Becoming the Father I Hated

"SON! DO AS I SAY AND NOT AS I DO!" I thought: here we go again, as the bitterness toward my dad began to rage inside me, overflowing through my mouth with words that would kill. For years, I saw my dad say one thing and do another. My father demanded respect from me, but I was bitter, angry, and disappointed in him and swore that I would never become this man. Little did I know that I would head down the same road and become the man I hated. Twenty plus years later, I still battle with the unwanted training I received. becoming the father I hated

Twelve years ago I received Jesus as my Savior, yet I still found myself in the same rut as my father. I found myself raising my children under the same controlling power my dad had raised me. I had become what I hated most in my life. I often examine my childhood to learn what not to do now. My dad tried to lead his family with power. He always had something in mind that he wanted to accomplish; unfortunately, he was a very selfish man. He always used his power to accomplish his will and I saw it destroy my relationship with him and many others.

Controlling power is the ability to force someone to do your will, even if they would not choose to, because of your position or your might. DO IT OR I WILL BEAT YOUR TAIL! DO IT OR I WILL FIRE YOU! This kind of power does work and it will get the job done for a season but there are deep consequences: controlling power erodes relationships. My dad always used his power over me to get his will done. If I can be totally honest with you today, I have forgiven my father, and I love him, but the relationship is far from being what I desire. Why? Because controlling power erodes relationships and it takes time to heal and build those relationships. This is why many teenagers are in rebellion because parents have taken a power trip on their children.

I found two different scriptures that altered the way I live my life, forever changing my view of life as a husband, father, and pastor.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6 

Notice it says that when he is old he won’t depart from it... this is why many adults are lost. Because the way they were trained as a child, many adults are not rooted in Christ. Note that doesn’t say sending children to church on the local bus route will lead them to follow Christ. What children see and how they are being trained at home will determine where they end up in life. This is the reason I had become the man I hated: I had been trained by my dad to be just like him, because I lived under his controlling power everyday.

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. -Matthew 20:26

Husbands and fathers we must become a servant to all, not a slave but a servant. We must lead like Jesus, he never led with power but authority. Authority is the skill of getting people to do your will because of your personal influence. Jesus said if you are going to lead, then you must become a servant not a slave. A slave does what others want. A servant does what others need.

A dad will try to take care of his children, but a Father will win his children by influence and leave a legacy of love, grace, righteousness, authority and service.  The key to becoming a great father is accomplishing the task of caring for your family while building and maintaining relationships.

A husband/father is a man who identifies and meets the legitimate needs of his family, removing all barriers so they can serve one another. To lead, you must serve. Today is the day to become the dad the Father created you to be, let's step up!


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