Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Honoring a Less-than-Perfect Father

Linda Goodnight here. Not everyone is blessed with a great relationship with their father, but the Bible tells us to honor him anyway. There is not an ‘except’ on the end of the command. It doesn’t matter if he was absent, a drunk, abusive, or just a jerk. We still have to honor him. How do we do that? Well, here’s a simple idea the Lord dropped into my heart years ago - Find the good and honor that.

My dad had the most amazing work ethic. No matter the weather or how he sick he might be, he got up before 5 A.M. and made that hour commute to work. And he did it for 35 years. The only days off, other than regular vacation, that I remember is when his appendix ruptured and later when a boiler at work exploded and he was hospitalized.

When I asked him why he was so faithful to his job, he told me this. As a young high school drop-out with three kids to support, he needed a good job badly and there were none in our small town. He heard that an air force base sixty miles away was hiring civilians. He hitchhiked that distance to and from work, not once, but for over a week until he could find a ride and later could buy a car. He was so grateful for that job that he was determined to keep it and to do the best work he could. Those are things I can honor about my father.

What is one thing about your father you can honor?


  1. Your dad sounds very committed to what he does. You make a very good point about how we still have to honor our father, parents. It is just so hard sometimes. Do you know any verses from the bible that could help reassure me about this honor? It would really help me with my dad, I think. It's very interesting to me that you would pick this topic to write about. This is a subject close to my heart. Thank you for bringing it up.

  2. Linda -- I had a less than perfect father, too (as you so graciously state it). Over the years as he's aged though I have come to have more compassion for him and to gain understanding of the problems he had in his own childhood. He was less than perfect, but better than his own father so I can honor him for that.

    Hannah -- I know your struggle as I've had it for most of my life as well.

  3. Hannah,

    I can feel your struggle because it's one I've had all my life. There was a time I would not buy my dad a Father's Day card because I thought it was hypocritical. But when I really understood the scripture that says to honor our father and mother SO THAT WE MAY HAVE LONG LIFE, I realized God was trying to fix ME, not my dad. He wants to free us from anger and bitterness--things that can actually kill us.

    Another thing I learned was that forgiveness is a choice and for my own peace of mind I CHOSE to forgive and find a way to honor my dad. I don't thinking honoring means you have to agree with them or even be with them. For me, it simply means to give them credit for whatever they've done that was right.

    Is it easy? You and I both know it isn't.

    Yes, it's a topic near to me, too.

    Be blessed and thank you for commenting.

  4. Thanks for sharing that, Linda. I think it helps to look at the positive--any bit of postitive we can find--in any situation.

    Thanks for sharing what a hard worker your dad was.


  5. Although not real genial, my father was a hard-working farmer and father. No matter the difficulties, he stuck it out. For that I am grateful. Would have hated to be from a broken home.

  6. Linda,
    I see what you are saying, but like you also said, it is very hard.
    I'm not sure what is the hardest thing, though. A brief snapshot of the problem(I suppose!): My dad was terrible to my mom, sister, and I. He was verbally abusive and occasionally physical(very occasional though). He, then, cheated on my mom with many women and gambled away any savings that he knew of. My mom finally initiated a divorce(there is a whole other story there for another time). Now my dad is remarried again(after about 3 years) and has been married for almost a year now. This is his 4th marriage(1st after my mom, though). Joanne(stepmom) is great. My sister and I love her a lot. We are very fearful, however, that they will end up divorced too. We have seen their behaviour and it's kind of going downhill. Our mom still hasn't come to terms with Joanne, so it's hard for us. We live two different lives. One with mom and one with dad and Joanne! It's tough, like you said.
    The problem is: if dad and Joanne get divorced, Alicia(my sister) and I feel that we would choose to support Joanne over dad. Then, dad would be upset and mom would too! It's really stressful for us. We are only in high school and wish we didn't have to be worrying about these things. However, we know our dad and his habits, unfortunaltely. I don't know! Hahaha! I feel like I might be rambling now. I'm sorry if this doesn't make much sense, but it feels great to get that out of my system.
    Thank you to all of the Love Inspired authors because your novels give me hope and strength and you're great listeners!. Also, thanks to all of the other followers of the blog and fans of the Love Inspired novels for listening too. I talk a lot! : )

  7. my father was Big man. Over six foot with a bull neck 17 1/2 neck on his dress shirt and he had a big temper. He could blow with little to spark the explosion. Yet, he was gentle as they came. He never held a grudge and always knew what could make a hurt spirit bloom.
    I treasure the memories of saturday movie matinees with him. He travelled during the week to support us but Saturdays were mine. He was my John Wayne.


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