I feel I must include the word “human,” not as a way to differentiate from other members of the animal kingdom, but as a way to distance ourselves from our own narcissistic expectations of superheroism. All human dads are just that, human; imperfect, fallen, sinful, messed up.
Frankly, I think everyone is too hard on human dads. I guess it’s easy for me to say, since I am one. But really, nearly every time you turn on the TV all you see are dads being portrayed as the doofus, the villain or the butt of the joke.
But not only does our popular culture like to belittle dads, I see the church doing the same or worse. While the media likes to make fun of dads, the church seems to get off on shaming them. If you don’t believe me, go to church on Fathers day. Often you’ll hear shame-filled sermons masquerading as pep talks for dad’s to “step it up.”
Yes, I know dads all have room for improvement and it’s important for us to be challenged. But challenging us is not the same thing as shaming us. We are all human men who cannot live up to the high biblical standards 24/7. We are not perfect. We are forgiven.
We are men who struggle balancing our time between marriage, family, career and church. We get it wrong much of the time. We feel the pressure and tension of trying to provide for our family financially while also giving our time and our selves emotionally. We struggle with our friendships and our relationships. Most of us don’t really have close friendships. We feel isolated. That isolation can trigger temptations in our lives. We find ourselves tempted with lust, greed and power. We fall into temptations that bring us more shame and cause us to isolate ourselves even more.
So, if all we are going to get at church is a big heaping dose of shame, why bother? We’re good at shaming ourselves; we don’t need any assistance in that department.
So, here’s to all the human dads out there. I want you to know that God loves you just as you are. He sees your crap and loves you anyway. He knows you’re not perfect, but he thinks you’re priceless. He sent his Son to pay the price because he knew you couldn’t keep from breaking the law over and over again. My challenge for all human dads is that we reject the shame and embrace the grace, freely given by the only true Perfect Dad.
Happy Human Fathers Day!