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Breaking the Chains of Father Wounds

Week 14_Thumbnail_Breaking the Chains of Father Wounds

Breaking the Chains of Father Wounds

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, there is a theme of forgiveness and generosity that seems almost naïve. To internalize this teaching, we need to reflect on one of the hardest people to forgive, our fathers. Fathers inevitably cause wounds because no father is perfect. These wounds, also known as daddy issues or father complexes, permeate us deeply. While some might carry deeper scars, the truth remains: our relationships with our fathers have a profound impact on us.
Proverbs‬ ‭22‬:‭6 says, “‬Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it,” but directing your children onto the right path requires you to know the path. Too many fathers fail to direct their children because they have not learned what the right path is.
When my generation thinks of good fathers, we think of Danny Tanner, Carl Winslow, Philip Banks, Tim Taylor, and Bill Cosby…too soon? Unfortunately, none of these fathers fulfill the commandment to direct their children onto the right path because the right path is the path to God.
You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
The quality of our relationship with our father significantly influences our connection with God. A father can have great intentions, but if they do not lead their children on the narrow path to God, that father will lead their children to destruction.
Only 2% of children whose dads don’t go to church will become lifelong churchgoers, but 44% of kids become lifelong churchgoers if their dads regularly take them to church. Vern Bengtson says, “The primary factor in transmission of faith between generations is a warm relationship with the father.”  This does not mean that people with good dads are dumber and therefore more gullible when it comes to spirituality. It means that the wounds that are caused by an unhealthy relationship with your father can blind you to truth. Father wounds can eclipse our view of God, like the moon can block our view of the sun. The moon is smaller, but it’s closer.
In other words, people aren’t leaving the faith because it’s not true. They’re leaving the faith because it doesn’t feel good. Most people choose beliefs based on relationships in their communities. If people were leaving the faith because they discovered it wasn’t true, it wouldn’t have anything to do with relationships.
It is possible, however, to discover the right path without the direction of a quality Christian father, but those who do will walk that path with wounds created by their fathers.
We are not destined to repeat the mistakes of our fathers. Our fathers affect a lot about who we are, but if you had a bad dad, don’t be a victim. Don’t let it define you. You are more than your pain. Your heavenly Father can rescue you when your earthly father hurt you. I will give you some proof.
When you look at the genealogy of Jesus Christ you will see that there are examples of good fathers that produced bad children, and there are bad dads that produce good children.
Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asa. Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram.
Rehoboam was a bad dad that begat a bad son. Abijah was a bad dad that begat a good son. Asa was a good dad that begat a good son, and Jehoshaphat was a good father that begat a bad son. What does this mean? You did not inherit your dad’s unrighteousness. You can break the chain and be set free.
Now, let’s discuss what causes a dad to be labeled a bad dad. There are many types of dads that produce a variety of father wounds. Here are some of them:
  • Tyrannical Dad
The children of a tyrannical dad are never good enough for him. His expectations are so high that kids could never meet them. Sometimes these dads are angry or abusive. They might have great goals, but many times their goals are selfish.
  • Overbearing Dad
The overbearing dad is available to his kids. He attends PTA events and takes his kids on vacations. He chooses his kid’s football game over watching a football game on TV, but sometimes he puts too much pressure on his kids. His desire for them to succeed can become overwhelming.
  • Hollow Dad
The hollow dad might be around physically, but he is emotionally unavailable. He’s so caught up in his work or his hobbies that he doesn’t take enough time to invest in his kids.
  • In-and-Out Dad
The most common situation that causes a dad to be an in-and-out dad is divorce and shared custody. Sometimes these kids get too excited to see their dads because it doesn’t happen often enough.
  • Absent Dad
An absent dad is a dad that isn’t available to his kids at all. This often happens when a dad leaves his family or dies early.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives an idea of the types of actions that cause wounds. There is a profound link between your relationship with your father and your ability to sustain relationships, find contentment in work, parent effectively, and assert yourself in conversations. In other words, your relationship with your father significantly affects your ability to live a happy life. So, what can we do when we recognize that our relationship with our father has negatively affected us?
A prophecy about Jesus predicted that He would unite children with their fathers.
His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.
If you obey the instructions of Jesus, your father wounds can be healed. Here are four steps to heal father wounds found in the Sermon on the Mount:
  1. Change your identity.
You are more than your dad’s son or daughter. He may have made you miserable in the past, but that is your past. It’s not who you are. You have a new life. You are a new creation. Remove your dad’s power over you.
God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
If God really is who He said He is, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and you are His child, then your relationship with your Heavenly Father is the most important thing about you.
  1. Pray for your dad.
Depending on how deeply he wounded you, praying for your dad might be a difficult step, but Jesus says it is a necessary one.
Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
Praying for your dad will change your heart, and it might even change your dad’s heart.
  1. Build relationships.
Build a relationship with God first, then with others. You will need friends or family that you can rely on as you walk the painful road toward forgiveness.
  1. Forgive your father.
Forgiveness isn’t a shortcut. It’s not something you do quickly to get it over with, but it’s better than vengeance. Vengeance is not freedom. When you choose vengeance, you chain your future to the future of the person you hate. Forgiveness is the only way to free yourself from them.
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. ‬
We are set free when we forgive others, and we are set free when we are forgiven. Your father might not deserve forgiveness, but neither did we when Christ forgave us.
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
The best way I know to forgive someone is to seek to understand them. When you see them as broken, sinful people, you begin to see why they did what they did. This does not justify their actions, but helps us to understand them. If your dad did terrible things to you, ask yourself why he did those things. Figure out what drove him to do it, so that you can begin to see him as a broken human. Get to the point where you can pity him and rise above him.
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
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