“We repair what your husband fixed,” reads the sign at the auto repair shop. While mildly amusing, it is part of an ongoing narrative you see everywhere: incompetent husbands and fathers, blindly bumbling their way through life. Men are portrayed as barely being able to handle simple tasks, always in need of rescue, or as neanderthal-like cavemen with obnoxious behavior and outdated ways of thinking. You don’t have to look hard to find this narrative in commercials, on TV shows, or in movies. But wherever you find it, we’re always the punchline of the joke.
Everywhere you look, we are being told that we’re not fit enough to be husbands, that we’re not good enough to be fathers. Is it any wonder that the rise of broken homes has paralleled the increase of men being told that they’re not fit to handle the responsibilities of being men? Is it any wonder that many men have “checked out” from something that they’re constantly told that they’re not fit to be?
It’s easy to accept the stereotype portrayed by modern media as truth, especially if we compare ourselves as fathers to the perfect father, God our Father. We will never be as righteous. We will never be as full of grace. We will never be as merciful, as wise, as knowledgeable, or as patient. Even as sons, we cannot compare to the perfect son, Jesus Christ. If we take an honest look at ourselves, what do we see? We see sin. We see impatience. We see anger, frustration, and envy. Most of all, we see failure. When we are introspective and evaluating ourselves, it is easy to see ourselves as imperfect. It is easy to focus on times when we do not measure up to being the perfect son, or the perfect father.
It is, after all, our calling to try and be perfect. Man was created in God’s image. As men, we are wired by our Creator to go and do, go and take charge and lead, go and succeed. We are also driven to continually improve ourselves, to conquer new challenges, to find new mountains to climb and uncharted territory to explore. It’s what we do as men. But it is Satan whispering to us when we concentrate on our failures. It is Satan we are listening to when we start to believe the modern stereotype about ourselves. It’s easy to lose faith in yourself. It’s easy to identify with an ad, or a TV show, or a movie and give up just a little bit. A little bit today, a little bit tomorrow, and before you know it you’ve become the stereotype without even realizing it.
It is when you focus on your failures, when you listen to Satan who tells you to question yourself, that you lose faith in yourself. You lose faith in your skills. You lose faith in your talents. And actually, you lose faith in God, because God gave you your skills and talents. He also knew your limitations before He formed you in your mother’s womb. God knew your failures before you took your first breath. God created you to be who you are, and He has faith in you because He created you. You, with all your faults and failures, are exactly the way God wanted you to be: perfectly imperfect.
When you are born, God has faith that you will be a good son. He has faith that you will honor your parents, and that you will listen to the lessons they have to teach. God has faith that despite your faults you will grow into a man that will make your parents proud.
When you get married, God has faith that you will be a good husband. He entrusts your wife to your guidance and care because He believes in you. God gives you the responsibility of leading your family because He has faith that despite your shortcomings, you can do it.
When you have children, God has faith that you will be a good father. He believes in your abilities to be a good shepherd. He believes in your abilities to handle the challenges of being a parent because He created you for the task.
Believing in God means believing in His goodness, His grace, His mercy, and His righteousness. It means having faith in Him. But we must never forget that God has faith in us. For He is our Creator, so we must ignore the modern stereotypes and have faith in our Father’s faith in us — to be good men.