Like it or not, fathers have lots of power in a person’s life. A father is supposed to reveal the character and nature of God to his children (mothers are too). As a father lives as a reflection of God’s character, he speaks the truth about who God is to his children. When he departs from God’s character, he tells lies about God. And this curses his children.
I’ve known people, and you probably do too, that are driven by a need for their father’s approval. They never seemed to get it as a child, and now they are consumed with earning it. So, they pursue success hoping that will gain dad’s attention, and finally make him proud.
Others are just the opposite. They are driven to surpass their fathers because they are driven by bitterness. One such person is NL homerun leader and MVP candidate Prince Fielder. He is the son of Detroit Tigers slugger Cecil Fielder. Like most fathers, Cecil wants to think he had something with his son’s success (and he did have something to do with it). But seems to exaggerate that contribution, which endlessly annoys Prince.
Prince is now the youngest player in Major League history to hit 50 homeruns. Younger than all-time greats and Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Jimmie “the Beast” Foxx, Ralph Kiner, Mickey Mantle and the Babe. What does he want to do? Hit 52. Why?
Asked about the possibility of winning an MVP award, he said this: “It would be a cool award to get but that’s not something I think about,” he said, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “besides the fact my dad never did it. If I do get it, that shuts him up again.”
Sadly he doesn’t really see how much this animosity toward his father controls him. It is the last thing he’d want. But it drives him. Bitterness is a powerful motivator, until it finally destroys you. The fact that he wouldn’t want to celebrate either accomplishment with his father shows it is destroying him. Apart from forgiveness (being forgiven and then forgiving others- only the gospel can break the cycle) it will succeed. He may win the battle at the plate, but he’s losing the battle in his heart. And his earthly father refuses to come to his rescue.
15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12 (NIV)