On the 17th June the UK celebrates Father’s day which contrasts very differently to Mother’s day!
In an age where gender equality is uppermost in people’s minds, there is always an appropriate space to celebrate individuality in various relationships and how they have impacted upon us. Any relationship, however it is valued and in what context it is formed, will have its highs and its lows!
Recently I was travelling back to the UK via Istanbul after a mission trip to Albania. At Ataturk airport, which is one of the biggest airports in the world, many people from all over the globe where mingling about and making sure they were at the right gate to board the flight to their chosen destination. It was beautiful to see all the people from different countries, cultures, faith or no faith backgrounds. Each person is unique in their own special way, yet very much connected as a member of the human race.
In such a setting many differing relationships would exist! There would be lots of conservative traditionalists walking alongside those holding very liberal and modern views. Lots of people would be passionate about having good relationships, whereas many would only think about themselves and neglect the importance of being connected to others. Many would be kind and considerate, compared to those who would be actively cruel and inconsiderate.
Recently I heard some special words of affirmation and thanksgiving from a loving son about his father’s mercy. He also included how his Dad was sympathetic and held a tender and compassionate love that resonated with the words from Luke. (1) He thanked him for being a gentleman, a guide, a protector, and map in his life. In times of trial the son gave thanks for his father being a great strength and example that would continue in his presence or in his absence.
Just as there are many good or bad mothers there will be many bad and good fathers which affect family members in different ways.
Think for a moment about your own relationship with your earthly or heavenly father? How would you rate it from one to ten and on what basis have you scored, which in itself will be subjective and circumstantial?
10 the best Dad ever? …………………………………………………..1 the worst Father ever?
At this point is it important to remember that our earthly fathers will have been subject to varying degrees of love or neglect from their own fathers. Some would have been able to redeem and renew their relationship. Others by choice or ignorance would have replicated what they experienced in subsequent relationships.
Recently I heard of a daughter who complained about her father’s lack of listening and connecting with her. As she spoke to her father he would invariably hide behind his open newspaper and avoid any form of conversation. This was still very upsetting for her as she realized this represented a poor father/daughter relationship.
Communication in any relationship is vital and it can be improved and worked upon. Whilst walking around Ataturk airport I was very impressed by a young kiosk assistant who was serving an elderly lady. The lady spoke in her own language asking for something to eat.
The assistant responded in English, but the lady was unable to understand. The young man quickly changed his language to Arabic which was the ladies mother tongue This enabled the transaction to be completed very smoothly, with the lady full of gratitude for the prompt and sensitive manner of the man in the kiosk.
To understand visually, emotionally and physically is very important. To understand helps us to accommodate and move alongside someone. It will allow relationships to be renewed and for forgiveness to take root which brings forth new life and relationships.
There is an old song about “Father Abraham” who at the age of 99 received a covenant call from Almighty God. He went on to be seen as a father figure for the three great Monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. (2)
The song says that ‘Abraham had many sons,’ but its important to remind ourselves that he would have had many daughters as well. Both sons and daugthers are to be seen as equal and wanting good relationships with each other.
A contrasting modern worship song by Chris Tomlin, speaks of a “Good Good” Heavenly father. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqybaIesbuA In knowing love from an earthly and heavenly father, it can equip us to act as a model and map that enables us to form good human relationships that accommodates, understands, forgives and accepts.
In experiencing bad relationships it may open up the possibility of us treating others as we have been treated ourselves. We become the victim rather than an overcomer. Those who have offended us become a scapegoat figure upon whom we level all blame. Such thinking may abdicate us from any responsibilities for the troubles we have experienced in the past but it will affect present and future relationships!
In thinking about our parents, a mother’s character in general is to protect their children. However, there will be a time when the child has to move from the security of the home into the unknown. Then it’s often a father figure who gives confidence and encouragement to the child to move from the home with the assurance that both parents will be at hand to help where required.
A ‘good good’ father should offer Protection, Provision and Guidance to all under his wing. Any words that we carry from the inadequacies of an Earthly or Heavenly father will have to find some form of healing and placement so that we may move forward in positive tones.
Whatever type of relationship we have experienced and seek to offer to others, may it be the best in mutual acceptance, forgiveness, and a willingness to support rather than scapegoat or neglect altogether.
From Father Graham!!
1 Luke 6 v 36 – 38 2 Genesis 17 v 1 – 7.