God made you for more.
“How’re you doing?” “Fine.”
It’s a routine exchange that is parroted millions of times every day all across our nation. But are we really fine? How much damage is happening because we – men, especially – refuse to admit when we’re not fine? Have we taken the time to consider the true state of our mind and spirit? Would we have the courage to speak up and share if we were in fact very, very UN-fine?
Today, 18.3 million children in America are growing up fatherless in their home – that’s more than 1 in every 4 boys and girls. Of all single-parent homes, in 80% there’s just the single mother.
Children from single-parent families are twice as likely to suffer from mental health and behavioral problems as those living with married parents. A landmark study revealed that 70% of youth in state-operated facilities, (juvenile detention, mental health, jails and prisons, etc.) came from single-parent homes.
82% of shooters in schools grew up in either an unstable family environment or were without both biological parents together in the home.
As a nation full of fatherless children, we are not fine.
Maybe you understand what those fatherless children are going through. Perhaps you too grew up without a dad, and you’ve been telling yourself for years that it wasn’t a big deal – that you’re fine, then and now.
But when we try to justify or minimize the wounds to our soul as “okay” or “in the past,” or say, “My father did the best he could,” we are not being honest with the real and destructive nature of sin.
Instead, we are saying that we are willing to settle for this broken world’s standard of “good enough” and deny the goodness and perfection of our Creator, our King, our Savior, and our heavenly Father.
The reality is, wounded fatherless boys suffer. And guess what – those boys grow up to be men and the suffering does not end.
Though tough and sometimes calloused on the outside, boys will cry out in pain into their pillows at night. They plead for help in many ways. They wander around deeply hurt, but nobody notices. They rebel in anger to let the world know about the pain they are suffering. Or they become overachievers trying to prove their worthiness.
Still when you ask how they’re doing, they’ll likely tell you they’re “fine.” As men with that deep devastation buried by fatigue and time, they’ll tell you the same thing. “I’m fine.”
As men, when we pretend to be unharmed or do not acknowledge God’s holy plan, our witness confuses the life-giving words of the Creator that we are trying to share with a hurting and dying world.
We do ourselves and others no favor by making excuses that minimize our pain or ignore the past in order to cope with the consequences of not having a father who fulfilled the divine, spiritual, or practical roles of Pastor, Provider, and Protector.
Our soul yearns to be fully led into manhood by a healthy, complete shepherd who fulfills all of the God-ordained roles, not just one or two. We’re not being courageous or manly when we excuse our own wrongful actions (or inactions) because “we are fine.” Fine is not holy. Fine is not mature or courageous. Fine is not righteous. Fine is not true. It is far, far from it.
“Fine” is the lie of the wounded.
My Brother, you don’t have to be “fine” anymore. God wants more for you than what this world thinks you should settle for. He wants you to have abundant life in Him, your loving heavenly Father. In John 10:10, Jesus said,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
The wounds of growing up in a fatherless home can steal, kill, and destroy. But in Christ, that wound can be healed – completely – so you can trade “fine” for the full life of purpose God created you for.
This article is an excerpt from Man Enough to Forgive, John Smithbaker’s new book. Please invest a few minutes to read the feature and if it touches your spirit, pre-order your copy of the book now and discover how to find healing for your father wound and become the man God intended you to be.