Unhappy Father’s Day: When Dads Are Failures

There are many children, young and old, who can’t stomach Father’s Day. They are the offspring of deadbeat dads,Image abusive fathers, men who have failed them in ways that possibly scarred them for life. To them the whole purpose of this day is senseless, if not revolting. There will be no phone calls home, no backyard BBQs, not sappy Hallmark card. “Lord, just let this day be over,” they pray, “and let me get on with my life without being reminded of that man.”

I lack the wisdom, and the experience, to counsel those who have been hurt so deeply. There is no pain like the pain of being mistreated by those who, above all others, you expect to love you unconditionally.

This, however, I do know. When men do not live up to their callings, when they live only for themselves, there nevertheless remains a man who will never do that to you. When men abuse the innocent, and do the unspeakable, there is still a man who never once will treat you that way. If even father and mother forsake you, brother and sister turn their backs on you, the whole world hate and curse and damn you to hell, there is a man who will stand shoulder to shoulder with you through it all, never leaving your side.

This man is not your father, but he is your brother, come down from heaven to suffer abuse for you, to know what it’s like to be hated and mistreated and abandoned by those nearest and dearest to him. And he has a father who wants to adopt you, to make you part of his family, that he might care for you as no earthly father ever could. This man, this Jesus of Nazareth, will get you through Father’s Day, and will bring you into the arms of a Father who is truly worthy of the name.

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christ alone coverWhat we need in our fragmented world, full of hurting people, is the love of Jesus Christ, who InfantPriestfrontcoverwelcomes home sinners with a grace that knows no bounds. My book Christ Alone: Meditations and Sermons, is packed with reflections that go that extra mile of grace. Again and again, they present the Christ who is crucified and risen for you. Please take a moment to check it out here. You may also be interested in my collections of hymns and poetry entitled, The Infant Priest, which you can purchase here. Both books are also available on Amazon, as is my booklet Why Lutherans Sing What They Sing (also on Kindle). Thank you for your prayers and support!


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5 thoughts on “Unhappy Father’s Day: When Dads Are Failures

  1. katy on said:

    Thank you for this. I am one of the many who had a difficult time with my dad. Thanks be to God for all that he grants us. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing.

  2. Laura on said:

    Thank you for sharing. This brings to mind something I struggle to remember, and remind myself of often. My dad left when I was 12, and my mom raised myself & my disabled sister. We saw my dad every other weekend, but I did much for my sister. During high school I went to a church camp where I learned that it was, indeed, possible to still honor my father, and love him, because that is what God commands, and yet, at the same time, not like how my dad treated us or what he did. Because of that, I am still able to have a relationship of sorts with my dad. He & his wife rarely see my family, or their only 2 grandkids, but I make an effort to call him from time to time, and to invite him to join us for parties, and special events. I try to regularly remind myself that I can love him, with God’s help, and I try to regularly ask God to continue to help me forgive my dad, as my dad still causes hurt to this day. In the meantime, I’ve been blessed by an amazing father-in-law, and a wonderful husband, who is a wonderful father for our children.

    • You have done well, Laura. It’s not always easy to honor our fathers, especially when they have done things to hurt the family, or don’t seem to show the same attention and love to the family as they should. It sometimes helps me to make a distinction in my mind between the position or office of father, and the man whom God has placed in the office. I know it’s not an easy distinction to keep, but it does help me. I can honor the office but not like everything the man does who holds that office. Thank you for your words. They are an encouragement to me, as I’m sure they are to many who will read them.

  3. Trish on said:

    Thank you! Mother killed when I was 10 and dad just couldn’t cope. Five year old to young to beat and fifteen year old boy would have fought back so ten year old girl took the beatings. SO BLESSED to find the Lutheran church in my 20’s, learn of God’s amazing forgiveness for ME and eventually learn how to forgive him and believe in my Heavenly Fathers love for me! Praying for a blessed Fathers Day for ALL!

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