Intimacy and Fathers

Saturday, the world’s largest annual homosexual march took place in São Paulo. Over two million people converged on Avenida Paulista, the city’s financial center, to chant the theme that “homophobia” should be considered a crime.

Sunday, the U.S. celebrated Father’s Day./1 The day recognizes the importance of fathers in the family and in the lives of his children.

These two events, back to back, remind me how crucial the father’s job is. The homosexual isn’t after sex, but intimacy with a parent who didn’t provide it.

Prevention is, of course, the best remedy. Parents, both fathers and mothers, need to develop close relationships with their children. Physical presence, quality and quantity time, spiritual emphasis, fun, listening, encouragement, tenderness — these and more contribute toward cultivating intimacy with one’s children.

And for those whose fathers were absent or overbearing, whose backgrounds have produced same-sex attraction, hope lingers near.

Often, as adults, relationships with fathers can be improved, once past the often turbulent teen years. Also, developing close friends of the same sex will provide much of that intimacy which one’s father never provided.

As well, for the Christian, the discovery of God as Father and drawing near to him in spiritual closeness is the ultimate answer, especially when circumstances, culture, or fears keep him from seeking wholesome same-sex friendships.

God provides a new identity as a Christian man or woman. When a father fails to give a child a sense of identity as a man or woman, God as Father can do this later in life. God’s voice — God’s definition — of one’s sexuality and maleness or femaleness replaces the distorted human definition received from one’s dad. So his true and healthy identity begins to form.

Same-sex attraction will diminish as a Christian rehearses in his own mind his God-given identity. As he recognizes God as the real authority and identity definer, he will reject the warped authority of parents or peers.

When a father or mother “forsakes” the child in his emotional needs, the Lord will take him in (Psalm 27:10). He will be a father to him who has been fatherless in his development (Psalm 68:5). God the Father will show him how to be different from the father who failed him (Psalm 78:8).

In comparing his behavior toward the Thessalonians, Paul described in part the good role of the father:

“You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

When the father cultivates godly intimacy with his children, he teaches them the true meaning of personhood. With fathers like God the Father, children find their true identity and grow to be people who, rather than search to fill an aching need, offer fullness of life to many.
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1/ In Brazil, the day is celebrated on the second Sunday in August.

 

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J. Randal Matheny

Servant of the Lord at GoSpeak
Randal and his wife have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. Randal's a lefty, a chocolate lover, an author and a poet.

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