Daddy Issues

Mat 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Psa 123:1 Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.

David decided to get his eyes off of his circumstances and look to Him that dwelt in the heavens. 

Psa 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

Psa 121:2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

Isa 40:25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

Isa 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things,that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

One of the biggest problems people have is comparing Creation to The Creator to form an image of what He is like. It is Idolatry. 

I think one of the next biggest problems is keeping your eyes too much on Creation and not enough on The Creator. 

The more we get our eyes on The LORD Jesus Christ, the less impacted we will be by things that happen here on the surface level.

When my son Samuel died, my pastor tried to get me to understand this. That if we would turn our attention toward Him, turn our eyes toward Him, the better vision we will have of the things here on earth. That doesn’t mean we won’t be affected by them. But that the effect won’t be a negative one, but rather positive. It will be profitable. 

The knowledge of God has consequences. It affects us. It changes us. So the more we can turn our attention and our focus toward Him, the less we will be adversely affected by the goings on around us. The less likely we will be to be offended and damaged by people around us.

However, we tend to do the opposite of what we need to do in terms of thinking about God. We need to seek Him and know and understand Him more, so that we can then apply what we know about Him to our circumstances in life. 

What we actually do many times instead, is apply what we know about life to Him. We superimpose worldly things over Him and then say He’s like that. We superimpose many times the image of our earthly father is over Him and say he’s like that. We need to stop that and reverse it.

Instead of looking at Him in the light of our circumstances, we need to look at our circumstances in the light of Who He is! 

The knowledge of God should be the context in which everything else in our life occurs. It should be the setting in which we view the rest of our lives. 

All of the trauma, the tragedies, the trials, the troubles, the trying, the travails, the tribulations, and all of the other bad things that begin with “TR”, (the train wrecks, the trouncings) when all of those things happen inside of the setting or context of your personal, intimate knowledge of God, that will change the way we look at them. They are merely a part of something much bigger and more consequential in our lives; they are not the biggest and most consequential things themselves.

For most people a death in the immediate family becomes the most significant and consequential thing in their lives. For the child of God who really knows and understands Him, those things happen inside of a more significant thing. The death in the family is a lesser consequential thing. We need to broaden our scope.

If you keep your eyes on the horizontal plane you’re going to spend your whole life battling hurt, anger and disappointment. And if you don’t deal with it, you’ll end up bitter. And you may do your dead level best to conceal that bitterness, but those around you are going to see it. 

It’s sort of like eating garlic. It doesn’t matter what you do to conceal it, people are going to know.  

By the way, if you do get victory over bitterness, stay on top of it, because you can regress.  If you succeed in the discipline of shifting your focus from man to your Heavenly Father and you get the victory, don’t let your eyes slip back down. You can lose what you’ve gained. Keep your eyes on Him.  

Lift up your eyes, and keep them up.

At some point in the process of maturing spiritually, we will begin to lift our eyes off of our earthly fathers and up to our heavenly Father. If we fail to do this we will always struggle. 

Trauma affects different people different ways. Seprina Flowers was a lady who was traumatized all throughout her childhood, and yet there is not even a hint not a trace of hurt, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, victimhood, or any adverse remnant whatsoever. It is pure victory.  No hint of garlic. 

Yet there are others who respond differently to their circumstances. And the fact of the matter is; the response is our choice. You have to choose what to do with your daddy issues. If you keep your eyes on your earthly father your daddy issues are always going to weigh you down. But when you begin to lift up your eyes and when THE heavenly Father becomes YOUR heavenly Father, as the Lord so often cited, then your perspective begins to change and then your life begins to change. The knowledge of God affects our thinking which changes us. Thinking of the world around us will never change us in a positive way.

If a preacher doesn’t have his own mess sorted out it will find its way out in his ministry. It may actually define his ministry. And how can it not? The most significant thing in his life is not his relationship with God, it’s the hurt he endured. It’s the offense. That’s his message, that’s his mission. If he has an ax to grind, he will grind it from the platform.  Everyone will know he’s been eating garlic. 

When people don’t have a proper image of God, they’ll have an improper image of themselves as well as the world around them. And they won’t even realize it. They won’t even realize how transparent they are and how easy it is to see through there facade or veneer or message.

That is what made Sister Flower’s testimony at Ladies Landmark 2023 so remarkable. There was no trace a residual hurt. None whatsoever. She had indeed been hurt, but that hurt had been dealt with because she was able to minimize that hurt and put it inside of the context of a real relationship with her Heavenly Father.

Why did the Lord Jesus repeatedly refer to “your heavenly father“? He could’ve just as easily said “God” or even “me“. After all He is the Father. And no He was absolutely not speaking of another person. But He was trying to get them to lift their eyes. 

Mat 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

If you are anxious with your finances and similar earthly cares, you’ve got “daddy issues”. He doesn’t want you to be anxious about those things and if you are, it’s because He’s not a big enough part of your thinking. You’re not looking at Him. 

You’re staring at your problems down here on the horizontal level and you need to lift up your eyes.  Your help won’t come from down here. Your solution won’t be found down here. Lift up your eyes.  He knows what you have need of and didn’t He say He’d handle it if you’d let Him?  Don’t be overwhelmed by what’s happening on the horizontal plane. Get vertical. Lift up your eyes!  

Look at the things The LORD Jesus spoke about.  Look at the themes on the Sermon on the Mount. He was trying to get them to think higher. Trying to get them to look higher. You’re never going to get to where you need to go if you don’t start thinking higher and looking higher. 

Your relationship with your earthly father needs to be set and viewed inside of the context of your relationship with your heavenly Father and then and only then will you have it in proper perspective. And then it doesn’t so much matter what that relationship was like. It doesn’t matter what the abuse was that you suffered. It doesn’t matter how bad it is or was, because your heavenly Father was bigger than that trauma.

That was what I saw from Sister Flowers.  She had a God who was bigger than her trauma. She had a Heavenly Father who overshadowed her earthly father and as a result she was able to genuinely and truly love and pray for her earthly father. That doesn’t happen outside of the context of a relationship with your Heavenly Father.

Know somebody with “daddy issues”?  Some kind of hang up from their earthly father?  Their real “daddy issue” is that they’re hung up on the wrong daddy.  

He’s our Father and  we are His children. Jesus made that point repeatedly in the Sermon on the Mount by using the phrases “Heavenly Father”, and “your Father which is in Heaven”. He is our Father, our Lord, our God, our Creator, our Savior, and our Master, and even more. Each of these implies different things and I want to consider all of them. 

Mat 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

The “Our” in the Lord’s prayer should train us that when we do think on the horizontal level to think bigger than just ourselves. He was always trying to get us to think bigger than just ourselves. When self fills one’s field of vision, he is blinded to much of the world around him.

“Our Father, which art in Heaven…”

There is a world of detail in this single phrase. You can and should spend some time with this phrase and let it speak to you. Let it impact you. Let it minister to you. God is infinite, His Word is infinite, and this phrase is infinite. There is literally (!) an infinity in that phrase. 

Jesus didn’t just say “God”, which would have been fine and proper. He chose these words very carefully to direct our thinking. 

He’s not just God; He’s our Father. Among the many things this means, there is a sense of ownership, and the responsibility and authority of a father. A father is responsible to care for the every need of His children. He doesn’t leave them to fend for themselves. 

He is absolutely aware of our circumstances and needs, and He has made Himself responsible for them.  If we will let Him. 

“Hallowed be thy name”. Again, that’s getting us to look bigger than our circumstances, because he’s saying again here, just like Isaiah 40, “there is nothing like me”. “I am set apart, I am above, I am not like anything you know so don’t look around to Creation to try and figure out anything about me. Get your eyes off of Creation”. How many times in ways does he tell us that? Get your eyes off of the Creation.

“They will be done in heaven so in earth”. Again where does that point us too? Earth? No, Heaven. 

 “Give us this day”, points to the giver. There was a time when Manna came down from heaven. Our sustenance still comes down from heaven. If we’re looking around for it on earth we’re going to miss what God is trying to provide us with. Lift up your eyes.

Mat 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Luk 11:4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. 

Water baptism empowers us to forgive, but if we withhold that forgiveness, we nullify the effect of baptism. That should cast a slightly different light on the statement “for if you will not forgive men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive you yours“. 

Mat 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Mat 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

And again, where is He pointing? Upward. To Your Heavenly Father. Lift up your eyes. When you think about forgiveness, think about Him as well. Factor Him into the matter. When you look at Him and when He fills your vision, cause it’s easier to forgive them and their trespasses against you.

There is a proper way to turn to The LORD and to take your hurts and offenses to Him, as well as an improper way. When we come to Him and say “Lord heal my hurt” over and over and over and the hurt becomes the sole subject of the dialogue between me and God, the focus is entirely on myself.

There comes a point to where I’ve got to take my eyes off of the hurt, to discipline myself to subordinate that offense to the pursuit of knowing and understanding Him. I’ve got to deal with my issues in a way that honors The LORD and lets Him have His way in my life. 

I’ve got to be willing to set aside that hurt or offense which is so important to me, and just look at Him. When we change our approach to one where our focus is exclusively on Him and nothing else matters so much, we will begin to see things differently. But as long as our eyes are primarily on our hurts and God is in the periphery of that, nothing will really change.

It may be good to recognize that the devil works in concert with the broken nature of man to produce hurt and trauma in individual people’s lives. But remember who the devil serves.

Whether the trauma came from man or Satan or a combination of the two is immaterial. The question becomes what will you do with your hurt? Whether it was inspired by Satan or originated in the heart of man makes no difference; what makes the difference is Calvary.

Calvary was where all of the wrath, all of the viciousness, all of the ugliness and all of the malice that creation can possibly generate was poured out upon its Creator.

He was able to endure and absorb and even embrace all of what was done to Him; and all of it unjustly, and still say “Father forgive them”. Can you look up to your Heavenly Father and do the same?  You can if your eyes are on Him.  

Can you embrace your earthly father like Sister Flowers did? Can you pray for him out of a sincere heart and with boundless love? Can you embrace him physically and emotionally as a person that God appointed to your life to accomplish His purpose in you?

Or do you resent him and push him away? Do you despise him? Are those old feelings rekindled when you see or think of him? And do you avoid him so as to avoid going there? 

Or maybe you even revel in the hurt? Where your treasure is there will your heart be also and that includes hurts and offenses. We can come to love them when we invest enough time and emotional energy into them.

No matter how hard you try and conceal hurt, no matter how or aware you are of it and how you overtly attempt to conceal it, it will seep out in ways you are unaware of people. Others will detect what you don’t. You might try and hide it, but others will still detect it. You cannot keep it concealed

That’s why it’s so important that anybody that aspires to pulpit ministry get their mess sorted out first. If any of that junk remains it will find its way out in the pulpit and it will have an impact on the hearers. If they hear or detect any residual hurt and worse, bitterness they will excuse their own brokenness and bitterness. We need to give them hope that conquers it and that’s what Sister Flowers did.

She got her daddy issues sorted out.

I can’t recommend that anybody who’s been traumatized as a child to give a testimony like she did unless they had their daddy issues sorted out. She didn’t denigrate her father down at all, for to do that would be also to denigrate her Heavenly Father, who allowed that circumstance to prevail in her life. She actually spoke well of him.  And she gave him the benefit of the doubt even beyond the abuse.  She didn’t speak ill of him. She was kind to him. She was honest, but kind to his reputation. And you could tell that her intent was not to savage her father’s reputation in any way whatsoever. She really was kind to him.  Her testimony, though blunt, did not dishonor her earthly father. 

Because at some point, she got her eyes off of her earthly father and fastened them on her heavenly Father. That way, when she looked back at her earthly father she saw him from a different perspective. The right perspective.

Sister Flowers could have been speaking from the third person perspective and you would’ve never known that it was her because there was no detectable trace of residual hurt, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, or victimhood. She did not speak as a victim but rather as a victor.

Because her eyes are fixed on her Heavenly Father, and everything else in her life in viewed in the Glorious Light of His Revelation.

Patrick D, McAtee, Sr

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