Introducing the Orphan Heart
Fatherlessness has become an epidemic in our nation. In February 2014, news commentator Bill O’Reilly shared the following statistics on his television broadcast, The O’Reilly Factor:
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
- 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.
- Boys without both parents present are twice as likely to become gang members as boys with both parents present.
- 56% of all jail inmates grew up in a single-parent household or with a guardian.
These few statistics are but the tip of the iceberg. The commentator further stated that the root of poverty, crime, and despair in America is the collapse of the traditional family.
Millions of children are born into chaotic homes where their parents are irresponsible or absent. We can only guess how many runaways and those targeted for sex trafficking come from broken and/or fatherless homes.
This is not too surprising since the major role of the father in the family is to establish the identity of the son and daughter. The absence of the father in the family establishes the condition for a child to become orphan-hearted.
Sadly, we, the church, are not exempt from the ills of our society and its changing culture. Neither are we immune to the fallout from fatherlessness in our own homes. We must become aware of the orphan-heart syndrome and engage wisely to shift it before it becomes entrenched in our own personality and culture.
We must recognize how it insidiously finds its way into our souls and operates destructively in our daily lives. We must intervene lest we become a casualty of war to the orphan spirit.
In several of the articles that follow, we will introduce you fully to The Orphan Heart. We will reveal how it operates and how we can make healthy changes in our mind and soul to become happy, whole, and sound again. Throughout the text we will speak about sons. Please know that this term expresses both male and female, and is not gender specific.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).
Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome was meant to educate them in the basic doctrines of salvation and the general principles of the Christian life. His desire was that the followers of Jesus would put the shared truths into daily practice. He wanted the truth of fatherhood to become the foundational standard for their mind-set and conduct in life. He uses the terms bondage and adoption to explain this.
Bondage in original language is douleia, a term that is defined as servitude, dependence, or the state of being a slave. It is the state of a person in which he or she is prevented from freely possessing and enjoying a full and wholesome life. It is derived from a root word that means, one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will altogether consumed in the will of another. This is the picture of one who operates in life with an orphan heart.
In Scripture, to be adopted literally means to be placed into the position of a son. Jesus was always referred to as Huios in the Bible. Whenever we repent as sinners and become washed in the blood of the Lamb, we are immediately translated into the kingdom of Huios (Colossians 1:13) and adopted, or placed into the position of a son, in the family of God and become, “citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).
While all of this dynamic transpires in the Spirit at the point of salvation, it does not mean that we immediately acquire the character and nature of the Father as a son. We are born again, placed as sons in the kingdom of the Son, and even given full covenant rights as citizens of the kingdom.
However, our character and nature must be developed into that of a son by growing and maturing in the Spirit. This is why so many believers live shipwrecked lives. They are given the position of a son through Christ, yet continue to conduct their manner of life as an orphan. They live life under the influence and guidance of the orphan heart.