There is a fine line between being honest and being a jerk. I walk that line almost every day. People come to me and ask questions about their life situation and the difficulties they are facing. They tell me stories of the activities they are participating in each week that impacts their life. Some of them open up about issues, ideas, and dreams, and then they wait for my response. I want to be polite and pastoral, while still telling them the truth. This is a tough line to walk, and I usually find myself living in regret for either what I said or what I should have said. So often I wanted to say something plainly but feared being rejected for my bluntness, especially when dealing with men. What I wanted to say was something different from what came out at the moment.
1. When you said, “My wife handles raising the children, especially that Church stuff” what I wanted to say was, “You are a poor example of a man.” Being a man is not just about having a job and providing for your family financially. It is about being a leader in your home. It means leading the way spiritually, emotionally and physically. Your presence is the most significant influence in the life of a child. Young girls who grow up with an absentee father spend their whole lives trying to fill that void with sex, older men, and a desperate search for love and approval. Young boys who do not have a solid male role model end up involved in drugs and alcohol or some destructive behavior. They spend their lives trying to understand manhood without a model, so they resort to pleasure or power. A real man points the way toward adulthood in every area of life. They lead their home, not follow their wives.
2. When you said, “I let my child make their own spiritual decisions,” what I wanted to say was, “That is a terrible decision.” You do not let your child make decisions about anything else. You tell them when to get up, that they must go to school, what they are to eat, where they can and cannot go and what time to go to bed. You are the adult, and your job is to use your wisdom to direct their life. Our natural inclination is to move away from God and not toward him. Given the opportunity, every one of us will choose evil over good and poor decisions over Godly ones. Letting your child make all their own spiritual decisions is like throwing them the car keys at 15 and saying, “Figure it out and have fun.” A big wreck is coming.
3. When you said, “We have sports stuff a lot of Sundays,” what I wanted to say was, “Be prepared for your children to be marginally Christian and your grandchildren not to know God at all.” When other activities take precedent over Church, your children hear the message loud and clear. Slowly one thing taking priority becomes two things, and then three and soon spiritual matters are near the bottom of the list. When a man shows that faith is not essential, their children will imitate that behavior. Your children will still say they believe in God, but a shift has happened. Their belief comes only at convenient times like religious holidays, weddings and funerals. The final significant change is that this lack of priority on the things of God will impact the next generation. Marginal faith leads to no faith in a generation. Your grandchildren will make fun of the things you once held dear, and the hard part is that shift started with you. You have only yourself to blame.
I know: Most of this is way to harsh to come up in casual conversation. I want to say it, but I know it will repel more men that it attracts. Today I am using this forum to tell you the truth. I hope it does not upset you, but you need to know these things before it is too late.