THE ‘NETTE EFFECT: Fathers, ‘fess up’ about all your children
FOR ANYONE WITH SECRETS, hearing the sermon on Father’s Day should have made them wince a little or a lot.
Reverend Vincent Wood was calling out fathers, some of them on well-preserved skeletons in their closets. He admonished them to take care of the children outside their marriage as much as they did the ones within.
But he also called on those with children, who no one knows about, to “fess up” about them, and in that bunch he included Christians guilty of such an offence.
I don’t believe that anyone should have to tell a Christian man to acknowledge his children, period. From that sermon I took away two points which should be made clear by the end of the column.
For a sermon chiefly directed at men, Rev. Wood’s most animated reaction came from the women. He cited in 2 Kings, the account of the Shunammite woman, who recognised Elisha as a man of God and made provision for him to lodge at her house on his travels.
A thankful Elisha in response offered to intervene on her behalf with the influential. She declined. On finding out that she had no children and her husband was old, he instead informed her that within due course she would have a son. She told him not to deceive her.
Hmm. A woman says to a man, ‘I don’t want anything and don’t deceive me’. Rejoice, women, the evidence is recorded even before Christ walked this earth.
As it happened, the child grew up and while in the field with his father, cried out for his head. The father’s reaction was to instruct the servant to carry the boy to his mother.
Women, rejoice again. Before Christ came to the earth, men have been saying the equivalent of the Bajan ‘carry he to he mother’ whenever something went wrong or sometimes even before such an event.
Pastor Wood did not believe the father intended to be uncaring in any way. Neither do I. I believe the father knew the mother could handle the situation better.
Still, the pastor put the question to the church as to whether the man, with beads of perspiration dripping from him, should stop what he was doing and take the child himself. Even before the question mark went into place at the end of the sentence, a loud murmur developed, followed by a resounding “yes” from the mostly female congregation. The pastor asked and got his answer.
Long story short, the son died.
The grieving mother, without a word, went in search of Elisha. She accepted no intercessor and answered all the questions from his servant that she was well. When she got to the man of God, she grabbed him by the feet, but because he knew that “her soul is vexed within her”, he did nothing to her.
The relentless mother pointed out that she did not ask the man of God for a son and, more importantly, she had asked him not to deceive her. Faced with this, Elisha followed her back to her home.
Long story short, he healed the child.
It is recorded in the Bible the extent to which a mother would go for her child. It is also recorded in the Bible that women do not like to be deceived. Do that and it is likely they will hunt you down and hold you accountable.