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Daily Encounter: A Week-day Devotional by Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Fathers Are a Critical Need

"Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged."1

In their book, The Gift of Honor, Gary Smalley and John Trent tell about "Keith Hernandez ... one of baseball's top players. He is a lifetime .300 hitter who has won numerous Golden Glove awards for excellence in fielding. He's won a batting championship for having the highest average, the Most Valuable Player award in his league, and even the World Series. Yet with all his accomplishments, he has missed out on something crucially important to him—his father's acceptance and recognition that what he has accomplished is valuable.

Listen to what he had to say in a very candid interview about his relationship with his father: 'One day Keith asked his father, "Dad, I have a lifetime .300 batting average. What more do you want?" His father replied, "But someday you're going to look back and say, 'I could have done more.'"

The number of people I've worked with over the years in recovery work who have a deep father-wound is reason for discouragement. They are numerous. Many sons and daughters of so-called successful businessmen felt that their fathers cared more about their work than they did about them. Many kids of pastors feel the same way. Many adult children of alcoholic fathers grew up feeling neglected, receiving little or no emotional support or affirmation from their dads. And I've worked with numerous men and women who felt that their father was never involved with them emotionally, and deep down they felt abandoned by him.

Many a woman has looked for love in all the wrong places, substituting sex for love in a desperate attempt to fill the empty void caused by an emotionally absentee father. (Many men who have a deep mother-wound do the same thing.)

Regardless of what some would try to tell us today, fathers have a vital role in the well-being of the family, and therefore in the well-being of the nation. As former President Reagan said, "As goes the family so goes the nation."

One of the greatest things we fathers can do for our children is to acknowledge our own father- and/or mother-wound, and admit our inability to affirm our loved ones emotionally. Then we need to get into a recovery program to overcome our issues and grow towards wholeness ourselves. Only then will we be able to fully love and affirm the most important people in our lives—our sons, daughters, and spouses.

Furthermore, one of the greatest needs of every one of us is to know and experience the love and affirmation of God, our Heavenly Father, at the very core of our being.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to face and overcome my father-wound so that I will be able to be the father that my children need. Where I have failed, please forgive me, and above all, please help me to know and experience Your affirmation at the very core of my being. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

NOTE: Be sure to read the article, "Healing a Man's Father Wound" at: http://tinyurl.com/9dse4

1. Colossians 3:21 (NIV).


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