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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - Making a Good Connection

Charles Stanley - Making a Good Connection

Charles Stanley - Making a Good Connection
TOPICS: Fathers, Father's Day, Fatherhood, Parenting

What are the most important words you ever heard from your father? Did you ever hear your father say I love you? What was your feeling the first time you ever heard your dad say I love you? How old were you when you heard it? How old was your father when he said it? Or maybe you're one of those persons, and you look back in your life and you realize your father passed away so early in your life that you don't ever remember anything about your father. Or it may be that you had some years on you and your father passed away and you never heard your entire life your father ever say I love you.

How did you feel when you heard that your father had died, and you realized you would never, never hear him say I love you? Do you think that the absence of your father's love has had any effect on your relationships in life, your relationship to your husband, your wife, your children, or your friends? Or do you think somehow that all that you just sorta grew out of that, and so that's not a problem? Well, my friend, you don't grow out of a relationship that's so disconnected and so empty and so fragile and so fragmented as growing up without a father's love.

Now what I want to talk about in this message is simply this, "Making A Good Connection". And I want you to turn if you will in the Old Testament to Second Samuel chapter fourteen. And I want to tell you what's happening before we read this passage. Second Samuel chapter fourteen. David's daughter, Tamar, is seduced by her brother, Amnon. She rejected him and rejected him until finally he raped her. And so, when David heard about it, the only thing the Bible says is that he was angry. That would tell us something of how disconnected he was to his children. Her brother, Absalom said, "Don't say a word". Two years later he kills Amnon and then he flees because of his fear of his father. And this scripture begins in this twenty-eighth verse of this fourteenth chapter with that in mind.

"Now Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem and did not see the king's face, that is King David. Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but he would not come to him. So, he sent again a second time, but he would not come. Therefore, he said to his servants, in order to get his attention. 'See, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there, go and set it on fire'". So, Absalom's servants set the field on fire. "Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom at his house and said to him, 'Why have your servants set my field on fire'? Absalom answered Joab, 'Behold, I sent for you, saying, "Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say: Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to still be there".'"

Now therefore let me see the king's face, and if there is iniquity in me, let him put me to death'. "So, when Joab came to the king and told him, he called for Absalom. Thus he came to the king and prostrated himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom". Now what I want you to see is this. Because Absalom had killed his own brother and he fled, his father would not see him for two years after he brought him back to Jerusalem. There was something in Absalom that so desired to see his father, such a deep yearning desire to see his father he said, Joab, take me to him even if it means that he will kill me on the spot. I want to see him.

If you examine David's life, his whole family was totally disconnected. And so, in the light of that, as a background, I want us to think in terms of this whole issue of making a good connection between the father and his children. It's very evident, not only in life but as those who have studied all kinds of relationships between children, parents, and father, and so forth, and God, very evident that there is a fundamental need in the life of every child which God has placed there for that child to have a strong emotional relationship.

So, when we talk about being connected, we're talking about a strong emotional connection with our fathers. When a child has a strong emotional connection with their father, it is easier for them to trust God, easier for them to believe in God, easier for them to respect God. When a child does not have that relationship, there's a sense of distance. There's a sense of confusion about who God is and what He's like, and it's extremely, it's extremely difficult for a child to genuinely love God when they have no real true strong relationship with their father. Very important that every child have a strong emotional relationship with their father.

Now, it's interesting when you begin to see the results of these things in a person's life, in a child's life, when you look at a father because a child's reaction, a child's reaction to their father is going to reveal their attitude toward God because that's their image of God. So, for example, let me give you some examples. Let's say that here's a father who is moody, that he's unpredictable, that he is not supportive. And so, what is the message to a child? The message to the child is this, "That God, that God is not really in relationship, that he count, can't really count on God to do anything because his image of God is his father and look at his dad".

For example, here's a father who is extremely critical, judgmental, harsh, and often times crude. And so, what does the son or the daughter see about God? In other words, how does this mirror God? Well, God is a hard taskmaster, and He's just waiting for you to do something wrong. And besides that, you'll never be able to please Him. Let's say that here's a father who is very shaming and demanding. Shame on you! Grow up! When are you gonna grow up? I can't believe that you would embarrass your father or your mother like that. And so, what happens? When they're shaming and when there is these demands, the child looks upon God as a kind of God whom you will never be able to please. You'll never know if you've lived up to it or not.

And so, there's this hopeless, helpless feeling in their relationship to God. They will struggle very, very deeply in their Christian life because their image of God is that He is extremely demanding, and that He demands absolute perfection. And besides that, if you make a mistake, God shames you. Bad enough to be shamed by your father but to have God to shame you. Then there's the father, for example who is so passive in the family that times come for decisions and he is just sorta passive and laid back. What does that say to the child? I can't count on God to get in on my affairs in life. I can't really expect God to show any real interest in me because that's the message his father sent.

Then here's the father who's a real macho. I mean he's tough. He doesn't cry about anything. I mean, shape up son. At the age of eight, act like a man. What's this cry-baby business? Just, everybody heard, that's not enough to cry over. And so, what is the message he sends? The message he sends is, "You don't cry". The message is, "You don't feel pain". The message is, "You stuff it". The message is, "You cram it". The message is, "You don't have the right and the privilege". The message is that God is not interested in my pain, God is not interested in my hurts, God isn't interested in my cares. God is this demanding one who is who lacks compassion and who has no simple desires for my childhood and what I'm going through in life. What a terrible picture of God. That my friend, that is exactly the picture many children have of God.

Now, we wonder why children act the way they act. If a child grows up in that kind of a family, if any one of those five examples are true or often times if one's there, sometimes there's more than one, sometimes all of them. What kind of a chance, what kind of an opportunity does a child have to grow up in that kind of family when they can't express their hurts and pains? When they're expected to do more than they know to do. And besides that, they live in fear that they're gonna do something wrong and be scolded by their father. That he's passive, that he's not involved in their life. He doesn't seem to really care about what's going on in their life. What kind of a chance does a kid have?

So, I want to say this to you. Before you and I begin to criticize and pass judgment on children or teenagers for the kind of lifestyle they're living, though it may be absolutely wrong, I'm not defending that. They get off in drugs, they get in alcohol, they dress seductively, they get into sex, they get into all of these things. And we are quick, very quick to judge them and say, "These rebellious teenagers"! Maybe you need to stop and ask yourself the question, "What is the root cause"? Have they been so disconnected from their father? Have they been so, listen, so empty? No relationship, no feeling, nothing that connects them. Are they not acting out what normal, natural child would, would act when the father who is the key figure in that child's life, when he is acting in a way that sends these messages what makes that child feel worthless?

And besides that, when you start talking to that child about God, who's interested in a God who doesn't care, who is not compassionate, who scolds, who shames, who berates, who destroys your sense of self-image and self-worth. Don't give me a god like that. Is there any wonder that we're growing up a whole generation of children who are not interested in church because that represents God's house. Not interested in the Bible because that represents God's book. Not interested in preachers because they talk about God. Not interested in the Christian faith because after all, that is the faith of God. And so, we're quick to criticize. We want to judge them. Am I condoning their sin? No indeed. But we have to stop and ask the question: What's the root cause?

Now, if you'll always ask this. When somebody says something about you that's detrimental or accuses you or gossips about you, you don't retaliate. What you ask is this. What's going on inside of them that would cause a person to act like that? What's going on inside of a person that would cause them to accuse or to gossip about you or hurt you in some way? You see, we have to ask ourselves the question: What's going on in the lives of these children? Well, what I'd like to do is to show you why these things are going on and then what the ultimate consequences are in the life of our children. Now let me say this about moms. This message is not just to fathers because let me just say this. You moms, some of you live in a household where your husband's character fits everything I just said.

And so, your attitude may be, "Well, it's hopeless. It's helpless. I mean, just forget it, just give up". No, you can't give up. You can't afford to give up because what you are before your children, and what you do as a godly mother is, listen, is super, super important. If you have a husband who doesn't even know why he's acting the way he's acting. I'm not being critical of them, I'm gonna show you in a few moments where I'm not being critical. And so, you may want to judge him. You may want to tell your children, "You know what? We've gotta get out of here, and this is terrible". You need to ask yourself the question: What's motivating him? What happened, what happened to this man in his early years that's made him this way? Was he so disconnected with his father that now he is thrusting upon his own children these attitudes and these habits or this behavior that is the result of his disconnection with his father?

He didn't have that kind of a foundation. He didn't have that kind of relationship. So, what is he doing? He's passing on the only thing he knows. That's all he knows. That's what he's been taught. That's his image of God that yes, he brings it into his family, passes it on to his son. That's why it is so very, very important that what we do in the lives of our children. Listen. It isn't only gonna be in their life, it's going to be in in the life of their children, and their children, generation after generation, unless it's stopped. And it can be stopped when God intervenes and begins to reveal to a person what's going on in their life. So, I want to talk about for a few moments a process.

Now I want you to remember this word. If you heard me say this word "process", say amen. Because what we're talking about is something that you don't get over today, tomorrow or going to a counselor and two weeks later you're healed. Wounds that are emotional wounds are deep wounds. Hurtful, painful wounds. But people carry that pain with them for years and years and some all of their life. Some people will live with this pain, and they'll die with it. And some people will live with the frustration, the anxiety and anger down inside that they haven't directed. And so, what happens is they say, "Well, you know, yes, I had a good father. I know he was a good father," because they don't want the guilt of saying, "My father was a tyrant". Often times they do, but sometimes they don't.

So, what does a father do? So, I want to say, I want to make some suggestions about the process of being reconnected with your children, to get connected once again. So, I just want to make a few suggestions here because you'll have to, you'll have to apply these in your life. And I want to say to a lot of young people who are here. I want to urge you, it doesn't make any difference what your dad's done. It doesn't make any difference how he's treated you. I want to say to you as a son or a daughter, "Join in taking initiative in your relationship to your father". He may not know how. He may have been so ill-treated when he was growing up, he doesn't have the slightest notion of what's going on. So, don't just relegate this to fathers, but young people need to understand this. And also help you understand why your father acts the way he does.

So, let's think about this. What's the first step in taking initiative? Express verbally your love to your son or your daughter. Now what do I mean by that? You just tell them, "I just want you to know son, I just love you, old dad loves you". You know, there's a lot of difference and I'm gonna tell you in a moment a good example, lot of difference when a child feels loved. But you've got to start, Dad, by saying, "I love you". Now here's what that's gonna feel like to some. You're gonna say, "Well, now I want to say it". You're gonna make plans to say it. You're gonna prepare to say it. And when people say to me, they have some problem with their child, here's what I tell them to do. Take your son, somebody asked me after first service, he said, "My daughter's going through and so and so and there's this guy and so forth and so on, so what do I do"? I said, "Here's what you do. You take your daughter to lunch. Take her to dinner, and carry on a good loving father conversation, and let her know how much you love her, that you care for her".

Loving is always the right thing. Now, the first time you get the courage to say it you may say, "I just want you to..." And you know what? It may not come out. You know why? Because you have jammed it and stuffed it for so long you don't even know how to say it. I understand that, and God understands that. That's okay. You know what? You'll make it. Your goal is to express love. Your goal's to express love. Now think about this. Think of the power of this. I love you is eight, listen, I love you, only eight letters of the alphabet. Just eight. I L-O-V-E Y-O-U. Eight letters of the alphabet. That's all. How many letters in the alphabet? Twenty-six, right? So only eight letters of the alphabet. When you take those eight letters and you arrange them properly and they say I LOVE YOU, and you put some emotion behind that, do you realize that you could change the whole destiny of your child? I love you.

Let me ask you a question. How many of you do not want to be loved? Right! Everybody wants to be loved. Who needs to be loved? Everybody. And that little child especially. And growing up, whether he or she are three, whether they are three or sixteen or twenty-three or forty-three, fifty-three, sixty-three, seventy, eighty-three, I never met anybody said, "I don't want to be loved". No. You know why? Because God created us to be loved. And then what we have to do, one of the steps we would take is to discover how do you love that child? Now when the Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go". You don't train every single child the same way. Every child doesn't have the same personality. And parents say "You know what? I don't understand this to save me. I have four children, three of 'em are saints, one of 'em's a rebel. I do not understand it".

You know what? Don't waste your time trying to figure out, because it does not mean that you have failed as a parent. Different personalities react different ways. So, what you and I have to ask is, ask yourself the question: How do I express love to my son or my daughter? Now, here's what we do. We think sometime, "Well, now, here's what I know will express love". And what we do is we interpret what's love to us. What may be an expression of love that gets to me may not be an expression of love that gets to my son or daughter. So how do you express love? I want to give you five words. This is not original with me, but it is absolutely true. How do you express love? Words. I love you. Whether it's painful to say it or not, I love you.

That's the first, I love you. Secondly is, gifts. You say, "Well, now what do you mean by gifts"? I mean, well, there's certainly nothing wrong with giving a child something. You express love by giving. Thirdly, is quality time. And these are not necessarily in this order. But quality time. Sometimes all a kid wants is, they just want your undivided attention. Because your undivided attention says, "I am important to my dad". And I can remember my kids would walk in sometime late and I'd be studying or something and, sometime be eleven thirty at night. I don't care what I was doing, I dropped it. I wanted to hear what was on their mind and heart. And I learned the hard way to do it. And that is one day, one of them was talking to me and they said, "Dad, you're not listening, are you"? Said, "No, I'm not, you're absolutely correct". Taught me a lesson.

You think a child doesn't know when we're connecting and we're not connecting? We don't have to say, "I'm not listening". All we have to do is be disinterested, disconnected. But think about this. Words, quality time, giving, serving them. And you know what interests me and blessed me this morning? This great big guy walked up to me after the service, he said, "You know," he said, "I used to be like you're talking about". He said, "Then, I decided I was gonna serve my children". I mean he's a big fellow. He said, "I just thought I was gonna be a servant". And I thought, I was so proud of him I wanted to hug him good. I'm gonna be a servant. Not some macho, big muscular fellow. I want to be a servant.

And then of course, touching. There's something about hugging your son, hugging your daughter in a godly fashion, kissing her on the cheek, says I love you. There's something about touching. We're talking about connecting. You'll have to decide which one of those words fits your children. If you want to start reconnecting, if you want to start building this, building this tremendous bridge between you and your children. And then, there's another thing. That is, you've gotta be transparent. You gotta be willing to say, "You know what? I've really blown it". And I believe one of the best ways to deal with children like this, when you know you have, don't just sit down.

For example, I would never take my child or my son or my daughter into my study and sit them on the other side of the desk and say, "I want to tell you something". That is not the way to connect. You take them to lunch. Everybody's interested in eating and there's fellowship across the table. And I can remember times when I needed to deal with something and, I would take my children, one of them to lunch, here or there and so forth. And you know what? Somehow it always worked. It always opened the door in a non, listen, in a non-aggressive sort of way. And so, there's something about being open and, Dad, if you can't say, "I've been wrong. I neglected you". You may have to say this. "You know what? I just discovered last Sunday what's been going on; I've been disconnected. You know, I never thought about how my father treated me necessarily and how we pass it on to your generation".

Somebody walks the aisle this morning, say, "You know what? I'm doing to my children exactly what my father has done to me. Weeping, I want to change that". You gotta be open and transparent. They've got to see, listen. A child, watch this, a child needs to feel your wound. You may be wounded because of what you've done to them. You know what? A child will relate to your woundedness because you feel what you did to them. That has an awesome effect in helping build that bridge back. And if you come in, "Oh, I know I made some mistakes and I want to ask you to forgive me. And I want you to know I love you and see you, son".

You know what? That's total disconnection. That has nothing to do with emotion whatsoever. There must be emotional connection and that emotional connection's not gonna take place until there's transparency. Now watch this next one because this is the one, I said in the very beginning, I said this is a... what? I said this whole idea's a... what? Process. Next point, be prepared to get rejected. Be prepared to get rejected. Because often times they're gonna say, "Well, I wonder what he wants". What is he up to? Or I've heard this before. Or I don't believe this. I mean you can't change overnight. And so, get prepared to be rejected. Or it may be, they can believe you, but they're so wounded they can't feel it. They'd like to feel your love, but they can't feel it. They feel so wounded they can't feel it. So prepared to be rejected.

Next, naturally you're gonna pray and ask God to help you. God, show me how to relate to my children. Show me how to build this bridge. Show me how to reconnect to my daughter. Show me how to reconnect to my son. And then the last thing I would simply say is this. Watch this. Believe that you're gonna succeed because this is exactly what God has been doing to you and me all of our life. Connecting to us. Working in our lives in such a way to show us how much He loves us. That we're forgiven, that He understands us, that He is not gonna berate us, He's not going to punish us. Discipline, yes, but not punish us. He's not going to explode in anger of us. He's not gonna cast us out. He's not gonna throw us away. He's not gonna absolutely put us on the shelf. He loves us, He understands us, and He's always building that bridge in our behalf.

You know what? You and I can ask God to enable us to reconnect, build a bridge in this wonderful relationship that we can have with our sons and our daughters. God is on your side to help you do it. Well, how does that all begin? It all begins with getting connected to God yourself. By asking the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins. And to tell Him you've blown it. And to realize that you've been so disconnected, the Bible says there's a great gulf that exists between you and God. Listen, listen carefully. God is willing to close the gap and make it possible for the two of you to become one, forgiven of your sins, Christ living inside of you, enabling you, helping you to become the man God wants you to be. It's a choice you make, a decision you make, what we called to be saved, to be forgiven of your sins. And I want to encourage you if you've never done that to simply pray this simple prayer:

Father, I desperately need to be forgiven of my sins. I've messed it up, God. I do believe that Jesus went to the cross and died for my sins. And I'm asking You to forgive me on the basis of His death, that I might become a child of God and become the kind of godly father or godly mother, or godly person that You want me to be.

My friend, He'll answer that prayer every single time. And I want to encourage you this morning if you're here and you've never trusted Jesus as your Savior, then you're totally disconnected from God. That's the first major step in your life. Then you may say, "Well, you know, you sorta described me this morning". Let me just say this. You listening? Say amen. There are no perfect parents and there are no perfect children. Every family has their thing to deal with. And when somebody says they have no problems and no heartaches and no burdens in their family, they just lied. Everybody's got something. And what do we do? We love them through their something. We encourage them through their something. We do not judge them through their thing. We understand what hurt and pain and suffering and wounds are all about and we're there to help them.

Now one other thing. Mom, when you go home, it is absolutely not permissible for you to get on your husband's case and say to him, "Well, you got described this morning". Non-permissible. It is un-Christlike. It is ungodly. But what you oughta do Mom is to go home and thank God that he heard it. And you're gonna pray without saying a word. You're gonna watch God work in his life. And Dad, you may have such wounds you don't want to say anything to anybody. Nobody has a right to demand that you say anything. And I'd say to sons and daughters, "Go home". Don't go home and jump on your parents. And Dad, don't go home too quickly and try to make everything right this fast because your kids are gonna know you haven't had enough time to think about it. This is the kind of message you have to think about. It's a process. But the key is, don't give up Dad, no matter what.
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