How to Devastate Your Family
About the Guest
No one intentionally sets out to destroy their family. But neglect and carelessness can devastate sons and daughters. Steve Farrar tells dads how to have a positive impact on their families by keeping their commitments and walking in integrity before the ones they love.
Steve FarrarSteve Farrar is the founder and chairman of Men's Leadership Ministries. A graduate of California State University, Fullerton, with a Master's degree from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, he also has an earned a doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve authored the best-selling book, Point Man: How a Man Can Lead His Family and has since written fifteen other books. He is a frequent speaker at conferences, for Promise Keepers and at many other events nationwide. Steve and his wife,...more
No one intentionally sets out to destroy their family. But neglect and carelessness can devastate sons and daughters.
How to Devastate Your Family
Bob: The choices you are making today as a husband and as a father affect more than just your family. Here’s Steve Farrar.
Steve: Just as a father can have an impact, a positive impact, for a hundred years on his children and grandchildren by following Christ today, we can have, also, devastating impacts by making foolish decisions.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, July 27th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. There is reason to think twice and even pray twice about the decisions you make, as a dad, today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. We’ve been talking this week about—actually, I thought, when we started, that we were going to be talking about how you can be a TV anchor man. You know, anchor man? That’s not really the theme of this book; is it?
Dennis: It’s not relay men—
Bob: That’s right.
Dennis: —running the anchor leg of a relay race—although, that would fit for the theme we are talking about here. We are talking about a book that is challenging men to be the anchors; that is, the anchor to the bottom of the ocean in the middle of the storm of life—
Bob: —to keep the family from drifting and crashing against the shoreline.
Dennis: I tell you there is a lot of current today, tugging against families. We are here, every day, on FamilyLife Today, trying to help our listeners live the Christian life—hammer out biblical values in their marriages and families.
We’ve got a great resource here on the broadcast today, Steve Farrar. Steve, welcome back to FamilyLife Today.
Steve: Thanks, Dennis, Bob. Good to be with you.
Dennis: Steve is married to Mary, lives near Denton, Texas, up in North Texas—undoubtedly, is a Cowboy fan—has two sons—
Steve: Actually, a 49er fan. [Laughter] You know, Dennis, I’m from California.
Bob: Let’s not start this rivalry on the air.
Steve: Let’s not.
Dennis: Oh, my goodness!
Steve: But I do some studies with the Cowboys; so, I’ve got to keep that under wraps.
Dennis: Well, it’s out now.
Steve: It is; isn’t it?
Dennis: It’s out now. Some of the Cowboys listen to our broadcast, I’ll bet you. You may be out in your Bible study here.
Steve: My ministry may be over there.
Dennis: Well, you have authored a book called Anchor Man, which is subtitled How a Father Can Anchor His Family in Christ for the Next 100 Years. You say it takes more than sperm for a man to be a father.
Steve: I said that?
Dennis: Yes, you did. That’s the title of Chapter Two, Steve.
Steve: It’s amazing my wife would let me do that.
Dennis: You’ve always been kind of gutsy, but you’re right! You are talking about how a father is more than a label; isn’t it?
Steve: Yes, it really is. You know, with the technology we have today, that’s all some guys contribute to the fathering-process, unfortunately; but it’s much more than that. There’s the involvement, and we’ve been talking the last couple days about coaching and how dads disciple their kids by coaching them and giving all these tips; but just as a father can have an impact, a positive impact, for a hundred years on his children and grandchildren by following Christ today, we can have, also, devastating impacts by making foolish decisions.
Dennis: This chapter is really, at the core, about commitment.
Dennis: If a man doesn’t fulfill that commitment at home with his wife and with his family, the results of that, as you’ve just said, can impact, not just one generation, but up to four generations. In your book, you share a letter from a very articulate 16-year-old young lady that was written to her father. I want you to set up the letter, if you would, for our listeners—giving them a little background here about why she wrote that letter.
Steve: This letter is written from a 16-year-old daughter to a dad. She’s trying to reason with him because he has gotten involved with another woman—believes he’s in love with her, wants to divorce his wife, leave his kids, get a new life, and get a new start. She is grieving. She’s doing all that she can do to get into the heart of her dad and to convince him of the damage that he’s doing. It’s one of the most gripping things I’ve ever come across in my life.
Dennis: You say, here, in your book that this father went to church, was a solid citizen, been married for 19 years. He wasn’t a bum, wasn’t a decadent street person.
Bob: Here’s the thing—we know guys like this.
Bob: We live—they’re in our churches. They’re in our neighborhoods; and I’ve got to tell you, gentleman, these guys make me angry.
Bob: I get so angry when I hear of the latest dad who’s defaulting on his vows, who’s bailing out, and who’s leaving his family, left trying to pull their life together.
Steve: Let me say this—the guy that’s listening to this right now. Let me just talk straight. If you’re horsing around, if there’s some gal, if there’s something that’s happening in your life that nobody knows about—it hasn’t gotten sexual yet; but it’s emotional, and you’re fooling around—I want you to hear this letter because the thing I would say to you is that God is trying to speak to you. He’s trying to get your attention because He doesn’t want you to do to your life and to your family what this guy has done to his family.
Dennis: This letter is pretty lengthy. Bob, as you read it, I’m going to ask Steve to make some comments along the way because there are several points in here where—well, you’re just feeling so many things. I know we’re going to want to comment as you read this letter.
Bob: Let me read it. She begins by writing, “Daddy, I know that you were a really good football player. I can just picture the fans cheering for you. I would’ve been cheering, too, if I were there; but what our family is going through now is kind of like a ball game. This is the most important game. It’s the championship game, and everything rests on its outcome.
“You’re the Captain of our team, and Tommy”—and that’s her 14-year-old brother—“Tommy is on the team. I’m cheering for you on the sidelines, and Mom and Ashley are the other cheerleaders. We’re cheering for you, believing, and trusting that you’ll do your best to not let us down. You’ve already done so much for us.”
Dennis: Well, it’s interesting as you read that, Bob, you can picture, in this young lady’s heart—she’s got a special spot for this team that’s been formed around her father. She’s recognizing it and its importance in her life, her brother’s life, her mother’s life. This is a treasure. This is the ultimate trophy we are talking about here.
Bob: She goes on to write, “We have such a great team. We have tons of fans that love our team. They respect us and look up to us. They’re always there for us, cheering us on. Daddy, then, something terrible happens in this game.”
Steve: Bob, let me stop you right there. When she said, “We have such a great team. We have tons of fans that love our team. They respect us and look up to us”—here’s a little, 16-year-old gal; and she knows—what she’s saying is, “Dad, our family has had a positive impact on other kids, on other families, up until now; but we are in deep danger of losing that, Dad. We’re in deep danger—all you’ve worked to do—you’re in danger of losing.”
Bob: She goes on to write, “Daddy, then, something terrible happens in the game. When the play is run, there’s a terrible collision of both teams on the sideline. We all got knocked down. It surprised us so badly. Many people were hurt. The players were slow getting up. The crowd was yelling. All of the cheerleaders were still down. Ashley, my sister, has a broken leg. She’s just lying there, still in shock. She didn’t understand how this could happen to her wonderful team.
“We’ve just been playing such a wonderful game. I was hit in the stomach. I can’t catch my breath to call for help. I want to so badly, though—not being able to catch my breath makes my heart hurt. Pain is piercing all over my body. Mom is hurt really bad. She was crushed by one of the players. Several ribs were broken. One of them punctured her lungs and almost pierced her heart. I can barely tell if she’s alive. She’s taken the worst hit of us all.”
Dennis: It’s interesting to listen to the words of this teenager express the anguish of the soul around the watching of the break-up of her home, of her family. Although she is not an adult and doesn’t have the ability to articulate adult emotions, she’s expressing here, as best she can, what’s taking place in her little heart and what’s taking place in her mom and in her sister. You know what? It’s not pretty.
I mean, we’re all just kind of sitting here in the studio. We’re grimacing as we listen to this letter being read. If we could look at what’s happening through the eyes of the father, he would be writing a letter about freedom, and pleasure, and happiness; but you know what? What’s left on the sidelines is what she’s describing. It’s anguish, it is grief, it’s hurt, and it’s anger.
Steve: He’s doing his own thing. “He’s finding himself,” —that’s what our culture would say.
Bob: Well, listen to what she writes about him. She says, “When the teams went back into the huddle, something very strange happened to you, Dad. It seems like you’ve hit your head really badly. I think you have a concussion. You’re confused. You can’t see very well. You’re walking around dazed. We’re all watching you walk back to the huddle; but Daddy, you’re going to the wrong huddle. You’re walking to the wrong team!
“Tommy’s yelling for you. He says, ‘Daddy, here we are, over here!’ All your fans are screaming at you. They are saying, ‘Erik, come back to your team! You have to come back, or we’ll lose the game.’ Ashley cries, ‘Daddy, can’t you hear us?’ We need you on our team so badly. You must not hear us because you went to the other team. You start to do better for awhile. Our team doesn’t know what to do without you. Tommy’s trying so hard, but he still needs you to coach him on the plays.
“Someone from our team says, ‘Where’s your dad? Doesn’t he know he’s on the wrong team?’ We don’t know what to do without him. I’m looking for help everywhere. I can’t help Mom or Ashley on my own because I’m hurt so badly myself. I see an ambulance, but I don’t know who has the keys. We’re still on the field. We’re cold and lonely. Momma’s hurt so bad. Why doesn’t help come?
“Daddy, we need help for you because we’re confused; and you’ve gone to the wrong team. We need help for Tommy, who is lost without you there—to know what calls he should make. We need help for Ashley, who can’t understand what happened to her wonderful team. We need help for me. I’m so sad. I don’t have a reason to cheer, without you.
“We need help for Mom who may die because all she has ever worked for in her life is this team. She has put everything into it; and now, all of a sudden, she’s robbed of it. She has no reason to go on living. That’s why I pray for help. Where could the help be?
“Daddy, you’re the only one who can help. You have the keys to the ambulance. You’re the only one who can pick us up off the field and nurse us back to health. Can’t you realize that? We need you.
“I know you’re hurt, Daddy. We want to help you because we love you so much. We want you back on our team. Please, Daddy, I’m begging you. We can all help each other. That’s what a family is for.
“It’s halftime. You have to make your decision soon. You have to know that you can’t play for both teams. It won’t work. Which team are you going to be the Captain of—the team you created that loves you more than anything or the team that confused you and made you think you were on the right team?
“I wish I could do something to help you make the right decision. I would even die to save my daddy. I’m praying for you because I love you. Please, do what it takes to come home and stay with us. Your daughter, Me.”
Steve: Dennis, as I was listening to this, the thing that was in my mind is someone’s heart has just been touched—someone the enemy is trying to con. There’s a guy—there’s, perhaps, a woman—that’s on the verge of going into an affair, that’s on the verge of making a huge mistake. Yet, it’s on this day that the Holy Spirit has chosen that this be aired and that this letter be read. My friend, He is trying to get through to you. He is trying to get your attention to save your life and to save the life of your family so that this doesn’t happen to you.
Dennis: The Apostle James said, “To him, who knows what to do and does not do it, to him, it is sin.” I’ve read a lot a letters. I don’t think I’ve ever read a letter that articulated how a child feels in the middle of a family break-up like this one.
If you’re that man right now, or that woman, that Steve was speaking to, just a few moments ago—before you run on to your appointment, to work, to that next duty that you have at home—the best thing you could do is to pull off the side of the road and to repent—flat out turn from sin, change your attitude toward that circumstance, that person, that choice you’re about to make—turn to Jesus Christ and say to Him, “Forgive me. I repent. I turn from that.”
The next thing you need to do is you need to get a cell phone. You need to get a regular phone and whoever that other person is—if they are aware of this relationship and they are a party to it, you need to call them and say to them, “This is over. It’s done, and”—
Steve: —“and I won’t meet with you to discuss it. It’s over now; period.”
Dennis: Then, find a pastor.
Steve: There you go.
Dennis: Go to church, or someone you are accountable to—a godly Christian. Confess it to them and talk about your game plan of how you’re going to go about telling your spouse. I wouldn’t suggest just rolling into home at the end of the day and dropping a bombshell on your spouse, without having clearly talked about it and discussed it with a wise, godly counselor, who could be there to help you put the pieces back together, as they must be put back together after you burn the bridge to this other person.
Steve: The thing that strikes me about this letter is that this 16-year-old daughter is basically saying to her dad—she’s saying, “Dad, you’re killing us. You’re killing us. You’re, literally, ending life as we know it.”
Bob: Yes, this is where a dad is making the hundred-year choice,—
Bob: —Steve. He’s deciding whether he’s going to mark his family for Christ for the next 100 years, by repenting and by turning back to Christ himself and leading his family in that direction, or whether he is going to follow sin and mark his family in that direction. You’ve seen—close to home, you’ve seen dads who have made the wrong decision. You’ve seen it long enough that you’ve seen the impact on the children; right?
Steve: I think of a little girl that was friends with my daughter—and I—several years ago, her dad, who by the way was a pastor, got involved with some gal in the church, leaves his wife, leaves the four kids. I watched this little girl. She couldn’t articulate it as this other girl has articulated it, but I watched her life. I watched her go through that phase where she would only dress in black. I watched her where she would only wear black nail polish and black lipstick.
That little girl, now, is in an Ivy League school. She’s very brilliant. She’s very smart. Why is she in that school? Academics has become her life. Career has been in her life because, as she told my daughter, “I will never be in a position again where I am dependent on a man, ever!”—because the most important guy in her life let her down.
Again, to the guy that’s driving down the road, and listening to this, and playing with sin, and pondering this—Dennis alluded to this earlier—the enemy is a liar.
Whatever you think you’re going to get out of this, whatever benefit you think, whatever positives you think will accrue into your life, I want to tell you something. The best the enemy can offer you is dog food. The best he can offer you is Alpo®; and he’s telling you, “It is prime rib.” I’m telling you, it’s Purina® Dog Chow. You’re going to vomit it up, and you’re going to live to regret it.
The Holy Spirit, Dennis, Bob—I’m telling you, I can sense it in this room—the Holy Spirit is trying to get through to somebody here through this broadcast today. My friend, this is no time to play games.
[Muted Music: Generations]
I can taste the fruit of Eve.
I'm aware of sickness death and disease.
The results of her choices were vast.
Eve was the first but she wasn't the last.
If I were honest with myself,
Had I been standing at that tree,
My mouth and my hands would be covered with fruit.
Things I shouldn't know and things I shouldn't see.
Dennis: It isn’t, and you need to make the right choice.
Steve: Right now.
Dennis: Right now. Don’t wait until tonight because you’ll chicken out. I’ve watched guys do this, and they’re playing Tiddlywinks with the enemy of your soul.
Steve: That’s right.
Dennis: There is a lot at stake in your choice.
Dennis: Generations to come are going to know the reality of your choice for good or the reality of your choice for evil.
[Full-Volume Music: Generations]
Remind me of this with every decision.
Generations will reap what I sow.
I can pass on a curse or a blessing to
Those I will never know—oh, I may never know.
Bob: That is Sara Groves, reminding us of the importance of what we’ve been talking about all this week, being anchored in Christ and anchoring our family in Christ, as dads, and passing on a blessing.
I think of what we heard Al Mohler say in The Art of Marriage® video series, when he said, “We are ancestors to generations we will never meet.” They’ll look back and refer to us as their ancestors. The question is, “What will they know about us?” What will we be to them? You start thinking long-term like that—you start thinking generationally—and it makes a huge difference. That’s one of the reasons I appreciate, not only the conversation we’ve had this week, but Steve Farrar’s book, Anchor Man, which we have in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.
Go online at FamilyLifeToday.com to find out how you can get a copy of the book. Again, that title is Anchor Man. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com to order; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”.
And don’t forget—a week from tomorrow, we’ll be hosting the Stepping Up™ National Men’s Simulcast, where James MacDonald, Crawford Loritts, Robert Lewis, and Dennis Rainey are going to be challenging all of us, as men, to step up and be the men that God is calling us to be. If you’d like to find out where a church in your area is hosting this event, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information. Again, go online at FamilyLifeToday.com.
We need to say a word of thanks to many of our listeners, who by helping to support this radio program, are helping to support all that we are trying to do, here at FamilyLife, to challenge men to step up and to embrace our assignments as husbands and as dads. When you support FamilyLife Today and help defray the costs for this daily radio program—the production and syndication of what we do here—you’re helping with all that we do here at FamilyLife Today. We appreciate you so much.
In fact, this month, we’d like to send you a thank-you gift if you can help with a donation to support FamilyLife Today. We’ll send you a CD of a message from Dennis on men stepping up to be godly men and a message from Dennis’s wife Barbara Rainey on how a wife can help her husband step up and be God’s man.
Ask for those CD’s when you make a donation by calling 1-800-FL-TODAY; or simply go online at FamilyLifeToday.com, click the button that says, “I CARE”, and fill out the online donation form. We’ll automatically send you the CD’s from Dennis and Barbara. They come with our gratitude for your support of this ministry. We appreciate so much your partnership with us.
Dennis: Well, it’s been a challenging time, here today, talking about the need for men to make a commitment. Steve Farrar, I want to thank you for being on the broadcast. You’ve made a great impact on men this week.
Steve: Well, thanks, Dennis. Thanks for having me.
Dennis: Today, we’ve talked about the need for men to fulfill their commitment—a commitment for good or a commitment to choose evil. Sin will destroy your life, your soul, your legacy. If you’re going to be an anchor man, you’ve got to be an anchor for what is good.
I’ve got to believe right now, Steve, there are men who need you to pray for them because they have already decided. They’ve pulled over to the side of the road. They may be weeping about what they’ve already chosen, but they need your prayer today to choose good instead of evil.
Steve: Father, we pray for all of us, that You might give us eyes to see what we normally wouldn’t see. Give us the wisdom to see that what it looks like from afar is not that at all, when we get up close. The problem with leaving a relationship, thinking it will make us happy, is that we have to take our self into that new relationship. Our biggest problem is not our spouse. Our biggest problem is not somebody else. Our biggest problem is us.
I pray for every guy. I pray for every woman. I pray for the guy that, right now, is overwhelmed by a sense of conviction that comes from Your Holy Spirit. Give him the courage to stop right now. Give him the courage to look down the road six months, a year, ten years, a hundred years, and see what the consequences of this act will bring into his life and the life of his family.
I pray that You will save him. I pray that You won’t let him get distracted. I pray that You will help him to make the right choice—and years down the line, and for all of eternity, he will be forever thankful to You for intervening in his life. Do the work, Lord Jesus, right now, that none of us can do. Do the work that only You can do and save his family from destruction. We ask in Your name. Amen.
Bob: FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
© Song: Generations
Artist: Sara Groves
Album: Conversations, (p) 2000 Sponge Records
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