Fatherlessness Affects Worship
How many Christian parents have been faced with the heart wrenching situation of children telling them about a child due out of wedlock, an abortion or perhaps that they are homosexual? One of the hardest things to do as a Christian is to “love the sinner while hating the sin.” To keep the balance is sometimes like walking a tight rope that is suspended many feet in the air. To be merciful, kind and loving to someone without compromising the truth is very difficult. Proverbs says to bind mercy and truth around your neck and write them on your heart. “And so find favour and high esteem in the sight of God and man.” (Provbs 3:3,4)
Jesus is our perfect example. To the woman caught in adultery He was both merciful and truthful. Jesus did not reject and condemn the lady because of her sin. However, He reinforced the truth in God’s Word when He told her to “sin no more”. Mercy loves the person and reaches out to them in acceptance and love. Truth however does not compromise righteousness. Jesus expressed both mercy and truth and He offered her a second chance. We need the Holy Spirit to help us in these difficult situations because our flesh will quickly oscillate between the two. If we see people only through our natural eyes of mercy we will not only accept them and care for them but very often compromise the truth and tell them that they AND their lifestyle are okay. On the other hand if our hearts are filled only with legalistic truth we will speak of the ways of the Lord but often condemn and even reject the person. It is too easy for us to project our hatred for a particular “sin” onto the sinner. Hence in Ephesians we are told to “speak the truth with love”. The apostle Paul reminds us that “We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers…” (Ephesians 6:12) How often do we end up fighting one another and even denying the existence of principalities and powers?! To have both mercy and truth operating we need to love the person/s and wrestle with the principalities and powers so that the persons have the veil removed from their minds so they can hear and receive the truth for themselves.
The reality of the wrestle between mercy and truth particularly affects us when we discuss emotive issues. This pull is there regardless of whether the issue is teenage pregnancy, abortion, drugs, homosexuality, pornography, rock music or any of the other controversial aspects of modern life. Yet it is when we are “wrestling with the principalities and powers” that we begin to understand the root cause of such lifestyles.
For the purposes of this article we are particularly examining the issue of music in the church, perhaps one of the most contentious issues. In our publications we have been very clear that rock music has a spirit attached to it that manifests itself in rebellion, immorality, sorcery, idolatry and pride. The Lord showed us that the “spirit of rock” entered the church, attached to the music, and that this spirit wars against and seeks to destroy true worship.
While that view remains unchanged, we feel it is important to highlight God’s MERCY towards those who love, promote or play this music and not to condemn the individuals involved. We need to see them as God sees them and to understand why this music is so attractive to them. In response to a letter printed in our last issue, an intercessor sent this following letter that highlights how God would have us view these people, and in particular the young people..
“I was in an evening service run by the youth and the music was so ROCKY I couldn't stand to praise, so instead I just prayed in tongues. Whilst I was praying the Lord spoke to my heart...which was saying to God this music is so rebellious Lord, how can you accept it as praise.....He said.. yes, this music is so rebellious but its not the music but the hearts of this generation, their music filters through their hearts and their hearts are in rebellion....this generation is in the darkest of times ever and he showed me their rebellion stems from rejection....He began to make my heart aware of the rejection this generation has endured through abuse of one sort or another, from the break up of families and the degeneration of the role of mother, The Lord broke my heart for these kids and I wept and wept for them....He said to me.... As I sanctify their hearts and heal them from deep wounds of rejection their music will change and come through a purer vessel.....Then the Lord challenged me. “Will you pray for this broken generation, will you intercede for these kids? Don’t stand in judgement and reject them any further ...but intercede in love so they may be healed and purified and made whole.” I have been changed since this incident and have joined our intercessory prayer team during the week and also a Friday night prayer team that prays for our nation, city, and church.....including our youth.”
Personally the Lord has challenged me in a similar way in the past couple of years. In particular, this was brought home to me last year when back in the class room. On a couple of occasions certain rebellious kids (and every class has one) began to manifest in class (and it had nothing really to do with rock music). The Lord showed me that I had rejected them and even despised them. This was an awful realization. On repenting I cried out to God for His love so that I could love them as He loves and to see them as He sees them. He then began to show me rejection, fatherlessness and many similar things over their lives. In the last couple of years as I have asked the Lord what has birthed rock music (of all varieties) I felt He said its “parents” were fatherlessness and unbelief. (Don’t get too worried about which gender fits which – that isn’t the issue). The Lord has had me weep in intercession for the fatherless generation that are all around us.
Rock music was birthed as the dust from WW2 began to settle. All around the globe, the two world wars had left millions of children fatherless. Many millions of fathers were killed. Many more came home and were so wounded in body or spirit (many in both) that they were unable to be the fathers they would otherwise have been. This was not the choice of those brave soldiers – they too needed the healing balm of the Lord. Consequently, the “baby boomers” were a generation robbed of fatherhood. Children do not understand and very often neither do the adults. Consequently fatherlessness leaves a huge wound of rejection. The discipline and love of a father provides a child with security. A father is also an important role model and provides identity to his children. When these are removed we end up with children that lack discipline and are filled with insecurity and a lack of identity. This is the soil in which resentment, rebellion and lawlessness are born and consequently such people find it impossible to relate to Father God who cares, loves and nurtures them.
When the Fatherhood of God is removed from the psyche, then the protection that He provides is removed. The lack of protection makes people vulnerable to the lies of the devil and thus unbelief is unavoidable. No wonder Satan had a field day in the 60’s with lies like “God is dead”. And no wonder opiate and sex became false comforters to a generation seeking a way of escaping the pain.. If God is dead, there is no standard of righteousness, laws and standards lack meaning and there is no hope.
The 60’s saw young people expressing their sense of alienation or rejection from society. With the sexual revolution came the increase in family break-ups and so the iniquity of rejection and fatherlessness was perpetuated. Added to this we then experienced the Vietnam War which added yet another layer to the rejection and fatherlessness. The Vietnam veterans were not only scarred from war but rejected by society on their return home. Those who have managed to keep their marriages in tact, are still fighting their own battles of rejection. Without the healing of Almighty God they accelerate the cycle of rejection and fatherlessness to their children. (And that is apart from all the physical injuries and deformities passed on.) Statistics bear this out. The children of Vietnam Veterans have a significantly higher than normal incidence of suicide, relationship breakdown and ill health. The youth of today are the children of the baby boomers, some of whom are survivors of Vietnam. Even if a father is physically in the home, he can be emotionally and spiritually “absent”. Thus the iniquity of rejection and consequently fatherlessness has passed to and increased in the next generation.
Music always reflects the heart. Its is like a barometer of the soul. Rock music was not only a new style in the 50’s & 60’s but many musicians asserted that it was the “perfect vehicle” for them to express their anger, frustration, hurt and resentment of society. In other words, the musical style referred to as “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” was a true reflection of their rejection, fatherlessness, hopelessness and rebellion. Not only was some of the music inspired by a drug induced state, to many the music itself became a drug or a false comforter. Those who have experienced rejection and fatherlessness (in its varying degrees of intensity) identify with the music – it is their story. This is one reason why so many young people are attracted to it. Yes, they are culturally conditioned to it, but it also expresses for them what is deep within their souls. In an uncertain and confusing world, this music has become a false comforter and a false saviour. Even many Christian young people who have come from godly homes can still be affected by the subconscious battle with rejection and fatherlessness that not only affects individuals, but even our whole society. Australia as a nation has battled with the rejection and “fatherlessness” of mother England.
Many people believe that because young people identify with this music, we therefore need it in church. Yet it is for these very same reasons that I believe rock music is not appropriate for worshipping the Living God. Our Heavenly Father delivers us from rejection, fatherlessness, abuse and rebellion and by His grace, transforms us into His own glorious image. Rebellion and abuse are the very opposite of the love, comfort and obedience found in the kingdom of God. Hence in our worship that we offer to the Lord, our music should reflect His character and nature. And yet this is where the “dilemma” comes in this whole discussion. The process of healing and deliverance takes time. While this process takes place we do not want to alienate these very same young people by removing everything that they identify with. Yet as they grow in God we must somehow be able to encourage them to address these issues. At the same time the Lord is calling His church to worship Him in the very holy of Holies and music that is birthed in rebellion defies that holiness.
Many maintain that the church needs to use music that the youth can identify with so that they will come to church and feel comfortable. This appears to be a very plausible argument. However, what is drawing them? Is it the spirit of rejection, fatherlessness or rebellion? Or is it the Holy Spirit? If they are drawn by a spirit or rejection or rebellion then we have an uphill battle to disciple them in the ways of the Lord. The crucified life is not a favourite topic amongst those needing deliverance from rebellion. The spirit of God not only draws, but prepares and teaches of HIS WAYS. He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgement. In His mercy He teaches and leads into ALL truth!!
Please understand I am NOT advocating dowdy music. The music of the Spirit of God is filled with life. However, I am suggesting that when it comes to worship, our priority should be in providing a place where OUR HOLY GOD feels welcome and at home. The Psalmist says to worship the Lord in the BEAUTY of HOLINESS. (Psa 29:2) Holiness is beautiful. If our worship is reverent and holy, if we worship the Lord according to the Biblical pattern so that the Lord Himself FILLS the house with His glory, then we are also providing a place where the hurt and rejected feel welcome. God’s presence is a place of healing and restoration. Is our priority to draw man or God? Do we seek to provide churches that are user friendly or God friendly? If we prioritize with man we will always struggle because the flesh profits nothing. No amount of programs and entertainment will heal the broken hearted – only the spirit of the living God can do that. If we prioritize with God, He who is full of mercy and kindness will also provide the comfort, healing and reconciliation that our destitute generations need.
Personally I am convinced that one key is that we have not distinguished between worship and evangelism. (See Praise Alert August 2000 Volume 3 Issue 2)
We also need to understand that fatherlessness is in itself a stumbling block to worship. When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well about worship, He introduces us to the Father. Jesus said the “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” (John 4:23,24) Without healing from rejection and fatherlessness it is very difficult to relate to God as a Father. If a person cannot relate to God as Father then offering intimate worship to the Heavenly Father is at best arduous if not impossible. No wonder many opt to be entertained instead! It is definitely an area for much intercession and the wisdom of God. In the natural it is not only difficult but impossible to operate in both mercy AND truth. We need the Spirit of God to help us. We need the wisdom and counsel of the Lord. Due to the controversial and emotional nature of this dilemma, I have always called for God’s people to PRAY in regards to this issue. It is a spiritual battle. As the Lord spoke to our reader let it be a word to us all, “Will you pray for this broken generation, will you intercede for these kids? Don’t stand in judgement and reject them any further...but intercede in love so they may be healed and purified and made whole.”
PRAYER IS SUCH A KEY.
We not only need to pray for the young people but also for the pastors and spiritual leaders in this very difficult balancing of mercy and truth. Most Pastors have a deep and godly compassion for the huge pressures upon teenagers. However the knowledge and understanding that they have of the deep underlying principalities behind this stress can vary greatly. We need to pray for a greater awareness and understanding so that the issues of fatherlessness, rejection and abuse can be addressed and healing brought, not only to the young people but also their parents! Derek Prince makes the comment that very often delinquent children have delinquent parents. Rejection and fatherlessness are generally passed down the generations. Very often in the church we sweep such uncomfortable subjects under the proverbial carpet instead of dealing with them. Denying their existence will not cause them to go away. A holocaust survivor who spoke on a TV documentary, said that, “the pain does not diminish as you get older it actually gets worse.” Rejection and fatherlessness do not just “go away” because we ignore it or even because we are born again. Deliverance and healing are huge needs in the body of Christ. We also need to pray for the release of godly fathers in the house of God. Men who can love, care, discipline and provide security and comfort to our youth. Men who can provide positive role models thus giving our youth a righteous picture of fatherhood. And with this we need to pray for the release of the understanding of the fatherhood of God. Pray that all those affected by fatherlessness will understand the wonderful and loving character and nature of Father God.
Not only do pastors have the difficulty of balancing mercy and truth but there is also a very personal factor that often blurs this issue and needs to be undergirded by prayer. It is a cold and sad fact of life that most church denominations today evaluate pastoral “success” by statistics. I recently read a church report where the highlights of the year were described as the number of people attending the church and the size of the offerings. It is sad that these statistics are the highlights! How much better to read that the glory cloud fell and none could stand to minister! Or that a spirit of repentance fell and the whole congregation wept before the Lord and then went and made restitution to one another! Praise the Lord that God does not evaluate our success by statistics! God is concerned as to whether our hearts are HOT, COLD OR LUKEWARM! (Revelation 3:15,16) In Matthew 7 Jesus warns that not all who have prophesied or performed wonders will enter the kingdom, but only those who have done the WILL of the FATHER. Jesus did the will of the Father by dying at the cross. The natural man considers that a failure! The Lord measures success with a very different measuring stick to mankind. More than ever before, spiritual leaders are under huge pressure from their denominations and their peers to appear successful. This pressure mixed with a godly burden for the youth makes it difficult for them to ignore the fact that rock music will draw a crowd, especially of youth. So it is a very brave and very discerning pastor who will take exception to any wild music being played in church. But it also takes a very wise leader who is filled with mercy and truth to walk the tight rope discussed in this article.
I appeal to intercessors to not only pray for the youth but also for the spiritual leaders. They need the wisdom and knowledge of God. “The FEAR OF THE LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) Thus we urgently need to pray for the fear of the Lord to be released among the spiritual leaders of all churches. Without the fear of the Lord they will not have the wisdom of God that they need. Mercy without truth ends with compromise and truth without mercy results in rejection. God wants us to have both mercy and truth. Pray for the COURAGE to stand against the pressures to conform to man’s standards.
A graphic example of the dire consequences of such pressure being exerted upon a spiritual leader is what happened to Aaron in Exodus 32. Moses was on the mountain with the Lord and Israel was growing impatient. These millions of Israelites asked Aaron to make them a god that they could see. Imagine the pressure upon Aaron to provide action – to show that he was doing something. It’s a bit like our modern day statistics! The Israelites were possibly getting ready to stone Aaron if he did not comply. It takes a lot of the fear of the Lord to stand in the face of redundancy and ridicule to say no to building the idol that satisfies the immediate need for success. This is not to excuse Aaron in any way, for he was accountable for his actions. He would have needed a good dose of the fear of the Lord to have said NO to millions of angry Israelites! We need to understand what sort of pressure was exerted on Aaron that caused him to do such an abominable thing as build the golden calf. Let’s not criticize the spiritual leaders but let us pray for them with a renewed urgency and vigor and with understanding.
BAROMETER OF HEART
If music is a barometer of the heart, and some music in the church reflects rejection and fatherlessness, then we need to pray for the brokenhearted to be healed. Jesus endured our rejection that we might have His acceptance! Jesus was not just rejected by society or His earthly family, but His Father in heaven rejected Him in His crucial hour. Jesus cried, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken Me?” (Matt 27:45-47) It wasn’t crucifixion that killed Jesus, it was a broken heart. Jesus endured the worst possible rejection so that we can enter into the blessing of the Fatherhood of God. He has made us accepted in the beloved. (Eph 1:5,6) Let us pray that those affected by rejection and fatherlessness will have a revelation of the Heavenly Father’s acceptance and love. Let us also pray that they can appropriate the provision Jesus has made for their healing. In the meantime it doesn’t mean that we have to like or even compromise with the music born out of rejection and rebellion, we just have to press more into God for hearts to be mended.