(CONTINUED from the previous post. If you did not read Part One, it would help if you did so before proceeding)
“The suffering or loss of advantages entailed on the unoffending son, is a condition under which he has to carry on the struggle of life and like all other inevitable conditions imposed upon men, it cannot tend to his ultimate disadvantage, if he struggles well and perseveres to the end.” F. C. Cook; Barnes Notes
Father’s (and others of importance) might be bad examples, bad influences, or they might fail to serve in the capacity of proper instruction or training. In addition, we are not to assume that all the struggles one might have, comes from external influence – we are capable of creating / generating our own turmoil, confusion and sin (which we might pass along in the form of influence on others).
Sadly, I find that as a person struggles with unresolved emotional turmoil, character issues and sin, they often become fathers. Even among those who have active hatred for and complain about their fathers, they become fathers who keep the streak alive.
Moral agency is such that twin brothers, exposed to the same fatherly influence, can manifest considerably different responses. They both might be unhealthy but in vastly different, even nearly opposite, ways. Of course, it is also possible for one or both to respond by processing things so as not to be formed into a twisted person. There have been many in the “scientific” community that want to view human beings as vending machines – you put a certain something in and get a predictable something out. This is simply not the case with moral agents. The variables are too great to produce such a behavioral science. That being said, the iniquity of the father, when it directly involves his relationship with the young person he is responsible to train, nearly always produces so sort of unhealthy struggle in said young person.
On the mild side of this issue, let’s imagine a man who, to all outward appearances, is a fine, upstanding, responsible citizen. He has a college education, a nice house with a couple of nice cars in a nice neighborhood, no criminal record, doesn’t smoke or chew or hang with those who do. He has his own business from which he personally brings home triple digits. However, he is so devoted to business, money and success (all acceptable gods in most cultures) that he neglects the development of a proper fatherly relationship with his son. Since God has designed and invested the parent / child relationship with tremendous developmental power, the son has innate desires and drives to receive attention, affirmation and guidance from his father. One day, while looking at his calendar for business purposes, he notices that his son’s sixth birthday is in three weeks. At breakfast, he looks up from the financial reports and says, “Junior, the weekend before your birthday, you and I are going to take a fishing trip.” Imagine what this statement triggers in the mind and emotions of Junior – he is consumed with the upcoming trip, talking about to every available victim.
The weekend finally arrives! Early in the morning, Junior springs out of bed, hurries down the hall to his parent’s bedroom and has he prepares to open the door to go in, out steps his father…in a business suit, carrying his briefcase.
“What are you doing up so early, Junior?”
“You’re not gonna fish in a suit, are ya?”
“Fish? Oh, I forgot. We were going to go fishing. A very important business deal came up, so we’ll have to do it next…no, I have to fly to California next week…we’ll do it soon. Sorry, pal.”
What does this experience communicate to the young mind thirsting and hungering for fatherly relationship and affirmation? Surely it creates a struggle over the issue of his self-worth and value. It says something about the issues of love, faithfulness, trust, authority, etc. Remember; these are formative years that need appropriate guidance on many significant levels (parental treatment of one another, of their children, of neighbors, parental responses to traffic jams and direct instruction and explanation of issues). Where iniquity governs, turmoil brews.
Due to the dynamic of moral agency, as the son struggles with what this incident says about his self-worth, he could develop a wide variety of manifestations to this “bitter root.” He might become self-abusive, expressed through eventual cutting, alcohol or drug abuse, erratic / dangerous behavior (careless, high-speed driving) or suicidal attempts (even when hoping they do not result in death). On the other hand, he might become a driven, over-achiever who can never accomplish enough to eradicate the consuming worm from his soul. Yes, what develops from such seemingly mild violations (or more extreme ones) involves a chosen response on the part of the offended party – they are responsible for what they develop. This does not, however, alleviate the accountability of the offending party.
Imagine that the money-loving father has twin sons. In response to their father, one might decide that money, success and business stole his father and, therefore, he wants nothing to do with money, success or business. He becomes a bum who cannot keep a job and whose family bounces from homelessness to shelter to temporary housing, wearing a hodge-podge of tattered garments, depending on public assistance and welfare. This is one link in the chain of God visiting the iniquity of the previous father as he “visits” the family of the son. His iniquity does not look anything like his father’s iniquity, but it is one perverted manifestation of such.
On the other hand, his twin brother “reasons,” since my father loves money, business and success, and since I desire my father’s love and approval, if I become a rich, successful businessman, I’ll win my father’s love and approval. He manages to become richer and more successful than his father but…guess what?…he never senses the satisfaction and fulfillment he anticipated. People find it confusing when such people, who seemingly have it all, commit suicide.
What do you think happens in the soul of those who are sexually abused by their father?
 Such inner workings are present with young people but are not generally an object of their conscious understanding.
 The father is, whether he likes it or not, the most tangible figure of authority. His behavior and relationship with his son is the training ground on which attitudes about and understanding of authority is developed. This has ramifications for a child’s eventual perspective about God.