As I reflected on the day to honor fathers and read these words from Charles Stanley, I was reminded of what God instructs fathers to be and to do, “According to Scripture, the father’s responsibility is to lead his family physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Most dads work hard to provide for material needs, and many give the family adequate time and love. But how many are diligent to lead spiritually?”
I was saddened as I thought of my own father and perhaps thousands of others like him as he chose to withhold time and love, while also choosing not to fulfill the physical, emotional or spiritual needs of our lives. He lived for only himself. Over the years I have shared countless times that I honored my father because God imparts that to us, but I didn’t love or respect my father, due to the extreme physical and emotional abuse.
Dr. Rabbi HaLevi cites, “to begin with, it’s important to remember that the Hebrew Bible says, “honor your father. It doesn’t say obey your father. It doesn’t say respect your father. It doesn’t say like your father. It doesn’t even say love your father. Of course, it would be wonderful to feel love for one’s father, however, love is a feeling and feelings can’t be commanded. Some fathers are lovable. However, some fathers are not. For a myriad of reasons, they are outside the realm of our love: abuse, neglect, absence, abandonment, betrayal-many fathers have simply made it impossible for their children to feel the emotion of love or demonstrate it back.”
No matter how diligently I tried to be loved and accepted by my father, I received only rejection. Yet, I honored him. I would have cherished a “hallmark” father, but that was not a gift I was given. However, on this day as we reflect upon the men in our lives whom we call “Dad”, may we always esteem the love our heavenly father gives as no other can. Exodus 20:12 NKJ, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land…”