Fathers are meant to love, guide, encourage, protect, teach, comfort, and lead us. So what happens when a father doesn’t fulfill his responsibilities? Emptiness happens. Depression happens. Doubt happens. Confusion happens. Children lose their way.
A neglectful father leaves his children to fend for themselves. They may have to fend for food or clothing, or they may have to fend for attention or guidance. Boys with neglectful fathers are known for being angry. They have missed out on having a man teach, lead, and guide them. Girls with neglectful fathers are known to look for love in the wrong places. They missed out on the protection, comfort, and safe haven a father should provide for them. Neglectful fathers are selfish and lazy. They don’t make an effort to ensure that their own flesh and blood will live as healthy, warm, and self-assured human beings. They aren’t there to meet their children’s deepest emotional needs, and they aren’t even aware that their children have needs at all.
Children of neglectful fathers are also often responsible for their younger siblings at home, when they have their own schoolwork to complete, and their own jobs to attend. They often work multiple jobs while going to school, so they can take care of themselves. They are so focused on survival, that they don’t even get a chance to find out who they are, or what they want to gain out of life. Their goal is to be self-sufficient, in order to leave home as soon as possible. It takes a long, long time for these angry, lonely children to heal. Some never do… unless they find Jesus.
A physically and emotionally abusive father cannot protect his children. He can be abusive in a variety of ways, and he can be abusive both directly and indirectly. A father who beats his children into submission by using physical power and fear, is not a good father. A child would be better off without him. A father who hits his wife, and not the children, is still an abusive father, causing his children confusion, anxiety, fear, helplessness, and vulnerabilility. He is teaching them sinful patterns that they will take with them and use on their own children, unless intercepted by The Holy Spirit. A father who turns a blind eye to the fact that his wife abusing one, or several of his children; and does nothing about it, is also abusive. He is an accomplice to his wife’s cruelty for allowing it; for not taking his rightful, godly place as head of the household to make it run as God planned. He has neglected his responsibilities as a father. Physically and emotionally abusive fathers are self-centered, and dangerously angry. They lack self-control and self-esteem. Children who have physically and emotionally abusive fathers are children who run away, quit school, get caught up in addiction, have teen pregnancies, and don’t finish school.
A father who abandons his children leaves them as orphans. He may abandon them by physically walking out of their lives, or he may abandon them emotionally by “checking out.” He may spend all his free time on the golf course, or he may actually spend it at home in front of the TV set; never even getting to know his children at all, even though they live in the same house as he does. The abandoning father is selfish and self-centered. He thinks about, and cares only for himself. The children of an abandoning father grow up and move away, without ever having a relationship with their father. There is no relationship, because one never existed in the first place. Abandoning fathers often find themselves bewildered as to why their children never call or visit, but their children know the truth: their fathers walked away from them a long time ago. Some fathers physically walked away from their children and never looked back. These fathers are complete strangers to their children, and vice versa. But all types of abandoning fathers are still unknown to their children, even if they pop back into their lives “once in a while.” The abandoning father has missed out on the greatest gifts in his life… his children.
Neglectful, abusive, abandoning fathers have often come from neglectful, abusive, abandoning parents themselves. The pattern can repeat for generations without having been broken by the power and authority of Christ. The Silver Lining is that The Holy Spirit is able to grab hold of the heart of a father who is listening for God and searching to make things right and good. When this father pursues Jesus, God begins to put a stop to the toxic patterns. Jesus can break these bad, sinful patterns any time he is invited into a father’s life. Jesus can heal any of our wounds left by an absent, abusing or abandoning father.
When Jesus is invited into our hearts and minds, we are given power and authority over the pain, rejection, and lies which have been taught to us as children. God can heal us from our broken pasts. God helps husbands in Christian families to become good husbands and wonderful fathers for their children, through Jesus Christ. Jesus creates true, long-lasting change within the fathers who belong to him. He offers complete forgiveness, wipes away sin, and helps Christian fathers to become more like him each day.
Jesus also helps us to forgive our earthly fathers who have hurt us; helping us to turn them over to The Holy Spirit. This allows us to walk forward with God with a clean heart, so we can live our lives without pain, focusing on His calling for us, instead. Jesus can even teach orphans how to be good fathers to their children on earth. Jesus also restores broken relationships between children and their fathers who have hurt them. But God must be at the center, because Jesus is the only one who can truly heal our deep wounds. This is because sins are only cleansed by his blood, and forgiveness is only offered through him.
For those with a father unwilling to allow Jesus to restore his heart, God is a Holy Father to us all. God can, and will, fill that void with his infinite love. The Bible tells us that God promises to love, guide, encourage, protect, teach, comfort, and lead us. God is able to redeem our lives from the pit. He helps broken fathers make amends with estranged sons and daughters when all seems lost. God creates a new generation, and He makes all things new. Fathers, let Him lead you; and show you how to be the godly, loving head of household you were called to be. Then your family will be sheltered under His great and mighty wings.
“And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17 New International Version).
Whomever you are, know that God is your Heavenly Father, and that He knows you and loves you; both eternally and unconditionally. Call upon His name, for Jesus is the answer: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Invite Jesus into the center of your family, and experience the presence of the Holy Father of us all!
“And, I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:18).
Invite Jesus into your heart today, and change the generation of your family and its future generations! HOW TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!
DEAR DADDY, PLEASE DANCE WITH ME! (FATHER DAUGHTER DANCE: AN OPEN INVITATION)
6 thoughts on “When You Have an Absent, Abusive, or Abandoning Father… God Cares”
How true. As a father who abused me, I still struggle with seeing my heavenly Father as loving. It’s something I work at daily. Thanks for writing.
Janine, I’m so sorry to hear about your abusive past. It’s true that we are likely to see God the way we see our earthly father… until Jesus begins to heal us. I struggled for years with feeling that God was far away and uninterested in me as a person, because that was my experience with my father. It really does take prayer, and a choice to believe in God’s Word, His promises, and the truth about His great love for us! Don’t give up at renouncing the lies the devil tells us about God. Renounce the negative lies in Jesus’ name. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit, so you will see God as loving, patient, and kind! He never wants to hurt you; He loves you so much! God bless you, Janine; and may He continue to heal your heart, in Jesus’ name! 💙
Thanks for this post Angela, Your post did not just highlights the causes and effect (impact on children ) of abusive and neglectful father, but also proffered biblical steps for restoration and making amendment. God bless
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Thank you, Richard! I try to always look for the silver lining! Yes, God is a good Father, and He wants restoration whenever possible! Thank you for visiting! God bless you and your beautiful writing, in Jesus’ name! 💙
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Excellent post and very timely, since so many people struggle with these issues.
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Thank you so much, Erin! Yes, I would even go as far as to say most people struggle with these issues, because we live in a fallen world. My mission is to show hurting people that with Jesus, we can overcome anything, so we don’t have to be limited by our painful pasts! Thank you for leaving me an encouraging word! God bless you, in Jesus’ name! 💙