Sometimes significant past damage has been done to otherwise full functioning individuals who cannot even themselves recognize the depth and impact of their wounded heart. ♦
If there is a recurring theme in Christianity it’s that “we are all sinners.” Yes, we are imperfect through Adam’s curse and human line of imperfection, and it is Good News that we can be redeemed through Christ, the “second Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49). While we may hear, understand and accept this truth, I dare say, it may be too trite and simplistic in explaining the daily ups and downs and sideways treks of every human being. Which makes it worse for some Christians, who feel they should be well past these roller-coaster issues if they’re really one of the so-called saved and justified and going-to-heaven crowd. Worse still when they are reminded by sermons, Bible studies and devotionals that they are to be full of peace and joy. If anything, if they’re honest, many will admit they are actually fairly unhappy and even depressed.
And they can’t even put their finger on why.
The Father’s Impact
While not all of us were raised in abusive or dysfunctional homes, we are all broken nonetheless to varying degrees. Even beyond Adam’s spiritual sin/brokenness, we are humanly beat down, even if not outright battered. This is the case for the Christian and non-Christian community. The high-performing son feels bottled up pressure to keep up the perfection. The athletic, over-achiever daughter brings stress and disappointment to herself if not her proud parents. The mother/wife is a bundle of nerves as she copes with choir practice, carpools, birthday gifts and neighborhood coffees. The father/husband muddles through issues with work, the boss, money, friends and social status. Why do they push and press on and do what they do? It’s an elusive search for accomplishment, survival, acceptance, love, joy and peace.
And it is the father who holds the key. Literally the family father. Believe it or not, he determines the original trajectory and ongoing functional and spiritual health of everyone around him. Whether he’s present and engaged, absent or distracted, uncommunicative or emotional, weak or strong, angry, sinful, ineffective, wise, foolish, cruel or anything outside perfection, one can’t underestimate the long-term effect and impact he has on every individual in the household.
As noted in earlier posts (see 4/5/13 Essentials for Sons, 4/13/13 Essentials for Daughters and 8/30/13 Essentials for Wives), the father/husband is instrumental in developing emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being across the family. Sometimes subtle but significant past damage has been done by the father to otherwise full functioning individuals who cannot even themselves recognize the depth and impact of their wounded heart.
Confidence in God, the Good Father
While some have and continue to receive strength, love and joy resulting in confidence from their earthly father, we all can obtain all of this from our Heavenly Father, the Good Father.
- I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. – 1 Corinthians 7:4
- “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” – 1 Chronicles 28:20
- …for the Lord will be your confidence. – Proverbs 3:26
- Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. – Psalm 37:24
- Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him and he in God…that we may have confidence for the day of judgment. – 1 John 4:15-17
As these verses attest, there is real confidence available to us through our Lord God – confidence in current life and on the day of judgment before our creator. This is all well and good, and Christians every day all over the world do confirm their “confidence” and hope in the Lord, even in the midst of hardships and trials.
Webster defines confidence as not only “full trust, assurance, belief in the powers, trustworthiness or reliability of a person or thing,” in this case the Lord God, but also as “belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence, self-reliance, self-assurance.” And how do we get that? It’s one thing to say we have confidence in God; it’s quite another thing to say we really have confidence in ourselves and live boldly from that position. Again, spiritual and psychological life-lines go back to Dad.
As the Father Goes, So Goes the Family
Healthy mothers bring unconditional love and acceptance to their children, but confidence in identity is bestowed by the father. As Jesus got it from His Father, so should we from ours: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:17. Expressing pride and commendation to a son and adoration and acknowledgment of a daughter’s loveliness and worth brings necessary acceptance and assurance, particularly in young, developing lives. Silence from a father on these matters is devastating to the human heart, even into adulthood. Layering on spiritual leadership and teaching of the ways of God is a recipe for healthy living. The responsibility is deep.
And it’s never too late. Whether one is on the giving or receiving end, spiritual repentance and forgiveness can lead to healing and restoration of father wounds. Coupled with the promise of salvation, there is real hope for the transforming of human insecurity, pain and brokenness into even full peace and joy for the rest of one’s life.
Are you wounded? Forgive, be forgiven and even healed by the Good Father who saved us.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:4-5