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Being Fathers of Hope & Strength

Father walking through field with three children

This Father’s Day, fathers are as important as they have ever been. As much as ever, fathers must be prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have (1 Pet 3:15). Our families and our communities cannot be strengthened by lukewarm fathers any more than Christ accepts a lukewarm faith (Rev 3:16). So let us stand firm in the faith and trust that the God of all grace will restore us, and make us strong, firm, and steadfast (1 Pet 5:9-10).

Father’s Day in June

Culturally in America, the month of June has become dominated with anti-Biblical and anti-traditional-family themes. Efforts to minimize the inherent distinctions between male and female and the differing roles of fathers and mothers is ever-present. In a sense, the battle lines are drawn every year. The enemy, with his grip on the world, forms his “line of battle” with product lines, clothing lines, and parade lines promoting “Pride” nationwide.

Thus far, this year’s diabolical festivities appear to be moderately subdued compared to last year. This could be an indication of corporations recognizing the consequences of over-stepping last year, a shift towards the center in an election year, the limited energy available in a world of chaos, or even just a misperception on my part. No matter the cause of the slight improvement—or appearance thereof—this must not lead to complacency.

Pride, the sin, is the much graver threat than any “Pride Month” celebrations. Original sin entered the world through a desire to be like God. Current efforts to physically recreate persons in their own image are only the latest iteration of this problem of sin. What the world needs is truth, courage, discipline, and faithfulness. Fortunately for our wives and children, it is in this very month that we are reminded of one of our most consequential roles: father. Fathers must lead the way.

Ladies and Gentlemen

The recent commencement address by Harrison Butker , Super Bowl champ and placekicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, incited notable controversy because of his remarks directed at the young women in the graduating class. Central to the message that offended anti-traditionalists and feminists was his presumption that the majority of the women would be “most excited about [their] marriage and the children [they] will bring into this world” and his assertion that his own wife assumed “one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.”

Whether or not you find these remarks, or his address as a whole, controversial, it is worth noting that before he made these remarks, he had already identified his own “lane” and “vocation” as being a “better father and husband.” He also pointed out that his wife “ensures” that he never lets football or business distract him from prioritizing being a husband and father.

As I consider Father’s Day and the cultural and spiritual battles we face, I think it is worth noting his message to the men. After reaffirming his “vocation as a husband, and father, and as a man,” he offers these words:

To the gentlemen here today: Part of what plagues our society is this lie that has been told to you that men are not necessary in the home or in our communities. As men, we set the tone of the culture, and when that is absent, disorder, dysfunction, and chaos set in. This absence of men in the home is what plays a large role in the violence we see all around the nation.

Though misattributed to Edmund Burke, there is a lot of truth in the statement that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Naturally, then, the enemy wants us to think men—fathers especially—are superfluous. That might cause us to do nothing, and the consequences of that are disastrous.

Butker is right. Broken homes and absent fathers are at the root of many ills today. According to Them Before Us, a children’s advocacy organization, the consequences of fatherlessness are substantial.

  • 90% of homeless and runaway youth—a common gateway to trafficking—are fatherless.
  • 70-85% of prison inmates grew up without a father.
  • 63% of teenagers who commit suicide have absent fathers.
  • Fatherless children are four times more likely to live in poverty.
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers come from fatherless homes.
  • 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.

These are just a few of the tangible symptoms of the inherent disorder that follows from broken families and inactive fathers.

Into the Fight

I return to another line from Butker’s address. But rather than addressing it to all men, as he did, I turn to my fellow fathers. “Be unapologetic in your masculinity, fighting against the cultural emasculation of men. Do hard things. Never settle for what is easy.” Your family depends on you. Your community depends on you. Our society depends on you.

This requires strength and courage, but if we love our families the way Christ calls us to, this will give us the courage we need. As G. K. Chesterton rightly pointed out, “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” We must love our families enough to step boldly into the battle for our families—for the family.

We know the enemy sows confusion, discord, and fear, but we draw truth, peace, and courage from the Lord. So, resist your enemy the devil (1 Pet 5:8-9); “be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” (1 Cor 16:13).

Happy Father’s Day.


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