TODAY’S READING: Ephesians 6:1-4
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” EPH 6:4 (ESV)
Welcome to week six on our journey through Ephesians. I want to start this week by looking at family. I hope to highlight an area that I see time and again in pastoral ministry that keeps people from reaching their full potential.
Growing up in a home with two older brothers and a younger sister, I would say my parents surrounded us with love, healthy boundaries and security. I thought this was the norm! As I entered into ministry in 1999 with Stauros, I worked with people battling addictions and their families. I realised then, that actually, my experience was far from the norm! 90% of the men I dealt with had a father who was either absent or an abusive and destructive influence in their lives.
Catholic priest Richard Rohr tells the story about a nun ministering in a men’s prison. One day early in May, an inmate asked the nun if she could get him a Mother’s Day card. Happy to oblige, the nun went into town and bought it for him. The inmate told others and the word spread like wildfire around the prison. Soon, dozens of prisoners were knocking on the chaplain’s office door asking for their own Mother’s Day card. Overwhelmed, the nun wisely thought to call Hallmark’s national office for help. The company graciously donated a thousand cards to the prison, and a week before Mother’s Day, the prison warden invited inmates to go to the chaplain’s office for their cards. By the end of the day, all the cards had been distributed. The nun was delighted. Soon after this great success, she was looking ahead on her calendar and noted Father’s Day just ahead. Planning ahead this time, she again contacted Hallmark who sent her a thousand Father’s Day cards. The warden repeated his announcement the Sunday before Father’s Day. “Father’s Day came, and Father’s Day went,” the nun reported in dismay. “Not one inmate asked me for a Father’s Day card.”
When we are born, we are so helpless and dependant. In these early years in a broken home, the ‘father wound’ is formed. Neglect, absence, abuse, control and withholding, lead to that profound lack of self-acceptance. This leads us to believe that we are unworthy, stupid, incompetent and unlovable. This also affects our image of God the Father and we see God from our personal experience of a father believing that we are not good enough, shameful and must work harder to justify or earn His love.
How is the father wound healed?
There are four steps to addressing the father wound:
- Understanding the heart of God
- Inviting Jesus into the wounds created by the birth father
- Accepting the truth about yourself as a child of God
- Forgiving your father.
If this affects you, and you would like to talk more about it, please contact your Pastor or Life Group leader today.
Dear God, please help me to be the parent You envision for me to be to my children. Help me always to be as Christ to them and may they grow up knowing that they are very much loved by me as well as by You. Please help me to face my father wound and help me to forgive my father. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer, in Jesus' name, amen.
• Read Ephesians 6:1-4
• Pray that God would expose any ‘father wound’ in your soul.
• Commit to praying through the four steps to healing and follow up https://danielpassini.org/father-wound/ for more detail.