Friday, June 17, 2011

David in our Midst-Happy Father's Day!!!!

My Sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; and a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.  Psalm 51:17

This weekend is Father’s day and for some reason Father’s day is not as celebrated as Mother’s day. Yes I know, I've heard it all. All of the reasons why mothers ought to be more celebrated than fathers. Women seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders; working full time while nurturing their family. The Haitian culture has this saying my mother would often repeats “a father can always deny his child but a mother will never.” Not to mention all of the “men are stupid, absent minded and oblivious commercials; all of which seems to make a compelling case for dishonoring men and fathers.

It breaks my heart to see how we dishonor our brothers with such demeaning rhetoric.  I think we can do better.

The bible has a narrative about a man very much like our modern day men; husbands and fathers. His name was David. Acts 13:22 refers to David as a man after God’s heart. If we look deeper into David's story, we will come out not fully understanding the characteristics that deem a man God saw after his heart. This man David was an adulterer, he committed adultery with Bathsheba (a married woman), she became pregnant and to cover his sin, he sends her husband, Uriah to battle so that he would be killed in order to have her as his wife. Many theologians theorize that the relationship David had with Bathsheba was not consensual since David was the King, his position of power alone would not allow Bathsheba the right to refuse the King's request.  To make matters worst David wasn't a very good father, his children were quite rebellious and he did not reprimand as they deserved.

Two of the sins society seems to abhor the most in a man, David had committed: infidelity and a negligent father. And this is the man God named a man after My heart.

I've always pondered about this narrative regarding men, their relationship to God and how we celebrate them in society. What was it that seemed to have made the difference in David’s relationship with God, where God would call him a man after my heart?

Three things seemed to have made a difference in David’s relationship with God in spite of his sins:

1) David seemed to have been open to correction-When David was confronted about his sins by Nathan, he repented. Psalms 51
2) God is intolerant of sin-David’s sin was not without consequences 2 Samuel 12-14
3) God is a forgiving God-God allowed David to enter back into community and a relationship with him. Psalm 103

I wonder if the reason we don’t celebrate fathers as much as mothers is because we as a society have Davids in our midst and we have become tolerant of their sins. We have made excuses for bad behavior with no consequences. We let them off the hook too easily. We allow them to simply “pay child support”. We allow them to get “out” of their relationships without any accountability. And the question I want to ask is where are the strong role models, like Nathan, to confront them about their sins? We have simply become tolerant of their sins and that tolerance has made us bitter.

And then we vacillate to the other extreme, we harden our hearts and refuse to forgive. Psalms 103 describe God as forgiving and does not stay angry forever. But we are unforgiving and we tend to stay bitter and angry for a very long time. How many of you still recount Bill Clinton’s sins? You still remember his infamous line in the press conference which starts with “I did not have…”. My point exactly! You just finished the line. We are unforgiving. I have to admit forgiveness is HARD work and apart from Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, I don’t know how it’s possible.

So on this father’s day, I want to honor all of the Davids in our midst. I want to honor all of the fathers; those who have done a great job and those who have made a mess of their lives. I pray that you all may become men after God’s heart! I dedicate the book of Psalms to you all as an inspiration that your best is yet to come!

Now go and kill something, grill it, eat it and have a blast this weekend!

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