How Luke Skywalker Embodies Our Need to Fight Against Our Father’s Wrong Choices
In response to the question of who was the most popular hero in China, a young Chinese student replied, “Luke Skywalker”!
When asked why, he said, “Because Luke Skywalker is able to fight against his bad father.”
Wow! A profound and revealing statement. Today’s youth, indeed many of us, regardless of our age, understand the longing to fight back against the withering scrutiny of a dad whose terse statements, dismissive glances, abuse, or outright abandonment leave us feeling diminished and unloved.
Churning inside of us is a rage at our dad’s behavior. But there is also the unsettling feeling our father’s assessment of us may be correct. What if we are ignorant, stupid, and destined for failure? What if we have no intrinsic worth and his looking through us and never seeing us is justified? What if we could be whatever it is he wanted?
But that too is problematic. Some of our fathers never wanted us and feel (or felt) strong antipathy at the thought of our existence. There are many scenarios we could consider, but as we look at the subject of fathers, I think we can agree few of us have a father like Darth Vader.
Which makes Luke an especially exciting person to to emulate. It is easy to imagine if we had the courage of Luke, everything would be fine. And yet, Luke ultimately faced situations he struggled to deal with.
Ah! The imagination is a romantic place where we can take our deepest longings and pains and through an illusion pretend they do not exist.
Each and every one of us need the affirmation, love, and approval of our dad. It doesn’t matter how old we are, one of our deepest longings is to see him smile and hear him say, “I am proud of you! I am so glad you are my son / daughter.”
Sadly, too many of us have never heard those words. Some have never heard our dad say he loved us. If we are honest, most of us have a deep father wound we carry.
The Father Wound
Fathers are to meet their child’s need for love, acceptance, nurture, comfort, safety and provision, and respect. Those are needs God has given each of us. He intended dads to affirm and teach their child the wonder of their value and dignity as a human being. But most dads fail to love well, leaving a deep father wound.
Because of the father wound, we go through life trying to compensate. We may become a workaholic, driving ourselves to attain a position where we finally earn Dad’s approval and affirmation. Some who feel rejected at their core, develop immune disorders, leaving the body twisted with chronic pain. One young woman I know turned to prostitution; she has several children by different men. Her deep longing is to find the approval and acceptance she never found in her dad.
That father wound shapes our perception of who we are and drives us to escape our pain in a multiplicity of ways. What is tragic is carrying a father wound hidden deep inside of us means we unwittingly transfer our anger onto the Heavenly Father, and driven, are unable to rest in His unconditional love.
Luke demonstrated his anger against his dad’s evil and attempted to resist his destiny of becoming like his father. It’s easy to see why many love Luke Skywalker.
In our own lives we can’t fight against our bad fathers, especially if others see him as a man of God. Unable to express our anger and hatred for our dad, we internalize that anger. Then because God is the greatest Father of all, we turn our anger onto God, lashing out at Him. Although in our head we know He is benevolent and trustworthy, in our heart, we distrust Him.
Dear heart, your pain is legitimate. So is your anger. Your dad was to portray the Heavenly Father’s heart. He was to reflect the tender love and unconditional acceptance God has for you. Because he is human – he failed. Perhaps his dad never demonstrated God the Father’s loving kindness. Perhaps he doesn’t love himself. Perhaps he never learned his calling as a father is his highest calling.
The Father Wound is Transferred onto God
For years I carried a father wound; whenever I thought of God, I saw Him through the filter of my Dad. After I asked Jesus to be my Saviour, the Holy Spirit began to reveal the truth of what was locked inside of me. After I disembarked from the m.v. Logos in India, I went to Bombay. Hit with unexplainable fear, my faith was assaulted. No matter how hard I tried, I could not squelch the belief God was exceptionally cruel and I would never be safe with Him.
Gritting my teeth, I determined because I loved the Lord Jesus, I would somehow suffer through whatever God threw my way. But it was difficult because I believed I needed to be perfect to appease God’s anger.
Who can be perfect? Or even near perfection? Indeed, the closer we get to the Lord, the more aware we are of our imperfections and our need for a Saviour to forgive us.
For years I walked with almost paralyzing fear, with no idea how to escape the ruthless scrutiny of this God who claimed to be Father.
Did What My Son?
A story Greg Livingstone told of a young man who struggled and continually committed the same sin had a deep impact on me.
The man went to the Heavenly Father and begged forgiveness for his sin.
The Father freely granted him a pardon, “You are forgiven, My son.”
Thrilled, the young man left God’s presence deeply encouraged. Before he got halfway through his day, his mind carried him into the same rut and he yielded to the same habitual sin.
In deep anguish, covered with guilt and shame, the young man went running back into the throne room. “I am so sorry, Father, I did it again.”
The Father responded gently, “Did what my son? Did what?”
Some time later, I had the opportunity to speak with Greg. He shared when the Lord forgives us, He removes our sin as far as the East is from the West. Each time we commit a particular sin, it is like it is the first time, because the Heavenly Father’s forgiveness is complete and His love is unconditional. We don’t have to earn His love, it is freely given.
Though I didn’t believe it could be true for me, the seeds planted went into fertile soil. The Lord began in me a process of transformation whereby He began to set me free from my terror and my anger – for fear that is not dealt with always turns into anger.
You may say, “That is all well and good for you, but you don’t know my situation. I have sinned too greatly to be forgiven.”
I used to believe that too. To my astonishment, I learned the Apostle Paul – who never lied – said, “This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them!’” (1 Timothy 1:15 NET). If Paul was the worst sinner, than neither you nor I qualify! That means if God could forgive Paul, He will forgive you too.
You are correct, I don’t know your situation. But this I do know. The Lord Jesus came to earth to show us the heart of the Heavenly Father. As we look at Jesus, we see the true character of His Father.
It was through my relationship with Jesus, my deep fear of God the Father was conquered. Jesus is the brightness of the Heavenly Father’s glory and the express image of the Father! (Hebrews 1:3).
If you want to know what the Father thinks of you, ask what Jesus thinks of you.
Jesus loves you so much He went to Calvary so you could be reconciled to Him. Jesus understands and cares about your sorrows. And Jesus is God! Whatever you see in the Lord Jesus, is what you will find in the Heavenly Father.
You don’t have to appease God or earn His favor.
Neither Jesus nor God the Father are a giant replication of your dad’s failures. Even if your father failed, abused, or neglected you in his driveness to serve Jesus Christ – that was not the Heavenly Father’s will for you. His will is for you to be loved, honored, and respected. Today, He longs for you to allow Him to heal the father wound in your heart.
I pray you allow Him to quiet your heart with His love.