Healing the Father Wound: Part 1 – The Orphan Heart

Endurance, in the face of unjust suffering, is “a gracious thing in the sight of God.” Jesus modeled this perfectly and we are called to follow in His steps. He continued to “entrust Himself to Him who judges justly… Jesus bore  our sins in His body on the tree… By His wounds you have been healed.”

The verses above are a concise summary of the last section of 1 Peter chapter two. The well-known, “By His wounds (stripes) I am healed”, is often used as a promise to claim when praying for physical healing. This by the way, is not wrong to do. The context of the passage however, is about unjust suffering at the hands of others, learning endurance, and entrusting ourselves to a Father who judges justly. Allow me to cite two practical examples.

You are being treated unfairly by an employer or co-worker. By God’s grace you endure it and entrust yourself to the One who judges justly. Such a posture will release the wells of healing to flow and thus sustain you in the season of suffering. Another example would be suffering in your past – painful and delicate wounds tucked away in a cocoon of storage, to be avoided at all costs. Many of us know this story line – unhealed pain from the past is really “present” pain. Concealed influence is still influence nonetheless. Seldom traveling in straight lines, pain tends to circle around behind us. 

So what about the wounding from your childhood? This is a common core injustice for all of us. We’ve suffered unjustly via parental hurts, family of origin issues, and hurtful interaction with peers. None of us had perfect moms and dads. Even the children of this author experienced a measure of hurt as they grew up. It’s been said that we all have issues!

A myriad of healing streams waits to be released on our behalf – an abundant supply secured for us by Christ, ours to unpack. I like to think of it like this: “By His wounds I am healed of my wounds.” Firstly, healing from the unjust pain we have endured; and secondly, healing from the sinful ways in which we’ve reacted to the unjust pain. I envision three characteristics of wounding.

  1. Inherited. We all inherit from Adam a “heart disconnect”, an “Abba disconnect.” We are all born with an orphan heart. Our first parents in the garden possessed a spirit of sonship from the very start. They traded down however, and passed the deal onto all humanity. An orphan is a child deprived of parents; we were all born deprived.
  2. Parented. Our first taste of love comes in a feminine form. We live as part of mom’s body and are not conscious that we are a separate being. A few months after being born, the child is able to crawl away from mom, towards dad. Every child listens for the voice of father to separate their identity from mother and thus affirm themselves as unique. So we could say that the first “father love” you received was from dad loving mom, along with the joy they shared over expecting you. On the flip side, the beginnings of a “father wound” are rooted in a disconnected marital relationship, further complicated if  a child is never “called out” or “initiated” by dad.
  3. Chosen. Sinful reactions to childhood trauma, coupled with the refusal to re-visit the memory in order to reconcile. While I had no choice in what was perpetrated upon me, I do have a choice to realign my heart response now, in a godly fashion. If we keep our dads in prison, we are also keeping the wound alive. The act of forgiveness is a thread that must be constantly sown into the healing process.

To be continued…