The Father Wound

Malachi 4:5-6 – “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Matthew 27:46 – And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

John 14:18 – “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

The final words of the Old Testament are about John the Baptizer: “His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).

We tend to think of people in a variety of categories: gender, race, income level, education level, nationality, political party, age, marital status, and so on. God tends to think of people in two categories: those who are cursed and those who are blessed.

What causes the most cursing is fathers. God’s final word was that families and nations are cursed for generations when fathers do not have a heart for their children, which in turn causes children not to have a heart for their fathers. The reason so many families are crumbling, along with churches and nations built on the family unit, is because a divided house falls, just as Jesus predicted.

Since we have three kinds of fathers, people can have three kinds of father wounds. A father wound is simply an unhealed hurt from a physical father, spiritual father, or father figure. These categories are not mutually exclusive, and someone can have multiple father wounds from multiple kinds of fathers.

Since no father is perfect, we are bound to have some degree of hurt and disappointment in one or more of these areas. For a moment, think of the most influential man or men in your life, whether he loomed large in his presence or absence, and ask yourself what was/is he like?

Coming to terms with the fact that fathers influence our lives no matter what kind of father they are is crucial in understanding how we communicate with our heavenly Father and relate to those around us. When we don’t deal with the flaws in our relationships with our earthly fathers, we spend our whole lives trying to avoid making the same mistakes in our relationships. But in the process, we become so fixated on the issues that we repeat them instead of finding healing from them in prayer.

The father wound explains various misunderstandings of God the Father as each is either a projection or rejection of a man on earth onto the Father in heaven. This thinking is completely backward. We are not to begin our understanding of God the Father by looking at men on earth and assuming He is like them. Instead, we are to look to God the Father and judge other men on earth by the character and conduct of our Father in heaven.

To heal the father wound, we need to forgive the father on earth who hurt us and start spending time with our Father in heaven who can heal us. A father wound allows a failed earthly father to stand between you and your heavenly Father. Although He is there for you, you cannot see Him because your bitterness blocks your view. In this way, a wound is the spiritual equivalent of an eclipse where an earthly father blocks the light that shines on you from your heavenly Father. Forgiveness is how you release that man, remove that eclipse, and receive a new relationship with God as Father.

On the cross, one of Jesus’ final seven words was, “why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). At that moment, Jesus took your place. At that moment, Jesus took on Himself all your sin, and the Son of God was forsaken—or orphaned as Jesus used the words interchangeably—so that the Father could adopt you into the Forever Family. Jesus Christ was orphaned so that you could be adopted by a Father who will never abandon you or orphan you. The most secure relationship in all eternity is between God the Father and you, His child.


  1. What is your relationship with your physical father, spiritual fathers, and father figures like? How have you projected these relationships onto your Heavenly Father?
  2. Has God revealed any father wounds in your life? If so, list them and begin to process them with the Father.

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