Creflo Dollar - Overcoming the Regret of Fatherhood Failures - Part 1
If you have your Bibles this morning, go with me to the book of Exodus, chapter 20 and verse 12. I'm gonna be reading out of the New Living Translation. Exodus chapter 20 and verse 12. I thought about showing a lot of pictures of fathers, perfect fathers. I was gonna put perfect fathers on the screen until I ran into a dilemma, there are none. And so, there's nobody on the screen. And neither did I wanna come in and just preach a symbolic fatherhood message. I really wanted to dig into this, and as I told you this grace-based series has been a series of me reevaluating my thoughts and the things in my life and the shortcomings in my life to be able to teach and to show you that I know where the finish line is. Well, today I wanted to apply the same thing to fatherhood. And every father in here, I want you to listen very carefully. This is your day of deliverance. Every father that's online, I want you to listen. This is your day of deliverance.
Today I call this sermon, "Overcoming the Regret of Fatherhood Failures". And I wanted to start off in Exodus 20 and 12. He says in verse 12: "Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you". So, even under the law, there is associated with honoring your father and mother, long life. So, long life is promised when you honor your father and mother. And so, let's go to Ephesians chapter 6 and 1 and move under the grace of God where you see the apostle Paul repeating this moral law and in verse 1 he says, "Children," we're gonna read 1 through 3. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord". So now, he's not only just talking about, you know, your natural parents, but he's now talking about your spiritual parents as well. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord". He says, "This is right". This is right. "Honour your father and mother". He says it was the first commandment with a promise. "Honour your father and mother," he says, "and I've got a promise attached to this".
And then verse 3 says: "That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth," so here he clarifies it more. He said, "Even though we're not under the law, but we're under grace, it's still good for you to honor your mother and father because there's still the promise that carries over". See, the difference is under the law you had to try to achieve this through rule-keeping, but under the grace of God, the Holy Spirit is the administrator of this law and so the Holy Spirit is gonna be available to help you do this. He's gonna be available to help you to walk in this kind of honor. And he says, "When you walk in the honor, when you honor your parents," he says, "it will be well with you, and you will live long on the earth". Well, I ask, "Well, what if that doesn't happen"? Because we're living in the most dishonorable season that's ever been on the planet. Well, the opposite is true as well. Those blessings, the consequences is not walking in those blessings.
Now, I looked at that and I know you think, right now, maybe we're gonna talk about the kids, but I wanted to do this as a set-up because throughout the Bible, there were parents that were going through stuff. Eli who had these two sons that were committing sexual fornication with the women at the temple and they completely disregarded the rules of the temple, and God came to Eli and he says, "Your whole family will die early". And then David who had Absalom and know, I mean, don't you know that that hurt that Eli's heart, that those his kids. And then David with Absalom, Absalom killed his brother because he raped his sister and, you know, he knew he was a good-looking kid and he had this long hair, but he rose up against his father and dishonored his father and one day riding the horse, all of that hair got caught in the limbs of a tree and he couldn't get down. He couldn't untangle his self and, as he was hanging there, they just came and they threw a spear in him and killed him. 'Course, you know that broke David's heart. And then you have Noah who you're familiar with.
Noah was working in a very hot day that day, and he was drinking wine instead of water and messed up and had a little bit too much wine. And it was hot and he had the wine, so Noah went in his tent, took all his clothes off. Can you imagine, I'm drunk, I'm hot, and Ham came in and saw it and went and exposed his father, but his other two sons came in backwards with a robe. And the Bible says when Noah found out what Ham did, he cursed him. And the curse went from that point all the way throughout the generations of Ham. I'm trying to show you that God takes this thing very seriously but then I wanna deal with what he now warns the parents with. You see the warning of the children, but now what is he saying to the fathers and to the parents?
Well, look at Colossians chapter 3, verse 20 through 21, in the King James first and then in the Amplified. Colossians chapter 3, verse 20 through 21 in the King James and the Amplified, and pray for me that I don't wanna miss out on the revelation God showed me, trying to rush through it so I'm not here today to try to get through the message 'cause there's just a lot of neat things that are gonna happen here today. Verse 20 says: "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto God". So you can see God's attitude about that. But then look at this, he said, "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, least they be discouraged". Look at the same verse of Scripture in the Amplified Bible. He says, "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], least they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and feel frustrated".
So, while there is a warning and information given to children about how to honor their father, there's also specific information given to fathers, wait a minute, don't break their spirit, one translation says. Don't frustrate them, one translation says. And what happens, a lot of us, as fathers, we have done just that at somehow, some time in our life, in raising our kids. Again, out of ignorance, we've done that. But I wanna share some things with you because it's not good for you to open yourself up to the voice of shame and condemnation because now Satan wants to use all of that.
Listen to me carefully, I don't know any father who doesn't feel like they have failed on some or even on numerous occasions. This feeling of failure, if you allow it, this feeling of failure can fall out of control. And it can prevent you from being the leader God wants you to be in the home, if you allow the feelings of failure to dominate you. Feelings of inadequacy will sometimes cause you to engage in something I call self-shame. Feeling like I'm just inadequate to be the father or maybe I should have never did it or I'm just not a good one. Those feelings of inadequacy will move you into self-shame.
Now, listen to me carefully, this is a trick of the devil and he's tricked a lot of fathers. So the feelings of inadequacy, trying to move you to engage in self-shame. And the Bible says: "He that believeth in Jesus shall not be put to shame". And so what happens is, it tries to engage you into self-shame to reinforce your initial failure. So it's all about keep you in that spot of failure. I'm a failure, I'm a failure. Now, while this shaming cycle may appear to help, and some people are thinking, "Well, how can it appear to help"? Well, you feel like, well, you know, somehow you're, like, gonna be better by just falling in this shaming cycle and it appears to help, it's only another manifestation. What the shaming cycle does, it will manifest indirect pride. Follow me carefully. Indirect pride.
How would I describe indirect pride? Well, indirect pride will say something like, "I'm no good, I'm a complete failure". You can say that, and by the way, that's pride. By the way, that's pride. If you walk around and continue to say, "I'm no good as a father. I'm a complete failure," you have become a victim of indirect pride. Rather than, "I'm a redeemed man and I'm a father who has simply made another mistake". So you've got a choice. You can let the shame cycle move you into indirect pride and if that shame moves you into indirect pride, then eventually you're gonna stick with the shame instead of with what God says you are. And this is gonna have to be done by faith. And when I thought about it, I'm like, "Oh, my goodness, that was pride". I thought somehow that was a way to humble myself.
Look at this Scripture with me in 1 Peter chapter 5 and verses 5 through 8. We're gonna look at the voice of shame versus the voice of God. And you've got to ask yourself a question: "Are you spending more time recognizing and submitting to the voice of shame while you're not recognizing and submitting to the voice of God"? Because pride is all about you bowing the knee to your way. Pride is all about you bowing the knee to your way. It is a person who will not submit to what God said about a thing, that's pride. It's the individual who, you know, God says to do this, and you say, "No, I'm gonna do that 'cause I feel this way". And I'm saying, regardless of how you feel, don't allow pride to come in indirectly and stop you from bowing the knee to what God said about you. You simply have to begin to look at all of the failures and mistakes in your life as a father and you've got to see it the way God said. You are a redeemed man, a redeemed father, who has simply made another mistake.
But now look at what he says here in verse 5 and I'll read verse 5 through 8: "Likewise, you younger, submit yourself unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject to one another," and then watch this. He said, "Be clothed with humility". A humble man is a man that'll bow the knee and will submit to what God said about him. And remember, all of this is an attack against your identity. You are the righteousness of God, you have been redeemed, but Satan wants to attack your identity and say, "You cannot be righteous, you cannot be redeemed. Look at what kind of father you are. Look at the failure that you've had in your life as a father". All right, now, if you look at that, then now you're prideful. You're refusing to submit to and refusing to be clothed with humility. The Bible says: "Be clothed with humility". Be a man that will be ready to submit to what God had to say about it, I don't care how hard it is.
Be willing to submit to what God had to say about it. I'll show you in a moment. But here's Paul who absolutely, you know, gave the church trouble, had a lot of people killed in the church, and stood by and watched the stoning of Stephen as he gave his permission to go ahead and kill Stephen. Now, now he gets born again and he sees Jesus on the road to Damascus and he has a memory. All of this stuff didn't go away. He had a memory of everything that he did. And I can't imagine what it was like for him now, to be a born again man and having the memory of everything he did, everybody that got killed, all the families that were separated because of him. And yet, he showed up in 2 Corinthians, I'll show you in a moment, and said, "I have wronged no man, I've defrauded no man, I've corrupted no man". How can you say that? I'll tell you how you can say that, because he says, "I will humble myself and submit to what God said about me and not by the lie and the shame of all the things that really were".
All right, now, watch this. He says, "For God resists the proud". So you need God's help but how can he help somebody who's operating in pride? Think about it. How can God help a man who's operating in pride and won't submit to what God had to say about the thing, and as a result of you not submitting to what God had to say about the thing, you're operating with pride. And God says he resists the proud. You're still going around saying, "I'm a failure, I'm no good". I don't know, somehow you think that you're gonna get somebody's pity or something like that. But God says, "I resist the proud, but I'll give grace to the humble". And God is saying to every man, "If you will accept what God has said about you, and you'll accept his redemption and accept his forgiveness, then grace will be there to repair you and everybody else that was damaged". But he can't do that when you're operating in this indirect pride.
Go to the next verse, verse 6. It says, "Now humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God," why? "So he can exalt you in due time". You're gonna have to come away from the shame, from the condemnation, even the guilt. You're gonna have to come away from the feelings of failure, you're gonna have to come away from naming yourself a failure because of what you did. And accept who God made you and believe that and humble yourself to that. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time". God will exalt you. He'll exalt you out of that place of failure. He'll exalt you out of that place of shame. He will exalt you out of that place of condemnation if you'll concede and commit and bow the knee to what he has to say about you. Next verse, he says, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you". That's awesome, because he says, "If you're gonna humble yourself before me, cast your care upon me".
You know what he's saying? If you don't cast your care upon him, you're in pride. God says, "Cast your care upon me because I care for you". And you say, "No, I'm gonna worry. I'm gonna carry the care," you're in pride. I know it may seem like, you know, like you're an awesome person for carrying the care, but it's like, in the same context when he's talking about humility, he is saying, "Cast your care upon me," that's humility. But there are so many people that says, "No, I'm gonna keep my care, I feel like I need to hurt a little bit more. I feel like I", no, no, no, cast your care upon him because he cares for you, praise God. And that means for every father in here. Every care that you carry, every regret that you have, every sense of shame and failure that you've carried in some cases for years, and I know men who have died with that shame because they could never cast it, and it's hard for men to talk about their failures, especially to their children. And they've died with that because they took pride keeping it, versus casting it. And look what he said in verse 8. This is so awesome. He says, "So be sober". When you're humble, you're sober. When you're in pride, you're a drunk, you're intoxicated. You're intoxicated. You see that?
See, Satan wants to keep every man intoxicated. You're intoxicated when you're in pride. He said, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, is walking about, seeking whom he may devour". And you know who he can devour? A prideful man. He can devour a man who refuses to bow the knee to what God said about him. He can devour a man who walks around for the next ten years of his life and he says, you know, "I'm a failure, I'm no good". A man who's operating in that shame cycle, Satan can show up and devour you. But he says, "If you'll humble yourself under my mighty hands, I'll provide grace, and that grace will set you free from your past". You know, the Lord said to me this past week, he said, "Tell the people, 'Don't let your past rob your future'". He said it like that, I gotta say it too. "Don't let your past rob your future". And I said, "Don't you mean rob me of my future"? He says, "No, rob your future". Because if you remain in your past, your future has been robbed from you. The good things that God has prepared for you has been robbed from you. And I tell you what, God can make you a better father today.
All right, you can't go back and do nothing about what you did in the past. It's gone. It's gone. But if you'll accept who God told you to accept, what he told you to accept about yourself, and if your children will let go of it too because the problem is also with the kids. They hold on to the past, it robs the future of a better father. And then the father holds on to the past and it robs him of his future. And there is no future for the relationship because the past, like a robber, stole the future, glory be to God, are you listening to me?
Look at this in 2 Corinthians 7, verse 2 and 3. And the question is are you more committed to the voice of shame versus the voice of God? I'm more committed to the voice of God, not the voice of shame. I've danced that dance long enough, over. I'm not committed to the voice of shame. I'm committed to the voice of God. I got to. I got to. I would love to go back and redo everything that I did wrong, but I can't. That's impossible. You've got to go forward. Even when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and he took on all of the sins of the world and began to sweat blood, he did not allow that heaviness and that burden to keep him in that place.
The Bible says: "He moved forward just a little bit". Every man in here, you've got to move forward just a little bit. You've got to go. You've got to go forward. Enough's enough. Enough's enough. You've whined and you've hidden, you know, I know men who, you know the pain of dying with regret? God don't want you to die with regret. The pain of dying with regret, wishing you had a chance to do this, wishing you had a chance to do that. That's not the will of God for your life. Today has got to be the day where you let it go. You've got to let it go and you're gonna have to trust God and just be there and be there, the better man, than you were that other time.
Every time the devil shows up and says you're a failure, you say, "No, I'm not. I'm redeemed of the Lord, hallelujah". You're a failure. "No, I'm not. I'm the righteousness of God". You're a failure. "Oh, you trying to take me back to my past, but I have left that place, I don't live there no more. Everybody got a past but you don't have to live there no more. I don't live there no more and I'm not gonna let you cause me to move back in my shack when God has delivered me into a mansion". 2 Corinthians chapter 7 and 2 says, and Paul is talking here, and at first I thought Paul was lying because I'd read about all the stuff that Paul did. Paul said, "Receive us; we have wronged no man". Stop. Paul, what you talking about? I just read right over here, right over here, like, right next door to the left, how you was wronging people, he said, "I've wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man".
How in the world can you say that? When you submit yourself and humble yourself to what God said about you, that's what you say, because the devil wants you to open your mouth up and rehearse: "I'm a failure, I'm no good. Well, baby, you know, I love you, baby, but I'm just ain't no good. I just guess you just, you know, you just got a bad daddy. And"... No, no, no, no, no, no, no. "I've wronged no man, I've corrupted no man, I've defrauded no man". Verse 3: "I speak not this to condemn you". Paul was, like, saying, "I'm not saying this to make those of you who are still in the shame cycle feel bad". He says, "I'm saying this because I wanna humble myself before God". Praise the Lord. I said, "Praise the Lord".