This past month our nation looked on with broken hearts at the shooting tragedy in Parkland Florida. Our hearts go out for the families that lost a child. I know what it is like to lose a son to death and there are no words to adequately express the loss. It has been three years since my 18 year old son Joshua passed away from leukemia and every day I miss him and expect him to walk through the door. However, for my wife and I there is the constant assurance that Joshua is in heaven and the day will come that we will be reunited for eternity.
In the aftermath of the tragedy the usual pointing of fingers and media frenzy of banning guns soon started. Each time a tragedy strikes we quickly look to the tool used instead of going deeper to the heart of the issue. Why are our teenage boys so angry with life? Why have they lost the value of life? We can quickly blame mental illness but even that does not go deep enough. Mental illness can be helped and in many cases with love and proper treatment it can be molded and shaped into productive and even healthy lifestyles. What we are facing today is much deeper.
Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” There is nothing like being given a job to do and not given the proper tools or training to actually do the job. The result is often exasperation and anger. So often anger results in lashing out in violent and destructive ways. I can not help but believe that this is much of what we are seeing being played out in our society. We have dismantled the God given family structure and we have taken Dad out of the home. As a result too many of our boys are growing up without a Dad to instruct them with the basics of life and manhood. They have no Dad to guide them on how to put healthy boundaries on this developing strength and the growth of testosterone coursing through their bodies. They have no Dad to train them in the way they should go and as a result they are lashing out.
Malachi 4:6 speaks of a day before the Lord comes and he speaks of fathers and children. “And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.” There is no replacement for Dad in the home. We need Dad loving mom and children and leading the home in the way of the Lord. As we have removed dad we have brought this curse upon ourselves.
Dad, I challenge you to take seriously your role as teacher and trainer for your children, especially your sons. They need you to place healthy boundaries and give solid guidance toward manhood. They need you to lead by example of what manhood looks like, flaws and all. They need you to instill within them a love for life and the responsibility to protect it. There is no greater joy than to see your children become all God intended them to be. Go be Dad!