Are you living from the blessings or the wounds of your father? I meet people every day who are still waiting for healing to come between them and their dads.
The wound of the father seems to be a very painful one that many people spend their whole life working through. More than 2,000 years ago, the prophet Jeremiah described this same wound he saw in his own culture, "We have become orphans and fatherless; our mothers are like widows" (Lam. 5:3).
My wife and I got to see this at a youth conference awhile back. During the first session, I asked the crowd this question: "If you could change one thing about your relationship with your dad, what would it be?" The kids quickly responded:
- "I wish my dad wouldn't drink so much, and spend time with me."
- "I wish my dad could see me and who I am."
- "I wish I knew who my dad was."
- "I wish my dad cared about me."
- "I wish my mom and dad wouldn't get divorced and fight so much."
Then the final question: "Is Jesus big enough to fix it?"
This group, which had been so excitable and bursting with energy, suddenly turned somber as they shared their struggles. There was not a dry eye in the house.
Most of the kids at the conference were raised in the church. Many of the ones from broken families couldn't figure out why Jesus didn't seem big enough to heal their families.
One of the young men pulled me aside later and said, "Why was my father so brutal to me? He beat me up every day. I've been in three different high schools, and they all had bullies who beat me up just like my dad did."
His question broke my heart. Yet he is one of the many young people today whose identity has been shaped more by the trauma of their lives than by the love and blessing of their fathers.
Some of them are easier to recognize than others by choosing to put their pain on outward display. Others fade away into the crowd never knowing what it feels like to be totally loved and accepted. The only way to navigate through the minefields of a broken identity is to receive the love of the Father that Jesus spoke of in John 17:26 (AMPC):
"I have made Your Name known to them and revealed Your character and Your very Self, and I will continue to make [You] known, that the love which You have bestowed upon Me may be in them [felt in their hearts] and that I [Myself] may be in them."
There is a promise for healing in that verse. I have had the privilege of watching this promise transform people again and again as the Father chooses them to be a part of His family through His Son Jesus. I saw it again at the youth conference—the moment when their expressions changed as they encountered God the Father and His love for them for the first time.
One young lady was so rocked by the Father's love that she not only was able to forgive her father, but also invite him to church the next day! Not only did she receive the healing she was seeking, but she became a source of blessing and healing to her dad, who had never received a blessing from his own father. I will never forget seeing her father stand up and give his life to Christ and receive the blessing of the Father while hugging and weeping with his daughter in the back of the room.
God has made us to be loved and blessed by our fathers. But if fathers aren't around or aren't loving, we suffer from the wounds inflicted by them. Ultimately, we were made by God to look to Him for our blessing, no matter how good or broken our dads are. It doesn't matter if you had a bad dad or a great dad, God the Father has an amazing plan for you.
Ed Tandy McGlasson is the founder of The Blessing of the Father Ministries and the creator of The Blessing of the Father for Families video series and workbook.