Living in Sodom: A Case Study, Part II (Behavior Patterns of Fathers who Withdraw Protection from Daughters)

Lot is an example of a father who did not protect his daughters. His lifestyle in Sodom worked to open the door to their vulnerability. He gives us some insight into behavior patterns that make their daughters vulnerable. The results of his syncretism were horrible. When Lot did what was socially acceptable in Sodom, it bought him a defiled family and a broken lineage.

Even though he was vexed by the lifestyles in Sodom and was criticized for his conservatism, Lot fit in enough to stay there. He maintained a level of social acceptability that insured he would be a player in the town. At the same time, he so disconnected with his daughters that he made them vulnerable to the ungodly influences of Sodom. Lot is an extreme example of a common trait in families—unprotected daughters.

Historical Perspective

Lot did what is unthinkable to our ears, but his behavior reminds us that there are times in history when fathers disconnect with their daughters. When we look at history, we see a spectrum of behavior regarding daughters. Some periods are worse than others. Lot’s was despicable, but there is a gradation of behavior that expresses the same root problem. While Lot may be on the far end of the scale in the daughter-protection department, we ought not think we are exempt from the root sin that resulted in his abdication. While his actions were extreme, there are many other ways that fathers tend to disconnect protection of their daughters.

Protection of Daughters in Nineteenth Century America

The idea of an unprotected woman was virtually unknown 150 years ago. In nineteenth century Occidental culture, women simply did not travel alone because there was a cultural assumption that women needed protection. If women were traveling over land or sea, they were sure to have a male escort to see them safely to their destination.

We have no consciousness of this concept in our current day. If you travel by sea or land or by air, you will often see hundreds or even thousands of what would be previously regarded as “unprotected” women on the move. One hundred and fifty years ago, it was unthinkable, but today is the norm. This change it is important to note because it demonstrates that there are forces at work in every culture that either work to provide or withdraw the protection of women. In our current culture, we have many socially acceptable norms that promote the withdrawal of protection from daughters.

How do you think that those from the culture of the nineteenth century would judge us if they came in a time capsule and saw unprotected daughters traveling to the ends of the earth—women in co-ed dorms, women living independently in colleges across the nation, and women brandishing automatic weapons in combat situations.

I believe they would be dumbfounded at what we regard as normal.

Protecting My Own Daughter

In 2003, I took my daughter with me on a mission trip to Romania. On the plane, there was a drunken man flirting with her in a very aggressive way. Unfortunately for him, there were 535 pounds of manhood in our party ready to protect her. Believe me, we were exercising much Christian patience with this man who persisted throughout the entire flight. He did not realize that he was facing deadly force, if he persisted. He actually touched her once and was making bold advances. He even continued the pursuit after the plane landed. I am convinced that, if we had not been with her to protect her, she would have been in serious danger

Where do we get the idea of protection from the Bible? We could make a long list, but here is a short one. Godly behavior is defined by shepherds who protect their flocks. The strong should support the weak. Women are the weaker vessels. And daughters should be protected by their fathers who are commanded to give 24/7 watch care over their children (Deuteronomy 6:1-9). This is enough for me to be convinced that women should be protected by men.

A Wake-up Call for Fathers

This example of Lot should be a wake-up call that prompts us to ask, “What are the socially acceptable ways that we disconnect our protection and expose our daughters to destructive influences of the world?”

Following are caricatured profiles of the kinds of things that fathers do that cause their daughters to be unprotected.

The Narcissistic Father. This is the father who is the quintessential couch potato. He only spends time on things that interest him. He has no energy for anyone else. His philosophy is “Live and Let Live.” He has no plan, no agenda. He is a relativist, except when it comes to his own comforts. His philosophy is, “You have your life and I have mine —do your own thing.”

His daughter is completely on her own.

She is an unprotected daughter.

The Nice-Guy Father. This father has a favorable disposition toward his daughter, and he is upstanding in every way. He takes her out to lunch regularly and attends her recitals and sports events. But he is so “nice” that he takes the path of least resistance. He does not engage in the difficulties involved in helping her to think about her life in a deep way.

This father accepts life as it is. For instance, he does not help his daughter have a deep understanding of the purpose of her life, beyond the things that are already swimming in her head. If you ask her what she is doing with her life, she gives answers that you hear from any other worldling. She speaks of her education or her hobbies or her career track, but you do not hear a biblical vision for womanhood. This should be a warning for all nice-guy fathers.

She is an unprotected daughter.

The Supportive Father. This father nearly idolizes his daughter’s feelings about life. He helps her to be all that she wants to be, even if it means an individualistic focus on her own inclinations. He interprets the popular song lyrics, “Fathers be good to your daughters,” to mean, “smooth the way for her own desires.” She is encouraged to focus on her individual passion instead of calibrating herself with the external call of God upon her life. She enjoys her own categories and is not energized by the biblical ones. She likes to elevate her own “take” on life over what she reads in her Bible. Instead of discipleship, she is focused on her own styled vision, calling and gifts.

Instead of carefully giving their daughters away in marriage, these fathers let them loose to find it on their own apart from their direction and counsel… because they are “supportive.”

She is an unprotected daughter.

The Feminist Father. This evangelical, church-attending father does not really understand the teaching of God’s Word regarding biblical manhood and womanhood. He gets his roadmap from the evening news, the men around him, and from the feminist ideology that propels the corporation he works for. Everyday he is so surrounded by unprotected women in the workplace that he is de sensitized to the subject. The result is that his daughter has not been protected from the bankrupt values that feminism has dished up to her by her loved ones. She has eaten at the table of feminist philosophy, right along with her father, and neither of them understand what the Bible says about a woman’s calling and role. Consequently, all her visions are disconnected from that role, and her father is not there with the voice of loving authority about how things really were meant to be.

She prefers something different, and something not so unpopular as the biblical vision. Why? Because she does not like the biblical vision. And why does she not like the biblical vision? Because she goes to church with her father who lives a shallow Christianity, attending a church governed by feminist ideology. They call themselves Bible-believing Christians, but in reality they live exactly like egalitarians, ignoring the specific commands and regulations found in Scripture.

She is an unprotected daughter.

The Harboring Father. He is extremely restrictive and does not accurately communicate the biblical vision. He may demand something like the biblical vision, but she never sees the joys and the freedoms that it holds. He is big on demands and small on life. He has rules, but not much love. He has structure and conviction, but not much joy. He only has a message of restriction, and life is no fun at all. Joyless Christianity reigns in his home. Affectionless Christianity rules the roost. Often you will find that this kind of father has laid out the game plan, but he has not explained why it is important. This father is over-protective, and his household looks more like a detention center than the green pastures and still waters that good shepherds provide.

A father can withdraw protection from his daughter, even when she is living in his own home. The harboring father actually exposes his daughter’s heart to harm, because of his lack of positive vision for her future.

She is an unprotected daughter.

The Core of the Problem

At the core of these caricatures is male passivity. It is perhaps the most dangerous quality of manhood.

Most daughters do not understand the biblical vision because fathers have not known what it is, because when they should be studying and preparing to deliver the messages, they are out playing golf or engaged in some kind of entertainment. They just do not know what to say to their daughters, because they have nothing to say. They have nothing to say, because they have not filled their minds with scriptural thoughts regarding their daughters.

And, whatever they do have to say, they do not communicate it in enough detail and over a long enough time for her to understand it. How long is enough? Communication of the biblical vision to a daughter needs to be from birth and continue every day of her life thereafter.

A father should be calling her to a rich life as a helpmeet (Genesis 2:18), a keeper at home (Titus 2:4), a trainer of the next generation (Ephesians 6:4), a demonstration of unfading beauty (I Peter 3:4), and a domestic entrepreneur (Proverbs 31). My view is that every daughter needs to have these passages of scripture memorized, so that she is equipped to detect influences which would divert her from her creation-order calling.

Without a careful delivery of “thus saith the Lord,” a daughter is unprotected and is denied the glorious hope of her calling as a woman in Christ.