The next week as Edna rode the jeepney towards her appointment with Pastor Cortez she was both nervous and excited: she might hear something she didn’t want to hear, and she might hear something she needed to hear!
When she greeted Cortez the pastor, sensing her anxiety, reminded himself of Isaiah 42 saying He won’t break a bruised reed. He won’t quench a dimly burning wick. “Relax,” he said, “I understand what you might be feeling, but I assure you, this whole situation will get better.
“Last week you said you feared your son has become disrespectful and uncooperative, maybe even starting to hate your husband and you, because he’s away most of the time?” “Yes,’ Edna answers. “Home life is getting very difficult. Even my other kids seem affected by it.”
“I see. Well, let’s look at some scriptures. Last week I pointed out how Deuteronomy 6 conveys God’s instructions to parents: These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Teaching the truths of the faith is not first of all the job of the clergy, but of the parents, fathers especially. One commentary says, ‘There is no role in our modern society that suffers greater neglect as far as God is concerned than that of the father. Not only has God given men the incredible privilege of imitating Him as Father, He has placed upon the shoulders of fathers an incredible responsibility.’
“Now let me ask you a question. Take two boys, both about 7, who live with their families near a fairly busy street. One boy has a father who, when he comes home, sits down with his son, asks him how school is going, and when he finds out that he’s being teased by other kids at school, takes him in his arms, reads to him about what Jesus says about loving one’s enemies, and praying for them, and then prays for his son, right there in the living room.
“The other boy’s father comes home from work, has a few beers, sits down in front of the TV, and completely ignores his son, doesn’t even care if he’d go play ball in the street.
“Now, which son do you think will be happier, and better behaved at home and even at school?”
“Well, of course, the first one,” Edna replies. “That’s right,” says Cortez. “While the Bible teaches children to obey their parents, e.g. in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3, it also shows the context: Husbands to love their wives, wives being respectful to their husbands as heads of the home, under Christ, and fathers are not supposed to “exasperate” or “embitter” their children.
“I believe a big way in our society that children—boys especially who need their fathers—are becoming bitter, even angry and disrespectful, is because the father, and often the mother, is absent so much. More on this next week, OK?”
“OK”, Edna says, obviously upset, but with a determined look on her face. . .