I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction audio video notes. There are 5 great characters bad dads do not have, but great fathers do. This is true even if you are a man after God’s own heart – like King David, who was a bad dad.


By Pastor Delbert Young

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction







I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction

Scriptures: 2 Samuel 18:33, John 17:9, 12, John 18:9, 2 Samuel 13:14, 2 Samuel 6:16

It’s Father’s Day, so let’s recognize our fathers. Please stand. I want to pray for you and bless you.

We began our series with Smile Staying Positive When… You Had A Bad Mother. so it’s only fair and fitting to reverse it and talk about Smile Staying Positive When… You Had A Bad Dad. Nothing can get life off to a negative beginning more than having a bad dad, but first, I want to thank you, good dads, for loving your families and your children. You are leaving a legacy of faith, hope, and love for your future generations. You are doing your part. Therefore, you are to be commended. Good dads accomplish many great things in life, but none as great and eternal as the legacy you leave in your children.

Of all the things I’ve accomplished in my life, none come close to what I feel when I look at my children, including my son-in-law and my daughter-in-law, as well as my four grandchildren.

The scriptures tell us much about fathers. Nearly all the men in the Bible were fathers. Sadly, many were bad dads who didn’t put forth the effort to be a good dad. Being a good father requires relentless effort even after his children are grown and have homes of their own.

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction

Here is what we will hopefully accomplish today: If you have a good father, thank him for his relentless effort while you can, and thank God for him. If he’s passed, as mine has, then find some time today to thank God for giving you to him. You avoided many issues others suffered because of him.

If you’re a dad but were not fortunate to have a good father, hopefully, today’s talk will fill some voids and help you be a better father. If you’re a woman looking for a husband who will be a father to your children, today’s talk should help you determine if a man is a legitimate candidate. Or, if you’re raising children as a single mom, hopefully, you will see some things you can do to help fill some of the needs your children have. You should see what you encountered and missed if you had a bad dad, and what you need to correct. And all we dads can evaluate ourselves.

Question: When food becomes spoiled and rotten, we throw it away. It stinks and is good for nothing. We can’t use it in a stew or soup. It only stinks and becomes more rotten. What do we do with spoiled, rotten children? Spoiled, rotten, rebellious children are frequently the results of a bad dad.

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction

Question: What do you do when you have/had a rotten bad dad?

Do you throw him away? No, but what good is he? Actually, even a bad dad can bring blessings if you honor him. You will live long, and things will go well for you (Deu 5:16; Eph 6:1-2). Honoring him is different from admiring him. I had someone tell me, “Because he was a bad father doesn’t mean I have to be a bad son.” You’ve heard the saying, “He’s following in his father’s footsteps.” Children do follow, especially sons, in the good footsteps and the bad footsteps of their fathers.

But, I know for a fact some here refused to follow those bad footsteps. They followed the footsteps of Jesus instead, changing the direction of their entire legacy and generations to come. You can too. You can break the generational “bad dad” syndrome.

I heard T. D. Jakes talk about five character traits a father must have.(1) I want to look at them in reverse as characteristics bad dads universally do not have. It doesn’t require the lack of all five characteristics to make a bad dad. Lacking one or two of these traits will make a great man a bad dad. It’s true even if you are a man after God’s own heart. We’ve immortalized King David as a man after God’s own heart, but he failed as a father.

2 Samuel 18:33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you – O Absalom, my son, my son!”

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction

David was a failed father. He was a rotten father. Evidence of David being a bad dad included: the rape of his daughter Tamar by one of David’s nineteen known sons named Amnon (2Sa 13:14); Tamar lived a desolate life, never marrying or having children (2Sa 13:20); the murder of Amnon by Tamar’s brother Absalom (2Sa 13:28-29); the attempted coup of David’s throne by his son Absalom; the death of thousands of men; and the death of Absalom hanging in a tree by his hair and with javelins plunged into his heart (2Sa 18:14).

Later another son would attempt to subjugate Solomon after David placed him as successor. David was a rotten, failed father.

A man worthy of wearing the title “father” will correct his bad character traits. David never did. So, let’s look at what a bad dad doesn’t do.


A bad dad does not protect his children. He might install a burglar alarm in the house to protect his stuff but will not guard you against evil. He will not be concerned about your well-being, shown by not asking crucial questions like: Who are you talking with? Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? Who is that person?  What do their parents do? Who are their parents? When will you be home? Let me see your cell phone! This type of dad is only about “Just don’t bother me.” Life to this dad is all concerning him.

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction

A great father will grate you, aggravate you, and anger you with all his protection. He’s not picking on you. He’s protecting you. It’s not he’s not with it. It’s he’s with you.

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for THOSE YOU HAVE GIVEN MEFOR THEY ARE YOURSJohn 17:9 

While I was with them, I PROTECTED THEM and kept them safe… John 17:12 

I have not lost one of those you gave me.” John 18:9 “

Great fathers are not mean. They’re wired. One day, he will stand before God. We need to be able to say as did Jesus, “All you gave me I have protected. I haven’t lost any. I give them back to you” (Joh 17:8-22; 18:9).

He will protect you against people who will harm you. Protect you from making mistakes. Protect you from the devil and from yourself. If you had a great father, this is what you experienced. If you were not fortunate enough to have a great dad you have a void concerning feeling protected and protecting. Also if you’re a woman looking for a man to be a father for your children, this is a quality he must have.

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction

If you’re a single mom, you need to fill this void for your children as best you can. If you are a dad but missed this from your dad, you can fix it. So, if you’re a father, how do you grade yourself here?

2 Samuel 13:14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, HE RAPED HER.

Amnon, one of King David’s sons, raped David’s daughter Tamar, Amnon’s half-sister. David didn’t protect her. He didn’t ask the protection questions. Amnon faked being sick and asked David to send Tamar to cook for him. It was a “fishy” plot to get Tamar alone and rape her. Why did David not ask: “Why do you need Tamar to cook for you?” “Are you certain you are sick? You don’t have a fever.” “I don’t know about your friend Jonadab (13:3)?” David wanted Bathsheba and took her. Amnon wanted Tamar and took her – father’s footsteps!

David didn’t protect Tamar from Amnon, and he certainly didn’t protect Amnon from himself and his friends. Later, Tamar’s full brother Absalom had Amnon murdered. David was a rotten, bad dad, and it became even more rotten.

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction


A bad dad does not provide well. I don’t mean monetarily. Too much monetary provision will spoil you rotten. King David gave too much to his children. They developed a sense of entitlement, and his children were rotten. Absalom had horses and chariots and anything he wanted (2Sa 15:1). He was a brother of Tamar and was rotten and arrogant. He’d had his half-brother Amnon murdered for raping his sister Tamar and gotten away with murder. His father was the king. Eventually, he led a coup rebelling against his own father, David, to take the kingdom, leading to Absalom’s death.

Parents, you do your children no favors spoiling them. They will thank you by rebelling against you!

What I mean by provider is, a bad dad will not provide you with what you truly need for success in life, i.e. wisdom, counsel, perspective, priorities, and most importantly himself.

A great father is a giver/provider. A man’s physical design tells us he is created to be a giver, not a receiver. A great father provides you with what you truly need in life to be successful. When you look back, your life is fuller and richer because your father was in it.

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction


A bad dad promotes himself, not his children. His children develop self-worth problems throughout life. A great father promotes his children’s belief in themselves. He promotes their self-worth. He recognizes, promotes, encourages, and helps the development of his children’s God-given gifts and talents. We should know the things our children have the talent to do and help them develop. I was twenty-eight years old before I was wise enough to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

My parents talked after the fact about how I would sit and watch Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, and TV preachers when I was a boy. That wasn’t normal. They could have helped me more. There is something very special about the belief in and encouragement coming from a father. It establishes healthy self-worth. Interestingly, of all the stories about David, we’re never told of King David spending time with his children, helping develop and promoting them.


A priest leads and instructs in worship. A bad dad does not lead his family to worship. He cares nothing about spiritual issues. Worse, he does not translate, transmit, and impart true worship to his children. “Let their mother do that.” Worship is often a bother, even a nuisance to a bad dad. He devastates the souls of those he is to protect.

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction

Interestingly, one would think King David would excel in this characteristic. I mean, he’s the man after God’s own heart, right? He wrote most of the Psalms, right? But he didn’t excel as the priest of his home. David experienced an amazing personal relationship with God but failed to lead his family to worship. Not once are we told David’s family worshiped together.

2 Samuel 6:16 As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, SHE DESPISED HIM IN HER HEART.

David’s family despised him when it came to his worship—at least Michal, one of David’s wives, did. Michal knew David. A wife knows her husband. It seems perhaps David’s family felt he was a hypocrite. They knew the real David. Family knows. “You dance before the Lord, but you have eight wives, innumerable concubines, and illegitimate children all over the place. And you expect me to worship with you?”

Only Solomon seemed to have come close to following David concerning worship. We know how Solomon’s life worked out with seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray (1 Kings 11:3). Solomon was weak.

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction

A great father is the priest of the home. I don’t mean the father can quote more scriptures than the mom. It doesn’t mean he has to lead his family in Bible studies. It means he leads his family in the importance of correct, faithful worship. He understands what proper worship does for the souls of his children. King David had an amazing personal relationship with God, but he failed to lead his family to worship.


A bad dad does not speak to the future and destiny of his children. He does not speak the blessing to his children.

I don’t mean so much speaking the future, but a good father will decree the blessing to his children. I think it was last year we taught “Irrevocable Blessing with Polished Words.”(2) A great father will speak into the destiny of his children, and it cannot be revoked. Isaac thought he was giving the blessing to Esau but was giving it to Jacob. Though Esau begged his father to reverse it, Isaac could not. Father, you as prophet put eternal things into your children no one else can, and those eternal things cannot be revoked.

I Had a Bad Dad – How to Break Cycles of Dysfunction

Fathers, how do you score?

There are five characteristics great fathers have, and bad dads don’t. If each is twenty points, how’d you do? We have some great fathers here at Life Gate. I personally believe it’s one of our strongest assets.

If you have a great father, tell him today. One day, you won’t be able to tell him. If he’s passed, thank God for your father. You’ve avoided much suffering because God gave you to him. If you were not fortunate enough to have a great father, we should have revealed some voids you have and hopefully given you some resources to fill them. If you’re a woman looking for a great father for your children, you can’t go wrong with finding a man with these five characteristics.

Or, if you’re a single mom, you have some insight into what a father imparts to his children. Maybe you can help them better now. If you’re a dad but missed learning what a great father does, you can become a great father. All of us fathers should have evaluated ourselves. The generational “Bad Dad” syndrome can be broken.

Bad Dad audio video notes

Bad Dad audio video notes

Bad Dad audio video notes

Other Related Sermons:

Do Not Be Like Absalom sermon

Breaking or Blessing a Father’s Heart

Mothers of Jesus sermon notes

Are My Children Saved Father’s Day sermon

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Delbert Young Sermons YouTube