Breaking the Cycle of a Wounded Heart

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.  For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.Psalm 37: 7-9 It seems the news lately has been covered with scenes of extreme anger.  It appears there has been an unprecedented increase in anger and perversion directed to the children in the last few years.  School shootings, child abuse, teacher sexual abuse of students, pedophiles, child abductions, child murders, and the list goes on and on. 

I watched in total disbelief as fathers attacked coaches and referees at a youth soccer game.  Then later watched as a father attacked a player from an opposing youth football team.  What were they thinking?  What could drive, otherwise sane, fathers to act so outrageous? As we look into most of these incidents there is an often unsaid but very real connection to fatherhood.  Many if not all were wounded by their fathers at a young age or were wounded by the fact they were missing a strong father image at home.  That “wounding” has a profound effect on our heart and everything we do.  John Eldridge, in his many books calls it a “Heart of Stone”.  As I review these many acts, I see the heart of stone and its extreme effects on our children.   

Fathers, if we have any hope of stemming the ever growing tide of angry actions, we must accept the grace of the Cross of Christ and do as the Psalmist says;  We must ‘Refrain from anger and turn from wrath”.  This takes a conscious effort on our part.  It is hard work.  It is not for the weak.  If you are not up to the challenge, please refrain from having children.  There is enough damage being done without adding further to the problem.  If you already have children, you have no choice, you are already on the journey and the future of your children depends on your courage. Eldridge, in his book Ransomed Heart, offers one part of the answer.  It assumes you have accepted the salvation of Christ, and as a saved father: 

“You’ve been far more than forgiven. God has removed your heart of stone. You’ve been delivered of what held you back from what you were meant to be. You’ve been rescued from the part of you that sabotages even your best intentions. Your heart has been circumcised to God. Your heart has been set free.”     Unfortunately, many of us just don’t fully understand what should be obvious.  We are still given to the voices of the past that tell us we are not worthy; we will never amount to anything, and many others. We need to accept God’s full forgiveness and extend the same to our children and to others in society.  We are an example to our children and the cycle can be broken.  It all begins with taking the Heart of Christ and extending it to others.

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