2020 was an unpredictable year to say the least. Many were scared, worried, grieving, anxious, and just down right frustrated how things went. This is a wake up call for men, especially fathers. I submit to you that there has been a massive negation of too many leaky faucets in our lives. These are two quotes I'd like to share to capture my tone:

"Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship." - Benjamin Franklin

"One leak will sink a ship: and one sin will destroy a sinner." - John Bunyan

Maybe where we are today is not solely because of people rejecting God and His ways... no, no, no, maybe it's because of people's inconsistency with God and His ways. Also to add, there has been a significant crack in a God ordained institution and if the damage is not repaired we could be partakers of a collapse... More on that later.

Jim Jones

Let's rewind the clocks back to the 1970's a time in America where racial tension was unquestionably high, soldiers fighting the Vietnam war, and presidential scandals. In the midst of this was a movement birthed out of Indiana from the workings of a man named Jim Jones. He was charismatic preacher who started the church called The People's Temple of Disciples of Christ. He would preach from the Bible, perform "healings" of the sick and lame, and had people live a life dedicated to the cause of The Temple. Their community provided their own healthcare, schooling, houses for the elderly and much more. Members would sell their homes and give the money to the church. This mirrored the biblical text from the book of Acts "And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." They had a positive community and people were cared for. As stated earlier this all took place in a time period where the country was segregated. He pioneered integration and racial equality. Jim Jones was the first white man to adopt a black child into his family in the state of Indiana. He adopted multiple children from different ethnicities. These are just a few bullet points of Jim Jones and The People's Temple and I want to settle here for a moment. As noble and honorable as his endeavors were, Jim Jones had another side to him. His son Stephen Jones, says this about his father in this interview below:

"...My father preached tolerance, he preached a lot of truths but he didn't live em but he preached em." - Stephen Jones

Jim Jones Syndrome

This sums up what I like call the "Jim Jones Syndrome". Jim Jones Syndrome is as follows: When a person seeks to bring about positive change to the society around them but at the same time devalue or sometimes even destroy the society nearest to them (their family). What you may not know about Jim Jones is his involvement in extra marital affairs, drug abuse, and manipulation of people in The Peoples Temple. On the outside he appeared to be a lover and champion for equality, but on the inside it was a different story. All this took a toll on his family, as you can hear in the interview above. I coined the phrase after Jim Jones but it didn't begin with him. This dates back ages. You can run down a list of people, wide known figures in leadership whereas they seem to breakdown the walls for freedom but at the same time fail to defend the walls of their own homes. It's a sad truth. JJS is not exclusive to just popular figures in history, look at your own homes. The way I see it, we have tons of Jim Jones's now. What do I mean by that? Well... Jim Jones rose to fame by building a platform for himself. He held services, preached sermons, did outreach, traveled across the U.S., held meetings, glad-handed people, and also received awards for his work. He was a big deal in California before Jonestown. He put the work in and I'm sure it took a lot out of him physically. He had a platform that was real. Real people were invested in his message and did whatever they could to follow. This all came with time.

Like I mentioned earlier, now there are more Jim Jones's. More people have "platforms" brought to you by social media. Now individuals have digital followers that can echo their message accurately. So here is the question, if there are more Jim Jones's how many families will be destroyed in the process?

It's become common place to have social media platforms and to preach to followers a message but how many online "leaders" are skipping their family to do it? If Jim Jones was doing this without social media and internet help, how devastating is it now with technological aides at our fingertips.

So here is the question, if there are more Jim Jones's how many families will be destroyed in the process?

Antidote for Jim Jones Syndrome

Fathers must not succumb to this syndrome. Just because the bar has lowered severely doesn't mean we have to take the bait. Be consistent on and offline. Social media has become a place to build a platform to glorify yourself. Online you only show your audience a filtered persona of who you are. Like Jim Jones did to the masses. Similar to his case sadly, the family suffers. Your relationship with your spouse is hanging on by a thread, you don't even sleep in the same bed but you will post dolled up pictures of you two with an endearing caption. Being a consistent father in Christ will cure this syndrome. Too many men have preached one thing and lived another and like clockwork the family is devastated by it. It's not a good idea to be inconsistent. The deception of the syndrome is to lie to yourself and make excuses for your inconsistency; or even blame an enemy. Jim Jones did this too. The antidote is this, REPENT. Turn back to the God of the Bible. The ultimate source of life. Deliverance is key. Fathers walk with The Lord and walk circumspectly. Be exact. On point. CONSISTENT in all manner of life. Your children need to see it. We do not need another contradictory father.

In closing I want to say this: Fathers, the Jim Jones Syndrome is real. Teaching and not demonstrating your doctrine by your actions sends a mixed message, especially to your children. Beware of it.

  • The Father's Table

If God is your Father what does that mean for you as His child? Does that shape how you treat neighbors, spouse, children, and life? If you name the name of Christ then the way you live life should honor God. We get great training in honoring God by the way we honor our father and mother. In the Bible, Exodus 20:12 we find the given commandment, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." As God's people, we are commanded to honor our father and mother. But what does honor mean? In Hebrew, the word is "Kabad" which means be heavy, be weighty, be grievous, be hard, be rich, be honourable, be glorious, be burdensome, be honoured.

"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."

To give honor means to give importance/weight to something. When something holds weight or is heavy it seems to swallow up all of your attention. Like a sudden death in the family, getting that job you hoped for, or your wedding day.

When it comes to God, when we give honor, we give weight to Him. We give extreme reverence, importance, and esteem to Him. He is the truth, the light, and the way as a good father should be.

When I was coming up one of the reasons we obeyed because we knew our behavior was a reflection of my father and mother, their union, and my household. When we obey our parents we are showing them great honor. And in turn showing honor to God. Dad and mom communicated their wishes for how we are to conduct ourselves and we complied, not always willingly.

That's why I call on godly men, we MUST live lives that honor our parents and most of all our Father. This instruction paints a beautiful picture to youthful minds about obedience, honor and respect. By demonstrating a lifestyle of honor to God, neighbors, spouses, and children will in turn do the same by God's grace. Why? Because they will see obedience, sincerity, compassion, and righteousness. Our Father in heaven exudes judgement, equity, integrity and love; we as His offspring in the Spirit should do the same.

  • The Father's Table

Back in 1993, Charles Barkley released a commercial ad that I believe is still relevant today, especially in the digital age we live in. Below is a link to the commercial:

'I'm not a role model... Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids." - Charles Barkley

I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. Charles goes on to say this: "Parents should be role models." He nails it.

If you look at athletes today, their "followers" are in the millions. Like it or not, sports stars have influence. They can tweet or post something and within seconds get reactions to it. If the followers like a certain post, the athlete may continue to post more of the same stuff, forming even more of a connection between the athlete and their followers. I'm thoroughly convinced that a fan might be more vulnerable to following their hero blindly, and kids are no exception. They may even be more impressionable. If a young child with a father as a role model can be heavily influenced by sports stars, how much more might this apply to child without a father in the home? This is what Charles was getting at in his message.

Children mimic what they see. How many times have you heard something like, "You got that from your mother/father." I don't know why this is but sports players have been given a burden of being role models to young children. Why? Athletes have to walk, talk, and act a certain way and if they depart from the given framework they are criticized. But why? They are athletes, and like Charles says, they are paid to play a sport - not to be role models.

But therein lies the problem, maybe parents have given their kids over to these athletes. Maybe parents have encouraged this by tuning into every game, buying the merchandise, and investing in season tickets, etc. There is nothing wrong with admiring someone's athletic skill, but when does one depart from admiration and embrace full allegiance?

To the parents, there has to be a line drawn somewhere. If you are going to watch someone because you like the sport, that's fine. However, it is important to be mindful of when that influence bleeding over into other areas of your life. Parents should be the ultimate earthly role models for their kids; they should model character, dignity, purity, love, and in my view, godliness. If your child looks more like what they see in the media, we have a problem.