Most men grow up thinking their father can do anything. Several playground arguments begin with boys talking about how much money their dad makes or how one boy’s dad could surely beat up another boy’s dad in a fistfight. It seems that our worldview of our biological father informs our view of our heavenly father. To some that have been in the church for a while, this might seem like common sense rhetoric that has been propagated on numerous occasions from the pulpit. For others, this is brand new information that they are currently trying to organize within their own mind.
Last week, my colleague and I were in my office having a meaningful conversation about the abundance of brokenness and lack of spiritual maturity that seems to be plaguing the men within our community. He voiced his opinion that every man has to determine how he will respond when they find out that their dad is not superman. I was sort of surprised by this. Did he really operate under the notion that his dad was superman? The whole idea seemed very naive to me but in the back of my mind I must say that I was somewhat envious. He continued and stated that he didn’t realize that his dad wasn’t perfect until he was a teenager.
My experience was very different in that I harbored a lot of hatred, bitterness and even resentment for my biological father. After my parents went through an ugly divorce when I was 3 years old, seeds were planted and took root later in my life in the form of drug addiction and other sin. I ran away from the love and acceptance that my stepfather and mother offered me on a daily basis and made my own decision to drink alcohol, do drugs and go to as many parties as possible. I responded to my brokenness by running which only created more brokenness.
This self-destructive concept may seem crazy, but many of the men I work with respond the exact same way when faced with the reality that their dad isn’t superman. Parents aren’t perfect. Parents are just adults that have flaws and make decisions. Some decisions are bad and produce rotten fruit while some decisions are good and produce healthy long lasting fruit.
Who is it that represents superman in your life?
God blessed me with a chance to meet superman. He didn’t storm through my living room with a cape on and I don’t think he ever beat up anyone’s dad but he did take on a single mother and two rowdy sons as if they were his own. He never once complained about his lot, he never treated us any different than his own biological son. The man simply stepped up to the plate and offered my mother, brother and myself: happiness, stability and an abundance of love that has gone without rival since. Jimmy Bent taught me what a good heavenly father looks like by showing me what a good earthly father looks like.