In his book, “Impossible People”, Os Guinness refers to Peter Damian as the impossible man. The eleventh century Benedictine reformer relentlessly spoke out against the most prominent evils – “In particular, he attacked the widespread practice of simony, the selling of church positions for money, and the equally widespread acceptance of homosexuality, pedophilia and pederasty, especially among the clergy.” Churches and the leaders had little regard for truth or for the integrity and purity of the Christian faith but did not appreciate Damian calling them out.
That was a thousand years ago! Today, there continues to be a breakdown across the Church with regard to Truth and the integrity and purity of the Christian faith. Where are the Peter Damians of today, men that are grounded in the word of God and disciplined to live their faith? This is a charge for dads to be modern-day Peter Damians, to be impossible people and step forward.
So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves He said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for Your house will consume me.” – John 2:15-17. Is there such a thing as righteous anger? Maybe, if you are grounded in truth and living in the integrity and purity of the Christian faith. Jesus was Truth, the Word become flesh and He lived a sinless life. His “zeal” for His Father’s house was indeed righteous. The question for dads today becomes one of willingness to step forward in Christ-likeness. The expectation Christ has of Christian men today is to be grounded in the Word of God, accept of forgiveness of sins, repent and walk closer to Him each day. Passivity, the default position is to be grounded in the world, accept the sinful nature as permanent and go with the flow of culture. Passivity was not in Jesus’ make-up. It was in Peter’s as he denied Christ three times. Passivity was in the make-up of all the twelve and Paul because they were men. But as they read scripture and prayed, embraced the power of the resurrected Christ and experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they rejected the passive nature and the zeal for the early Church resulted.
Dads are disciples of Christ and there is no room for passivity. Reflect the zeal of Christ – answer the call to be grounded in the Word of God, accept forgiveness of sins and repent in the power of Jesus the Christ. Then the charge is to walk closer to Him each day through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Impossible people will raise the bar for the family, the Church and our nation to the glory of the Father. Peter Damian was placed in the highest circle of paradise as a saint by Dante and was the predecessor of Francis of Assisi. That is good company to be in. Be impossible.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for Your word and for Your example. I have too often passively accepted it as impossible to be a Christian influence where I am. Forgive me. You expect me to accept responsibility to be a Christian influence where You have me, to be zealous about my faith as You were. I will step up to that charge. Grant me the strength needed to stay grounded in Your Word and the discipline to live out my faith in a way that glorifies You Father, in my family, as the Church and in the community. Help me be an impossible man for You Lord. That is the dad You call me to be, and that’s the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father is impossible, grounded in the Word and living his faith.