How To Be A Good Dad

“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God”

Romans 8:16


Today is Father’s Day! A day that is set aside, once a year, to pay homage to dads!

A lot of people are waking up, excited to call up their dads, send them a text, Facebook something nice, or get prepped for a BBQ.

Others, not so much.

For many, many, many people, this is a day of disappointment, frustration, anger, and sadness. Many people wish this day never came each year, because it’s an awkward day. Conjuring up memories about their fathers is not a happy thing.

The relationship they wish they had with their dad is nonexistent. Many of them have nearly ruined their life trying to impress their dads, but their dads couldn’t care less about what they do. Other dads have severely abused their kids, or caused them enormous amounts of pain.

Some dads have even abandoned their kids for their jobs or an addiction; and others, gave up on their wedding vows (or refused to even make wedding vows). Some dads have stopped caring for their kids to pursue the relationship of  another woman, other than their mom. Some, might even still live at home, but their drinking or drugging, video-game-binging habit, workaholism, or hobbies comes above being a loving, guiding parent.

There are even dads out there who completely ignore their grown kids all year long. They act as if they want nothing to do with them. Then, when they are with them face-to-face, they put on a smile, give hugs, and say “I love you,” as if nothing is wrong.

Then again, you might have maybe the worst of the mix, a dad who left you without even saying good-bye. He never even acknowledges your existence. He has nothing to do with you, ever. Some have done this to their kids and they’ve passed away, leaving the kid (or adult) scarred emotionally.

For years, I was someone who refused to acknowledge that my own dad treated me poorly. Because of my codependency issues, I’d just sweep it under the rug, or white-wash it. But how my dad emotionally ignored me was wrong, and it still is.

As I got to know Jesus better, He wanted me to lift up the rug under which these feelings were swept, and scrape off the paint of my white-washed soul. TO HEAL, WE MUST CONFRONT UNFAIR ISSUES IN OUR LIVES–but do it how God approves. If we don’t, then we will live in frustration and severe codependency, or, “dependency” in general (drugs, alcohol, porn, church-works, food, etc.).

Today, I want to give you the courage to confront your father, if he’s hurt you. I don’t care if you have to go to the local graveyard, I want you to voice how his actions have affected your life negatively. Religious people want you to just keep your mouth shut, and ball everything up inside. I’m NOT religious, I have a relationship with Christ. Jesus wants you to BE CONFIDENT! You can’t be confident if you don’t stand up to people’s actions!

The enemy will continue to have his way with your emotions and torture your soul, if you don’t confront your problems and issues, beginning with yourself, and then with the people who’ve hurt you. 

Jesus has taught me to not be fake when it comes to my feelings. He made me to feel for a reason. So when we feel something, we need to acknowledge it, bring it to God, and then face it head on. Burying your feelings, especially about a bad relationship with your dad, will do some horrible things to your well-being. It’s like having mold in your walls that you won’t deal with.

If you don’t break apart the walls and destroy it, it will fester, grow, and get worse. You must bring this stuff to God so that He can teach you how to handle it!

For years, I too, was a bad dad. Although I thought I was being a good one, I wasn’t. I didn’t have a good example of how to be a good dad–so I had to learn on my own. My dad was a chronic workaholic with a short fuse. His method of handling our relationship was to blow up on me, or ignore me. The silent treatment does some serious damage on a kid–and an adult, now that I think about it. I’ve had to forgive my dad for this, and release him from the relationship he’s owed me, just so that I can be healthy on the inside. So when it came to me learning how to be a good father, this was how I learned: Trial and error. Trial and error. Trial and error, error, error.

When you have a dad who never thinks he’s wrong about how he treats you, that doesn’t mean they are not treating you wrong. It just means you are ignoring it, and that’s not good for you.

In my past, when I actually stood up against how Dad is relationally, with us kids, I thought there was something wrong with me for doing so–THERE WASN’T! The Holy Spirit has taught me that that I can’t make dad want anything to do with me, just like God can’t make me want anything to do with Him. We must choose to have relationships.

The sad thing is, I not only had to learn this about my relationship with Dad, but also many other relationships in which I was going crazy trying to make someone to love me or be a part of my life. I DON’T HAVE THAT ABILITY.  But the devil sure likes to try to make me think I do.
 
When you’re a kid, you don’t know any better, you think something is wrong with you because your father rejects you. And when you’re an adult, you can stay in that same bondage if you don’t allow Christ to teach you that there is nothing wrong with you for wanting a close relationship with your dad. If he rejects you, really, there is something wrong with him, not you.

To get to this state of good heart health, you must allow God to remold your mind as to what exactly, a good father looks like. 

Our Heavenly Father is a good father! HE SETS THE EXAMPLE PERFECTLY! When you get to know Him, then you understand how a good dad should be in word and action. Here are some things that I’ve learned about being a good dad, from Him:

  1. God will never abandon you. Not only will He never abandon you, you don’t have to keep pestering Him to try to have a close relationship with you because He lives in you. He’s already deeply involved with every area of your life. The Bible says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27:10). So whether your father walked out on you, or has nothing to do with you, year-round, your Heavenly Father is still deeply involved in your life.
  2.  I have no excuse to be a bad dad. Just because my own father would rather work all the time, while I was growing up, (and I wasn’t allowed to complain about that, it always fell on deaf ears) doesn’t mean I have to do the same. And just because my dad has a bad temper and uses the silent treatment, that doesn’t mean I have to as well. I’m responsible for my own actions in parenting, and I can be the one to break this destructive cycle. So whatever it is that your father did in your past, that you are currently doing, something that you hated, be sure not to do the same thing. We have no excuses because we’ve been on the opposite side of poor treatment. The Bible says that if you’re sinning in the same way as your parents, you can expect the same results (see Numbers 14:18). SO DECIDE TO MAKE A CHANGE!
  3. Don’t be afraid to confront issues with your dad. I was at a funeral not too long ago, sitting by my dad, and we started to talk about addiction. He absolutely refused to admit that there was any addiction problems in our family. I looked him in the eye and confronted him about this. All he cared about was whether or not the person behind us heard what I said. This is not okay. He should have taken what I said seriously! But he didn’t, he ignored it, once again. The thing is, I’m not responsible for his actions. I said what I had to say. I was very proud of myself for being brave enough to say something to him. THAT WAS A VICTORY, an issue I confronted. Had I been doing this all my life, I’d be in a healthy state of mind much sooner. SO STAND UP! SAY SOMETHING! But let the Holy Spirit guide you as you do.
  4. Allow God to teach you how to be a good father. Until I finally began to allow Jesus to live through me, I was a terrible father. Although, if you said such to me during that time, I would not have agreed with you. But the fact of the matter was I had no clue the amount of stuff that the devil had me fooled by. Sure, I provided financially for my family, but was I providing spiritually? NO WAY. Sure, I did my best to be a “Christian dad,” that is, until I had a problem. Then 9 out of 10 times, I always handled things my own way, which was frustrated, forceful, and angry, rather than by Christ’s Spirit in me. I was so full of self-pity, arrogance, and bull-crap. I blamed others for how I was, rather than allowing God to use harsh people and unfair circumstances to mold my soul into that of Christ’s. God taught me that in order to be a good father, I can’t have any excuses! So when I begin to think,“But…but…but…”–“NOPE!” The Holy Spirit interrupts me. We must get this right, first, then God shows you how to handle those butts. I mean, buts.

So just what is it that makes you become a good dad? That’s easy. It’s not a what, but a who.

Jesus.

You knew I was going in that direction, didn’t you?

-Matt

A prayer for you: Heavenly Father I want to thank you for Father’s Day, it’s a good day! I want to thank you for the healing in my soul that you’ve given me, and the courage to express myself about my own dad. He’s a good man. He taught me about your grace. I know that you use all things together for our good, even the parental vessels you choose to physically produce us. Give my father peace today, but at the same time, let him know that his kids desire a closer relationship with him, and so do his grandkids. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. I know some people will never understand what the difficulty of Father’s Day feels like, and that’s good! They are blessed! But for everyone who is in pain, I’m asking that you heal their hearts in regards to how they feel about their father. I’m asking that you give them the grace they need to forgive and release what their dads owe them, which is love. I’m asking that you reconnect lost relationships. I’m asking that you DESTROY resentment and unforgiveness. I’m asking that you give people COURAGE to finally say what they need to say to their fathers. Let the Holy Spirit guide their words. And lovingly convict the hearts of every dad who keeps ignoring you about their kids. TEACH THEM HOW TO CARE! I rebuke Satan’s grasp on EVERY troubled relationship! MAKE THEM GOOD AND LOVING! In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

For more of my teachings, pick up one of my books!

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Categories: Devotionals

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