We Are Orphans No More
When you hear the name ‘father’ or ‘papa’ or even ‘dad’ what kind of emotion does that stir inside you? Many men in the world today do not have the feelings one would expect. Rather than having happiness and fulfillment and attitudes of success men see that term as an empty label. There are many of us that feel like we were orphans and therefore the idea of a father inflames feelings of hurt.
These orphans may have not been such in the true sense of the word, meaning that they had someone who called themselves ‘dad’ but were not there emotionally. Many men grow up with no role model or father figure to call on. These men develop resentment and anger that many are unaware of towards authority figures as they had none to look up to.
There are men, such as myself that also are true orphans where they were given up either at birth or any time during their childhood where they were deserted by the people who were supposed to be there for them. This abandonment can cause mixed feelings of hurt, confusion and anger that can sometimes last a lifetime.
When we are at church or when we read scripture or listen to Christian music we are confronted with these feelings regularly. How can someone who is supposed to be our ‘papa’ or father be our Lord and Savior when all fathers do is leave? We must break the chains of our pain and accept the leadership of our heavenly father and then in turn model ourselves after him.
Many times these men work their entire lives seeking the approval of others to replace the approval they never received. We struggle to get ahead in our careers as we forgo our home life and end up heroes at work and zeroes at home. We begin to neglect our wives, family and friends in lieu of the next pay raise where someone might appreciate us.
This behavior begins the vicious cycle that we swore growing up that we wanted to break away from. Rather than being the men that either our fathers was not or to be one that never was we end up in the same despondent cycle we were running away from.
All the while we have this promise if we only would accept it from our loving father where we have been adopted even before we were born. If we turn to our rule book for our lives we are told repeatedly that we are loved and that our father cares for us and adopts all orphans. From there we can read “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” – John 3:2. This is only one verse of many where we are assured that we are the children of God and have been so adopted.
If as men we could accept that even without the leaders within our own families there are still plenty of male role models that can stand in. If we start with our faith in our heavenly father and use his words to set the example for our own lives, we in turn can bless others by serving them. Rather than dwelling on our past and the pain that it may have caused if we focus on our future and the future of those in our lives we can in turn become the men we may have wished our earthly fathers were.
It is time that we as men release the shackles or our past and start living for our promised future. Forgive our fathers for they know not what they do and change our path so not to follow. Become the man you wish you had before you, be a mentor to those that have none.
We can be fathers and leaders in Christ whether we have our own children or not. It is our responsibility to take care of the orphaned and widowed, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and tend to the poor.
Rather than becoming attached to the labels we grew up with “Labels you have internalized and apply to yourself every day. Labels like Afraid. Or Addict. Orphan. Damaged Goods. Failure. Maybe even Religious. These labels might be sewn into your life with such tight little stitches that they feel like a part of you. They feel like they define you. But that’s a lie.” – Derwin Gray If we allow the healing power of God our Father and his son Jesus Christ into our lives we can become the men, the fathers, the husbands any father would be proud of.
Now it’s your turn – As a man how do you fight the pain of the past and move into an incredible future? Any suggestions to share with other men as to how you have or plan to move past the labels in your life?
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.