for most of human history, would have been considered simply “discipline” and decision-making authority far within the natural prerogative of a parent.
Truly, the human race has entered into a season of deep and gratuitous rebellion against our Creator and His natural order. This can’t go on much longer without creating catastrophic dysfunction in our societies, and I know what you’re thinking, but it can get MUCH worse than it is right now. The Bible tells us clearly (in Romans 1:28-32, among other places) that it will.
So here’s what I think.
I think that if there’s something God’s Word says that’s difficult for us to be obedient to, the phrase “Because I’m the Father, and I said so” ought to make us stop resisting and just do what we’re told.
It ought to be enough because we love our Heavenly Father and we want to please Him, but if that’s not enough, than we should be obedient to His Word because of the tremendous power differential between us.
In Luke 12:5, Jesus says “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!”
In other words, if we can’t be obedient to God out of love for Him, than we should at least be obedient to Him out of enlightened self-interest.
The good news is, it’s not difficult to love our Heavenly Father. The more time we spend with Him, reading His Word, praying and fellowshipping with others who also love Him, the more we’ll love Him, understand Him, identify with Him and want to be like Him.
Happy Father’s Day