Fathers and Father-Figures - Do It Right, Be "Courageous"

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Fathers and Father-Figures - Do It Right, Be "Courageous"

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For Father’s Day, an idea popped into my head—rent the movie “Courageous” to watch with my wife and son. By the end of the movie, we were super thankful for the idea that made an ideal Father’s Day activity!

The movie focuses on the lives of four tough sheriff’s deputies who come to realize that being good fathers was a bigger challenge than being good law enforcement officers. For them, protecting the streets was second nature. Committing to raising their children in a God-honoring way required even greater courage. And the wisdom from the greatest authority on parenting—the Bible.

Movie critics who don’t like the Bible don’t like this movie. No surprise about that! But a very high percentage of the people who have watched the movie loved it as being highly entertaining, instructive, inspiring and motivating.

What the sheriff said to the deputies

Early in the movie, the sheriff gives a routine morning briefing to all the deputies. He concludes his instructions for the day by adding this:

“Had an e-mail to come across my desk I’d like to share with you. A recent study was done on the increase in violent gang activity. In almost every case, each gang member had a similar attribute. Runaways, dropouts, kids on drugs, and teens in prison. That attribute is that most of them came from a fatherless home. To put it another way, when a father’s absent, kids are five times more likely to abuse drugs and commit suicide, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. Look, I know your shift work is hard and I know you see the worst side of people. But when you clock out, go home and love your families.”

That pep talk and some other things got these cops thinking and examining themselves. The movie weaves together the lives of five families with all coming to a similar conclusion—kids need strong fathers and/or father-figures (as well as good mothers).

In working for the church’s personal correspondence department I help with answering most of the incoming “snail mail.” (Other elders answer the e-mail messages.) In the last year and a half, I’ve written about 725 letters of reply. It seems that about half of the letters are from prison inmates, and many of those inmates pour out their hearts about their tragic histories. Virtually everyone who brings up the subject of his childhood describes a life with no father, an abusive father, a largely absentee father, or a father who was a very bad example. There is no excuse for criminal activity, but many of those men would not have turned to crime if they had had good fathers.

Years ago I heard what a big deal Mother’s Day is in prisons. Most of the inmates buy a card for or write a letter to their mothers. But the majority of the inmates ignore Father’s Day because they never had a father around or, if they did, he was a lousy father. Isn’t this heartbreaking?!

So…may all of us fathers be firmly committed to being, with the guidance and help of God, the best fathers we can possibly be. And whether or not you have children of your own, you can be a strong father-figure to other children. There are lots and lots of children who don’t have a father with them. You can be a part-time dad and make a big difference in the life of a fatherless child.

The Resolution

In the movie, the policemen decide they want to make the strongest-possible commitment to godly fatherhood. The draw up a resolution to which they formally sign their names in front of witnesses.

The Resolution reads:

I DO solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.

I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.

I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.

I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.

I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.

I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.

I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.

I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.

I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.

I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.

I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.

I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.

And under the lines for the signatures is this verse from Joshua 24:15 Joshua 24:15And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
American King James Version×

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

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