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A Father's Day challenge to be strong, kind
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I don’t remember the exact words I spoke, but very quickly one of my nephews exclaimed, “Uh oh, Uncle Brad, you have to give up your ‘man card.’”
I know that I wasn’t talking about a show on Lifetime Television, nor was I talking about the quiche I had eaten earlier that week. But something triggered his statement. I had in some way shown myself to be a lesser man, and I would have to pay.
Certainly the day before Father’s Day would be a good time to seek to determine what makes a man a real man. Tomorrow we celebrate, but the fact is that many men are not certain how to live as a true man in this world of ours.
My suggestion would be for us to consider the example of Jesus of Nazareth. Many think only of “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” and indeed the Bible gives us a picture of man who could be extremely sensitive. He cried at the grave of Lazarus, and he called the little children to sit in His lap.
But the Bible also tells us about a strong and powerful man, both in action and in personality. He stood in the boat and told the storm to be still, and the winds ceased to blow and the rain stopped falling.
He took a whip and cleaned out the temple of those who were cheating others. And He quietly accepted the beatings, stabs of nails and thorns, and the agony of going to the cross, all the while thinking of those who needed His grace and mercy. All of these are the actions of a real man.
Fathers are to teach our children, both with words and deeds, how to follow God. Husbands are to love our wives as Jesus loved the church, willing to give our very lives for their sakes. Men are to be both strong and kind. While he was not known as a great theologian, Dan Fogelberg spoke of his father’s “thundering, velvet hand,” and that captures the spirit of the true man.
I know that I am not the man I want to be. Too often I fall short of the things I seek to do. But I also know I am not the man I used to be, because Jesus Christ has changed my life. He gives me strength to be the man I was created to be, and He will do the same for you.
As we celebrate Father’s Day, I would challenge the men to be godly. That means to be strong. It also means to be kind. Jesus was both. We can be, too.
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