Deprivation can be an awful thing. There are many serious poverties in the world today. But there is one poverty that is perhaps too easily overlooked and yet has some of the most far-reaching effects upon destiny that one can imagine. This is the poverty that comes from the lack of blessing, and specifically the lack of a father's blessing.
Scripture shows us this from the very beginning of creation. There is a fundamental principle which hasn't changed, a principle that is even more necessary in a fallen world: The principle: If something is to flourish, the good must be correctly recognized and properly blessed. Pure and simple! God’s joyful affirmation of the work of His own hands ignites creation’s growth and development and multiplies it's fruitfulness. Our Heavenly Father blesses our world from its inception.
The fruit of every womb too awaits blessing, a blessing that God has willed should come in a special way from fathers. Without this blessing, even mothers can find it harder to receive their children as gifts from God. Without the blessing of fathers, millions of children never see the light of day, or, if they do, they grow up with a gnawing hunger for acceptance, for an affirmation of their very existence.
In short, without the blessing of fathers, wherein the goodness of each child is personally acknowledged and celebrated, we end up with a society of orphans. And orphans become slaves because they have no one to protect them from the exploitation of the world at large, no one to help them navigate the world's dangers, no one to protect their dignity and keep them safe in truth and right order, no one to form them in authentic work and a vision of the eternal.
Consider the consequences:
"85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes. The absence of a biological father increases by 900 percent a daughter’s vulnerability to rape and sexual abuse, and for boys has been linked to sexual maladjustment and greater aggressiveness or exaggerated masculine behavior.
"63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes. 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. And 70% of youths in State institutions come from homes without fathers."*
Fathers, along with mothers, have the special task of blessing and preparing their children in order that they bring forth gifts essential for our age. The world is in desperate need of these gifts. But instead of an abundance of meaningful talent, we see among many children and young people, a massive psychological and emotional failure to thrive and an overwhelming neediness which is actually the fruit of parental selfishness and the modern love of criticism, negativity, and tragically at times, outright rejection. These are all forms of non-blessing.
Today, there are mountains of books written on discipline and parenting. None of these are nearly as important as understanding the power of blessing, presence and involvement in the life of a child. It is a fundamental lesson of Genesis, where God, does not create without blessing, and where things do not increase and become fruitful without blessing.
Why does Jesus tell us to bless even our persecutors? Because blessing has the power to overcome all that disfigures the image and likeness of God. Blessing has the power to integrate. Blessing has a power that moves something to its fruition in God. It has the power to multiply goodness. It has the power to make holy, to sanctify. Blessing is life-giving. It illuminates the core goodness of all God has created.
On the other hand, the fruit of non-blessing causes people to labor under unnecessary weights and burdens that can drag them to despair and eventual destruction. This is not just a psychological principle: It's a deep spiritual one!
Imagine a marriage where husband and wife pray blessings over each other as they begin and end each day. Imagine a family where parents regularly bless their children and where siblings do the same. Would there be nearly as much divorce, division, self-centered squabbling? Imagine the protection from evil that would come over such a family if they called down God's blessing upon all their doings!
Would there be millions upon millions of our brothers and sisters lost to abortion if the blessing of their fathers were upon them? Would there be close to 25 million children in this country alone who do not live with their biological fathers if they were received as a blessing and further blessed in thanksgiving? While it is true there are women who disregard the rights of fathers when it comes to abortion, causing terrible anguish for them, are there not even more "fathers" who can't be inconvenienced and insist on having "things taken care of?"
If people want healing in their families, and by extension, in society, they must learn what real blessing is and start blessing. Cursing and blaspheming, berating and negative nit-picking, so prevalent today as to often go unnoticed, will bring a house, a family, to ruin in no time. Blessing will stabilize and set the foundations for restoration. Blessing will strengthen and multiply the goodness already present.
There is no greater need today than that the hearts of fathers be turned to their children. A child may occasionally abuse his parents’ blessing as the prodigal son did; yet it was that father’s very blessing which drew him back home and restored him.
Both men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers are called to bless. Real mothers and fathers bless and prepare their children and then give them as gifts to the world, just as God bestowed His own Beloved Son. There is hope. Malachi prophesied almost 25 centuries ago (3: 23-24):
"Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet,
Before the day of the Lord comes,
The great and terrible day,
To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the land with doom."
Scripture provides the warning, but also the remedy once we have lost the gift. "...A father's blessing strengthens the houses of the children..." (Sirach 3:9), and "creation looks forward to the revelation of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19). All society awaits the peace and order and benefit that will come when fathers truly learn the transforming power of God's love which is theirs to communicate to their children.