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God judges every man: Meditation for Father’s Day

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Princewill O. Ireoba

Introduction
Every third Sunday in June is marked as Father’s Day to specially honour and celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Father’s Day is traditionally spelt as singular because fathers are celebrated as individuals as they relate to their respective families, not as a collective group. Fatherhood is not only biological. Men who guide, provide, protect and perform fatherly roles are also fathers or father figures.

Historical Background
Father’s Day started as a civic celebration in the US in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day by celebrating fathers and male parenting. It officially began in 1910 in Spokane, Washington with Sonora Dodd, a 27-year old lady proposing it as a way to honour her father, who raised her when her mom died during childbirth. The movement grew to acquire a US national-event status in 1924 under President Calvin Coolidge, who said it would “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children” and “impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations…” The holiday gained traction during World War II, and in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed the third Sunday of June to be Father’s Day. President Richard Nixon made it a federal holiday in 1972. Today, Father’s Day has virtually become global, with some celebrating it on different days.

A Father Is Accountable To God
A father is the head of the family and entrusted with setting standards, family values and examples. By this, he is responsible and accountable to God for what he does and what happens in his family or to those under him. Fatherhood is stewardship and a heavy responsibility under God. Family constitutes the smallest unit of the society and so, the father is the real grassroots leader, as well as the foundation and test for every other leadership, hence, the disqualification from church leadership of any man who fails to “manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect”. (1Tim. 3:1, 4-5).

In today’s permissive world, the Christian father should stand out as God’s agent for instilling righteousness in his family. “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just…” (Gen. 18:19). Moses clearly stated the responsibility of the godly fathers to their children and grandchildren. “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”  (Gen. 4:9).

The question now is: How do fathers fulfil their fatherly roles? How are they seen in the sight of God with respect to faithfulness to the trust given to them? How exemplary, responsible and accountable are their lives?

God Judges Every Man
God watches every deed of man and brings him to judgment. He does not condone evil.
Today, people often trace or link their calamities to the sins or lives of their forefathers and often resort to change of names and “family works/liberation”. When we fix our eyes on others as the source of our problems, we often forget to look inwards and examine ourselves to see how we have failed God, particularly in family matters. In Malachi 2:13-14, God said: “And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and crying; So He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.” It is high time we looked at our lives with retrospect and seriously consider how faithful we have been as husbands and fathers. God judges and sanctions every man – rewarding and punishing every man according to his deeds.

Conclusion
It is a privilege to be a father. But the privilege is with responsibilities. Some acts of many fathers are unbecoming and not only lead others astray, but also incur God’s judgement on them.
Ven. Dr Princewill O. Ireoba is the Rector,
Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
www.ibrucentre.org


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