By Matt Haviland
Special to Inside The Pew
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.” –Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)
Be honest: when you hear the words “single dad,” what sort of image immediately pops into your mind? Do terms such as “deadbeat” top the list? Or, do you think of a man with solo custody of his children? Do you see them as equal to a single mom? Interesting topic, one I’m sure that many people do not think of regularly- but why not? Are there not plenty of men out there raising their sons and daughters, either by themselves or in a co-parenting situation? To help shed some light on the subject, let’s quickly cover four “point of views” that all add up to one very important question: Are we viewing single fathers the way we should be?
The World’s Point of View
Look, I am well aware of the devastating effect fatherlessness has had on this world. However, to place all single dads in the same category would be equivalent to stereotyping any racial or social class in a likewise manner. It just doesn’t work. Single parenting in any aspect is extremely difficult and those who don’t experience it think they know more than we do. Do not be deceived, however, God’s wisdom is infinitely superior (1 Cor 2:14, 3:18-19) and the Bible tells us that we really shouldn’t be shocked if others don’t care for us (John 15:18, 1 John 3:13).
Our Children’s Point of View
Any sort of single parenting arrangement must be confusing in some way to a child- because it is not God’s natural design and our human nature knows it. Regardless of how we got here, as fathers, we are still called by God to raise our kids in Christ and to prepare them for adulthood (Psalm 145:4, Prov 20:7). Our kids need us to be there as their protectors and life leaders. A strong, authentic, and Christ-centered lifestyle will only be effective on them if we are truly walking that way and have found what it means to “be still”- even when all hell is breaking loose around us.
Our Point of View
Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can forget who we truly are sometimes? God’s Word tells us that we are hand-stitched and perfectly created for His good works (Gen 1:26, Psalm 139:13-14, Eph 2:10). News flash: God doesn’t make mistakes! When we begin to view ourselves through spiritual eyes rather than our natural, we position ourselves to get a glimpse of the only point of view that truly matters.
God’s Point of View
If we truly believe that Jesus is with us always and we can do all things through Him- then our victory has already been secured. Others may choose to put labels on us or be quick to judge without all of the facts, but as one single dad so perfectly put it, “Just because she left me doesn’t mean He will too.” Brokenness may hurt when it’s fresh, but it is only when a wound is left unattended that it can become infected. God does not see us as the world sees us; He doesn’t even see us as we see ourselves sometimes. Hold fast to His Word tonight, knowing that in Him, all of those promises are “Yes” and “Amen.”
So, going back to my original question: Are we viewing single fathers the way we should be?
Matt Haviland is the founder of “A Father’s Walk” single dad ministry and the author of the book, “A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resources for Single Fathers.” He currently lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., is the co-founder of the Grand Rapids Single Parenting Expo, and is a single dad to a beautiful little girl himself. For more information on the ministry and how to form a single dad small group in your own church, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.
*Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on Crosswalk.com on Aug. 22, 2013. Republished with permission.