The Wounded Warrior – The reluctance to acknowledge wounds will stop men from receiving physical healing and will also stop men from receiving deeper emotional healing. Sadly, one of the primary sources from which a man is far too often deeply and emotionally wounded for life, is by his own father. Wounded Warrior.
By Pastor Delbert Young
The Wounded Warrior
The Wounded Warrior
Psalm 127:4-5; Matthew 27:46; Malachi 4:6; Colossians 3:13-14; Matthew 3:16
This is our third week in our series called WARRIOR. Do we have any warriors in the house? Men can you make a little noise? Warriors love their princesses. Do we have any helping warrior princess women in the house? Women, can you make a little noise?
So, how many guys love guy movies? In guy movies, the warrior always gets the bad guy and if the warrior dies, it’s not until the end. They will stab him and he will pull the knife out and keep fighting. They will shoot him eighteen times and he keeps on fighting. If he’s shot with an arrow, he breaks it off and keeps on fighting. Although usually fiction, that does reveal a real truth about men. We don’t like to acknowledge our wounds. Lance and I were fishing one day on the Gulf. I crushed, and I mean crushed, my thumb. Did I stop fishing and go to the doctor? No. I kept on fighting. How many men ever did something smart like that? The reluctance to acknowledge wounds will stop men from receiving physical healing and will also stop men from receiving deeper emotional healing. Sadly, one of the primary sources from which a man is far too often deeply and emotionally wounded for life, is by his own father.
Before I get into that wound aspect, let’s look at a WARRIOR scripture speaking about how a father/son relationship should be.
Psalm 127:4-5 Like arrows in the hands of a WARRIOR are SONS born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when THEY CONTEND with their enemies in the gate.
The passage gives us a beautiful picture of a father and son contending through life side by side. Blessed is the warrior who has a right relationship with his son(s). Those of us who have great relationships with our sons, and I do, are blessed. Men who have, or had, a great relationship with their dads, and I did, are fortunate. Unfortunately, many do not experience that. It’s common for a son to be wounded by his father. More men than you realize carry what we will call the “father wound” in their heart all their lives.
Looking through scriptures, we find tragic father/son relationships. How tragic was David and Absalom? You remember Absalom’s story. His half brother Amnon raped Absalom’s sister and David’s daughter, but David did nothing about it. Eventually, Absalom attempted to overthrow and kill his own father David. It seems all David’s sons experienced the father wound. Both Jacob and Esau experienced the father wound by their father Isaac. The boys desired their father’s blessing and approval. Jacob wanted his father’s blessing so badly that he pretended to be his brother Esau. It was such a bad situation that Jacob was forced to leave home. Jacob did no better with his sons. Jacob showed favoritism for Joseph inflicting the father wound on his other sons. They hated Joseph and sold him into slavery. Father wounds are way too common. Jesus told a parable about a father and two sons (Lu 15) called the Prodigal. The younger son rebelled, went off to live a riotous life, eventually came to his senses, repented, and came home. However, the father’s acceptance of the younger brother gave the father wound to the older brother. The older brother felt he behaved correctly honoring his father while the younger brother rebelled. However, he felt their father rewarded rebellion. He said, “Dad, you never rewarded me. It’s not fair and it’s not right.”
When I look through the scriptures, I see father after father giving the father wound to a son. Noah got drunk and cursed his son’s son. Abraham forced Ishmael to leave his home. Jesse didn’t even include David with the other sons when Samuel came to anoint a king. How about Saul throwing a spear at his son Jonathan – the father wound.
A son needs his father in a time of need, confusion, and pain. We see this clearly with Jesus on the cross.
Matthew 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, WHY have you FORSAKEN ME?”
You can feel Christ’s pain. How many sons feel forsaken today? Jesus was tested in every way like we are, even in this one. “Dad, Dad, what did I do wrong? I thought fathers helped their sons? Why are you not helping me? I need you. I did my best. Why?”
Some of you are grown men and warriors for God. Nonetheless, inside a young boy still asks your dad, “WHY…?” “Dad, WHY did you work all the time? Dad, WHY didn’t you spend time with me?” “Dad, WHY did you get drunk all the time?” “Dad, WHY did you do that to mom?” “Dad, WHY did you leave us?” “Dad, was it my fault? Could I have done better?” “Dad, WHY did you wound me?”
Some of you never had a dad at home. Perhaps he left. Perhaps it wasn’t his fault he wasn’t there. Perhaps he died. Still, there is the father wound you carry today.
I want to attempt to help us all understand some of what a WOUNDED WARRIOR is experiencing because of the father wound. The wounded heart lives in a prison of performance. The wounded warrior never received dad’s approval or validation. A son craves and needs his father’s validation and approval above anyone’s. He craves and needs to hear, “You hit the ball great.” “You made great grades.” “You are a sharp, good looking dude.” “I’m so proud of you.”
He not only needs acknowledgment of accomplishments. He needs acknowledgement of his character. “That was great how you helped that person.” “You are a great person.” “You are becoming a man of integrity.”
The father wound happens when the young man does not receive this from his dad, or when all dad gives is constant criticism. The warrior will go through life in a prison of performance never feeling good enough and craving approval and validation. He will base his worth on performance, not on who he truly is. The “performance = worth” cannot help but bleed over to how he feels about his Heavenly Father. No matter what he does for God, it’s not enough. It’s not a love relationship with God. Until the wounded warrior learns it’s who he is, not what he does, determining his worth, he will go through life performing for approval and validation.
Another important point about the wounded warrior’s heart is the wounded warrior was hurt and hurting people always hurt people. Most of us have seen how a wounded animal will bite you even though you are trying to help. Wives, remember, you must help your man here. Don’t try to handle him or you will get bitten. He doesn’t intend to, but he will hurt you when he is hurting. He will hurt his children. He will hurt those he loves and those who love him.
A wounded warrior needs healing so he can stop hurting those he loves and those that love him.He needs healing so he will equate his worth to his character and not his performance. The Lord God wants to heal you.
Malachi 4:6 He will TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THEIR CHILDREN, AND THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN TO THEIR FATHERS…
As we have seen, it’s not uncommon for a problem to exist between fathers and children, but God can heal it. How? By turning hearts and turning requires effort. Both hearts need to turn, but one heart must turn first. This is where the warrior part comes in. This is the battle. Warrior, not can you, will you do it?
How do we turn and heal? I will give two scriptural principles. (1) THE WARRIOR MUST FORGIVE HIS FATHER THROUGH CHRIST.Some of you have forgiven already, so let me help those who haven’t and maybe I can help you with the second principle.
Colossians 3:13-14 Bear with each other and FORGIVE WHATEVER GRIEVANCES YOU may have against one another. FORGIVE AS THE LORD FORGAVE YOU…
FORGIVE WHATEVER GRIEVANCES is a little much, don’t you think? No. Not if you do it correctly: FORGIVE AS THE LORD FORGAVE YOU. That’s the only way a father wound will begin to heal. The Lord forgave your whatever grievances. He didn’t pick out a few to forgive and a few to not forgive. He expects you to do the same. Can you do it? Certainly, you can, but will you?
Forgiveness is misunderstood. We make it wimpy. I don’t forgive because I’m a nice guy. I forgive to come out on top. I forgive to win in life. You can never win over the father wound through anger or even tolerance. You will win through the POWER OF FORGIVENESS. YOU WILL NEVER EXPERIENCE THE ABSENCE OF PAIN UNTIL YOU FIRST EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF FORGIVENESS. Your forgiving is not primarily for dad. It’s primarily for you.
(2) THE WARRIOR MUST ACCEPT HIS FATHER THROUGH CHRIST.
Romans 15:7 ACCEPT one another, then, JUST AS CHRIST ACCEPTED YOU, in order to bring praise to God.
Not only do you forgive as the Lord forgave you. YOU ACCEPT JUST AS CHRIST ACCEPTED YOU.You don’t accept his actions. You accept him for who he is, NOT WHO YOU WANT HIM TO BE.
We idolized our dads. It’s a “My dad’s better than your dad!” thing. My son idolized me when he was young. What’s so bad about that? Nothing, until I learned the only way to go when held that high is down. I could never live up to the perfection he believed I was. No man can achieve all their son believes them to be. My son knows better now. Still, I hold a high place in his heart because he now accepts me, not idolizes me. Lance and I used to be together every day when he worked here. Now, he is twelve hours away. Neither of us are big “talk on the phone” people. So, we found this unique way to communicate. We correspond via e-mail. When it’s convenient, we sit down and write long e-mails to catch up. It works for us. Lance sent me an email last Tuesday and in the email he wrote this: “I just want to say that I think you are an amazing father and a great leader. For some reason I’ve been thinking about that lately. There just aren’t many people who can make the claim of such a good relationship with his kids throughout their lives and stay in one church as its Sr. Pastor for over 20 years. I’m always proud of you and respect you more than you’ll ever know. I just wanted to let you know what I’ve been thinking.” He knows I’m not the perfect person he idolized as a young boy. He accepts who I am and by so doing, we have an amazing relationship. Warrior, look past the pain and accept your dad just as Christ accepted you.
Let’s talk a minute about your son(s). (This applies to daughters as well, but I am emphasizing the son in our lesson.) Warrior, you can empower your son for life by doing three things.
(1) I BELIEVE IN YOU.
“Son, you’ve got what it takes.” “You have special talents.” “You are and will be something special.” “You can do anything you want to do in life.” My dad used to tell me, “Delbert Ray, you can do anything. Where did you learn to do that?” There was never any doubt that my dad thought I was special. My dad believed in me. I constantly told/tell my son Lance how intelligent he is and let him know I believe in him. Never take it for granted he knows this. VALIDATE!
(2) I AM PROUD OF YOU.
I remember a talk my dad and I had years ago. We were camping at a lake and he said, “Delbert Ray, your mother and I are so proud of you. When I was your age, I didn’t have what you have. I had not accomplished what you have accomplished. You have done well. We are so proud of you.” Tell your son how proud you are of him.
(3) I LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT AND ALWAYS WILL.
Never take it for granted that your son knows you love him. You must verbalize it. Whenever we would go see my dad, we never left without him telling us individually (me, my wife, and my children) he loved us. “Grandpa loves you.” “Daddy loves you.” I never had any doubt that my dad loved me.
We see Father God doing exactly this with Jesus.
Matthew 3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “THIS IS MY SON, WHOM I LOVE; WITH HIM I AM WELL PLEASED.”
The Lord God wanted everyone to know, “This is my boy.” “Hey! Everyone! That’s my boy. I believe in my boy! I love this kid. I am crazy about my boy. I am so pleased/proud of my son. That’s my boy. He’s a chip off the o block.” Warriors, that’s how you bless your sons. My dad died in 1999, but his belief in me, pride for me, and love to me echoes in my mind and heart today. I still believe I can do anything. I have accomplished a lot. And, I am worth loving. My worth is not determined by what I do, but by who I am and I am a good man. My dad said so.
There is a power in verbal affirmation like no other power. Men are not as verbal as women and men don’t affirm like women. A woman affirms like, “You are so cute. You are so sweet.” That’s not how a man affirms. We say, “You’re the dude!” “Let’s see who can belch the loudest!” “Show me your muscle. Wow!” “Let’s race.” “Let’s wrestle.” “Let’s play some football.” “Good spiral!”
Let me tell you what this will accomplish in your son. When my son did something he knew he shouldn’t do, one of the main things that bothered him was he disappointed me and his mother. That attitude can’t help but bleed into a child’s feeling of disappointing his Heavenly Father. It develops a godly, righteous man of integrity.
One day someone will say, or think, these words about your son. YOU ARE JUST LIKE YOUR FATHER. Those words will be his greatest compliment or most painful insult. He will respond with, “Don’t say that about me! I’m not like him!” Or, “Do you really think so? He was a hero to me. He was a man of God… not perfect, but thank you for seeing dad in me.”
WARRIOR men, you can help make your son great, not through what he does, but by showing him who he is and who God says he is. If you are wounded, it’s time to heal so you can better impart to your son/daughter. I want to expand this to women as well. Perhaps you were wounded as a daughter by your dad and you need healing. Those of you who would seek God for healing in any family dynamic, would you raise your hands and allow me to pray for you? (Pray)
Some of you have a distant dysfunctional relationship with your Heavenly Father. It might be because of the relationship you experienced with your earthly father. It might not, but you know you are not where you need to be with your Father God. I want you to know he loves you. His heart is turned to you. Will you turn your heart to him? He believes in you. He is proud of you. He will always love you, no matter what. Come home so he can throw you a party. Will you allow me to pray with you?
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