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Through a Daughter's Eyes

I was recently listening to testimonies of how God redeemed lost souls and raised dead things to life when I realized a common thread.

Fatherless generation A daughter needs to hear, “You’re beautiful” and “I love you”, first and always from a man who expects nothing in return.

A son needs to hear, “I’m proud of you” and “I see great potential”, first and always from a man who’s looking out for his best interest.

When the world is the first place children find acceptance, the first place they’re “noticed”, the first place they’re told to “believe in themselves” - the results can be tragic.

Fatherlessness is a generational curse that makes many hardships and circumstances unavoidable. The young men and women who came through single-parent families testified to experimenting with drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, lying, and stealing at very young ages. Addiction, promiscuity, violence, and suicide awaits those who search high and low to fill the dad-sized void in their lives. Unless a grandfather, uncle, coach, pastor - some strong male - steps up, then innocence will be lost, potential will be wasted, and futures will be hopeless.

For the record, mothers are just as important and any of the above circumstances can be true of someone with a good dad. The point is identity comes from the father. Nurture comes from mothers, nature comes from fathers and both are needed to build a healthy sense of identity. Bloodlines, kinship, family names are most often paternally preserved either by genetics or by most traditions. You’ll have to do your own research to find the best scientific reference for all this, but trust it is certainly biblical.

A different perspective of Bible heroes I recently read the stories of two Old Testament patriarchs whom Christians generally regard as heroes of the faith. In their devotion to God these men were good influencers; they set some of the best examples for nations to follow. However, on the homefront, they were both exceedingly terrible husbands and fathers. I've never heard a sermon preached through either of their daughter’s eyes.

Jacob & Dinah (Genesis 34) Jacob’s daughter Dinah was abducted and raped by the prince of a neighboring kingdom. As a result, Dinah was considered unclean and unacceptable to be given in marriage; her male relatives were the only men appropriate for her to be seen with; her reputation and her family’s were tarnished. When Jacob heard about the incident he said and did nothing (likely because she was the daughter of the wife he did not love).

Dinah’s brothers were “shocked” and “furious” (NLT); meanwhile her father’s emotions are not even recorded in Scripture until her brothers return from killing and plundering the rapist, his family, and every man in their kingdom. Only then did Jacob panic in thinking a revenge war would break out. He was clearly concerned for his own safety and his possessions, with little thought given to defending his daughter's honor.

Dinah was now stuck living as a spinster or widow in her father’s house - literally never going out in public - for the rest of her life.

David & Tamar (2 Samuel 13) David’s daughter Tamar was raped by her half brother Ammon who faked an illness and requested Tamar cook a meal for him alone. David (recently having committed adultery and murder) did not consult the Lord and had no discernment of what was about to transpire. He agreed to his favorite son's request and left the house. After Ammon attacked Tamar, his servants threw her out on the curb heaping shame and disgrace on the young woman.

Tamar was now unclean and unacceptable to be given in marriage; her male relatives were the only men appropriate for her to be seen with. Her full-brother Absalom took care of her for many years. When King David first heard about the incident he was “very angry” but did nothing to punish Ammon. Absalom eventually took revenge and killed Ammon. Tamar was stuck living as a spinster or widow in the king’s harem - literally never going out in public - for the rest of her life.

Jacob and David indirectly ruined their daughters' lives. It turns out even the mightiest of men are passive cowards under certain circumstances. Only God knows whether or not they sincerely regretted how they handled these situations. Sadly, we're left to assume the few words recorded in Scripture is the fullest extent of their thoughts and feelings toward their daughters.

A new Father No parent is perfect and God knows we are all weak and helpless. While the Lord had His reasons for choosing those two men to be part of the lineage of Christ, we can be sure it wasn’t due to their ability to love and protect their offspring. Without giving statistics, I'd say the majority of men in America display this side of Jacob and David while the minority of devoted, caring, loving fathers are overlooked and less appreciated.

In the first few days of giving my life to Christ, I got revelation (a personal word from the Lord) that my earthly father was no longer my father. God let me know that He was now my first line of contact, my provider, my dad. This did not mean I couldn’t talk to my earthly dad, but the dynamics of the relationship changed dramatically and I quit depending on him. I figured out my own finances, I stopped giving him copies of my apartment keys (I don’t know why that was a thing anyway), and I slowly started to withdraw from family functions.

My testimony in this area is not ready to be fully shared. So, in closing I'll say that absentee, abusive, and physically present but emotionally distant fathers have left countless in a state of brokenness, confusion, and searching for identity in all the wrong places. I pray healing, deliverance, and wholeness for every son and daughter who has endured the worst a father could offer.

For all those who are still looking for a place to belong, I encourage you to give God the Father's seat in your heart. It will change your life for the best.

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