70 Things – Father Wound
NOTE: Guys, doing three of the “70 Things Every Man Needs to Know” per week isn’t working for me. I’m going to try focusing on one per week. Let me know if you have any other ideas. Excerpted from Pastoring Men (Moody Publishers).
22. Father Wound
My dad never told me he was proud of me. I sensed he was, but he never said it. I worked for his approval. When I was 47, I wrote on his birthday card, “Dad, I hope you’re proud of me.” Without looking up from the card, he said, “Well, you know I am.” That wasit. That’s all I ever got–before or after. But it was amazing. It was his approval–his blessing, and it has made all the difference in my life.
A lot of a man’s identity comes from his father’s blessing--or lack thereof. It is his seal of approval. A high percentage of your men will feel as though they have never had their father’s blessing. Few topics can bring men to tears more quickly. As one friend in his fifties told me, “No matter what I did, I could never please my father.”
In the Bible, to bless means “to endue with power for success, prosperity, fertility, longevity, etc.” Jacob cheated his older brother Esau out of his father’s blessing. Their father, Isaac, according to the custom of that time had to tell Esau that he had already given Esau’s blessing to Jacob.
The Bible says, “When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, ‘Bless me–me too, my father!'” (Genesis 27:34). Whether you speak to men in their roles as dads or as sons, a father’s blessing or approval is crucial to his well-being. The spoken words are important.
You can’t just tell men to “get over it.” Instead, help them grieve the loss. Show them how God, their adoptive Father, does approve and bless them. In some cases, you may be able to act as a “surrogate” father and give your men “a” blessing, even though it’s not “the” blessing. I have done this with younger men who looked to me as a father figure (e.g., reread topic 6, “The Blessing”; see also The Young Man in the Mirror, “A Man’s Identity,” pp. 27-29).
On the other hand, tell your men “don’t feel you’re a victim,” but be gentle.
Not to receive a father’s blessing by no means has to “define” a man–especially a follower of Jesus.
Yours for changed lives,
Patrick Morley, PhD
“The Journey to Biblical Manhood” -Coming Soon!
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