What if your Dad is a Jerk?

June 12, 2013

by Derek Archer, @daredub

Here it comes. Like clockwork. Every year, in June, that Sunday that we celebrate fathers.

What if your father isn’t worth celebrating? What if your dad is a jerk? What if he was never around?

I have shared the story about my dad here. I remember Father’s day being a stinging reminder of what wasn’t. I desired a relationship that never happened, and in my case never could.


I was walking down the hallway at our church realizing that many mom’s this weekend will be picking up their kids alone. As Hallmark is making money for cards, millions of hearts will be grieving broken relationships with their dads.

What is the impact on a country when one in three homes don’t have dads? What are we to do?

                                                  “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” -Ephesians 6:2-3

We are called to honor.

Why would God say that? Doesn’t he know how many dads have left mom’s to do the job of two parents? Doesn’t God know how many fathers spend all their energy at work, with none left for the family? Doesn’t God realize how many fathers abuse their kids, or abuse moms in front of their kids?

Why would God call us to honor?

To honor is to give weight to something, to esteem it, to hold it in high regard. This is the key to honor.

Perhaps the only thing your father did was contribute to your coming into being, and tragically many have stolen that moment. But you were not an accident. God knew you, while you were in your mother’s womb, and he has great plans for you. Each of your days are laid about before a perfect God. You are honored by God, and he adores you.

Your earthly dad may not have loved you at all, but your Father in Heaven loves you perfectly. Can you trust that he knew what he was doing? What if he chose you, not only to redeem and heal the family that you will have and those who will come after you- but also to heal or redeem those who have gone before you? What if God’s desire was to make you a commercial to the world, showing how a person who was born into brokenness can live in freedom? What if God wants a broken people living around you heals broken people?

Can this be shown through honor?

Can you at least honor that there was a moment, when your dad was a little boy, and say on his bed dreaming of great things? He did not desire to grow up and abandon or abuse his family, nor did he dream of being a dead-beat dad. But life has a way of changing little boys into bad dads. Our part, is to honor the good in every dad that did not come into being, because even your dad was made in the image of God.

Honor is important to God. It made the top 10 commandments. Maybe the best thing we can do as a people is turn from our hurt and pain, and trust God that he knows what he is doing when he calls us to honor. Then perhaps the healing can begin.

Send the card. Make the phone call. Forgive.

What does it mean to you to honor?




  1. Thanks Derek. This is just along the lines of what I was thinking about for Father’s Day.

  2. Great post Derek. Makes me desire to be someone worthy of honor even when I am not.

  3. Great insight into thinking beyond personal hurts into how great our Heavenly Father is and how deep His love is for us.

  4. Thanks Tamara. I have been very challenged along my journey to both understand my dad and my God better.

  5. Except for our Father in Heaven, there aren’t any perfect fathers, but there are greater levels of imperfection! And I’ve had times of being bitter about my dad’s failings too. I suppose my kids have had to, or still are working on issues that happened because of my failings.

    Honor is something that comes up in the New Testament in several places. Rom.12:9 says “…Honor one another above yourselves.” I think God wants us to give honor, like we give other things: out of grace for each other and out of generosity toward each other. That means giving more honor than what was earned.I might honor a current or former president, even if I think he’s a shmuck – but he’s still a (present or former) president. I honor my dad because he’s my dad. So, I don’t lie, but I honor everything honorable about him with more honor than he may have earned – or at least I’m trying – not only on Fathers Day, but every day; when he’s around, and when he’s not.

  6. […] What if your Dad is a Jerk? […]

  7. […] What if your Dad is a Jerk? (ctkblog.com) […]

  8. […] What if your Dad is a Jerk? (ctkblog.com) […]

  9. Your blog was so powerful and convicting. Your last paragraph about picturing my dad as a little boy dreaming…allowed me, at least for the moment, to see him tenderly. To honor is a choice and that visual of him made it easier for me to choose to hold in high regard my less than fatherly dad. Thank you.

    • Thanks Susan. Glad it helped, if even only a little bit.

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