Posted by: janpierce | September 2, 2011

The Importance of Having a Father (or Mother)

   About six months ago there was a rumor spread in India among our friends that Roger had suddenly died. Our dear friend Nehemiah called our home to confirm the facts or maybe to console me. He was surprised to hear Roger answer the phone and respond that the rumors were wildly exaggerated. We still don’t know the source of that false information, but the depth of Nehemiah’s love for Roger did impress me. Nehemiah said he had fallen to the ground in agony at the news, and his wife had to pray for him. Nehemiah’s own earthly father passed away several years ago and there had been a rift in their relationship. While Nehemiah had forgiven his father for many things, he turned his need of a father figure to Roger instead and still relies on his advice and encouragement. Roger’s love for Nehemiah is all-encompassing–nothing held back. Even the cultural and language barriers don’t lessen the bond.

I think we sometimes underestimate our need for fathers and mothers in our faith. Who will model righteous behavior for us, who will teach us what we need to know, and who will pick us up when we’ve failed? In India there is a strong teacher/pupil model throughout the country–it’s common to look up to a mentor with something akin to devotion. In the Christian world we need to be sure that a mentoring relationship is not one of higher and lower, but one of more experience, as we are all equal at the foot of the cross. But the father-son relationship for Roger and Nehemiah is a sweet one and it means a lot to both of them.

Women, we need to have mothers in the Lord in a similar manner. Who are the women you look to for counsel, love and encouragement? I can list several, even though I don’t often meet with them. The father and mother roles are crucial when times are hard–in times of crisis. Those roles are a little different than our friendships, though those are very important too.

Take a few moments and think of the mothers or fathers in your life and be sure to maintain your relationship with those persons. Be thankful for them and let them know that you are.

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