Monday, June 21, 2010

Sometimes the speaker is actually talking to you...

Father's Day this year turned out to be very enlightening for me. I rarely post about a Sunday sermon because it's too easy to take a point out of the context of the broader message intended. I have too much respect for my pastor to risk that possibility...not to mention he has his own blog over at The Heavy D Daily if he feels compelled to follow up on a message or share with a broader audience.

However, we had a guest speaker Sunday who delivered a very insightful message to me personally. No, the message wasn't specifically for me, but the whole 'if the shoe fits' cliche was bouncing right off my forehead...please excuse the mixed metaphor.

In a summarized version, the speaker was trying to point out to fathers that they have a spiritual influence over their families that reaches far past just their children. A father not only influences his children and grandchildren directly in matters pertaining to their spiritual life, he also has an indirect influence on the great-grandchildren as well as the great-great-grandchildren. The passing of godly influence from generation to generation forms a continuous chain of influence that is anchored by God the ideal situation of course.

But what happens if the chain is broken? What happens when a father messes up, or worse yet, turns away from a close relationship with God? It was about here in the sermon the proverbial shoe busted me in the forehead. Have I been the cause of the spiritual chain being broken in my family? If so, how do I fix it?

The sermon took us to the story of David, Solomon and Rehoboam and a popular sermon on the Chairs of Faith. In the lesson, there are three chairs of faith- commitment, compromise and condemned. David, being described as a man after God's own heart, sat in the Chair of Commitment. Solomon was far to comfortable in the Chair of Compromise while his son, Rehoboam, never progressed from the last seat, the Chair of Condemned.

King David had it all and nearly lost it. After he committed the terrible sins of adultery and murder, David repents and ask God for mercy and forgiveness. His throne passes to Solomon who God had bestowed wisdom. But Solomon couldn't follow God's directions, and his compromise leads to God tearing Solomon's kingdom in two under the incompetent rule of his son Rehoboam, who completely abandoned God and the ways of his grandfather.

David didn't break the chain despite his sins. Solomon broke the chain because he refused to move from the Chair of Compromise into the Chair of Commitment. Rehoboam never left the Chair of Condemned.

The Chair of Compromise can become far to comfortable for Christians unfortunately. Part of that rest in the fact we are often slow to let go of our past transgressions and seek God's forgiveness through repentance. I think this is especially true for fathers that are charged to be the spiritual lead of the family. Too many times, a father messes up and feels his testimony is forever damaged and he is no longer useful to God, so he continues to drift away as if it possible to run from judgment.

That's when the second shoe hit me...

God gets all the glory when we mess up and repent, because at some point, we are all in that Chair of Compromise...if but only for a moment. Admitting mistakes is a particularly difficult task for most men, especially fathers. It demonstrates weakness, and that's a trait we don't want on display for our wives and children. But in the presence of God, we are weak and we do depend on Him for the most basic of needs. What better way to demonstrate to our families the love and mercy of our Father than to openly admit our weakness in relation to God, and confirm our place in the Chair of Commitment by surrendering to His mercy.

Guys, that might mean admitting when we are wrong to our families and apologizing. Ouch. That's when you scoot forward and sit on the leading edge of the Chair of Commitment...the part made from the Wood of Humility. It might not be the most comfortable position but sure beats changing chairs and breaking that chain.

May God bless our fathers with guidance and strength.


David said...

Admitting wrongs is tough for me. But I have had to ask my kids to forgive me from time to time.

As I look at the sins that were part of my parents and grandparents lives, each one of them has visited me and my siblings. I can also see them starting to manifest in the lives of my children. OUCH squared.

Deuteronomy 5:9 You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them. For I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, 10 and doing mercy to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

The only way I know to break the chain is bless our children. We do that with love, discipline and training them up in the ways of the Lord - and admitting when we're wrong.

Great post. Sorry for the bruises on your forehead.

Tracy said...

I like your metaphor "wood of humility"

Dee Dee said...

God Bless You, Tony! As much as I've been in church, this is the first time I have ever heard this story.

Admitting wrongs is a tough thing. Yet, I believe that I have to set an example. If I want to effect the lives around me, then I have to effect myself.

Michelle said...

Aww...come on. You can admit when you are wrong!

Seriously, it must be really hard to be the head of the home and still battle with your human nature and the fact that we all fall. You are in a role where you must take the lead and there are a lot of little eyes on you. But here is a little secret for you, even when you admit your wrong...even when you must little girls always love our daddies unconditionally and never see the error of their ways. ;)

(Just ask my mom, her favorite quote is..."You think the sun rises and shines in your Daddy's a**." ) :D

Trey Morgan said...

Enjoyed looking through your blog. Good stuff.

This post was challenging to me too. Whether it's a "man thing", "a human thing" or a "minister-thing" for some reason admitting wrongs is tough.

I'm willing to learn :)