When it comes to relationships, men are often intimidated and become fearful, even if they project the opposite emotions. Thus, two of the most damaging male responses, indifference and anger, stem front the same root cause – fear.
God created men to be confident, compassionate leaders. But then man fell. Eve chose to verbally engage the serpent. Even though he was with her, Adam did not protect his wife. Instead, in fear and self-interest, he watched the most destructive conversation in human history and said nothing (See Genesis 3:6). When Adam took the fruit from Eve, he had already fallen by doubting the word of God and failing to protect his wife. When confronted with his sin, Adam did what men still do – he passed the buck and blamed his wife.
Men, our legacy since the fall, without faith in Christ, is to be cowards in relationships. Out of fear, we tend to either ignore our children’s sin or become angry as if we bear no responsibility for their actions. This is where David fell short as a father.
Imagine two physically striking, proud young men. They both believed that they were wronged by their father. Absalom was angry that David had not punished Amnon for his sin against Tamar. Adonijah was angry because he believed he should have been made King instead of Solomon. Both sons shared something else in common. They had not received loving discipline from their father. David’s pattern with Amnon continued with Absalom and Adonijah. His failure with Adonijah is recorded in I Kings 1:6:
Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?”
David, the warrior, was not daunted by the lion, the wolf or the bear, or even by the giant, Goliath. But David, the father, lacked the courage to lovingly confront his sons. They all paid a huge price for this failure. David, like is first father Adam, cowered and failed to protect those whom he loved. Being angry doesn’t help; acting as if problems don’t exist doesn’t help. A fearful father will encourage rebellion in his children.
Loving confrontation requires courage and trust in God. Yes, it is a challenge. Learn from David’s sin with his sons. Fathers, husbands, we must engage our families. We must have courage to use pleasant words and ask questions that show courage rather than fear.
Follow Paul’s instruction:
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
For additional resources check out the numerous posts in the blog under the topic of parenting and communication.