Breaking an Orphan Mentality

I have had the honor of traveling to several countries to minister in the last few years. While I have not found a place that I didn’t enjoy ministering, my favorite places to go are considered “third world” by many.

Why do I like third world countries the most?

I don’t know for sure. I think that it has something to do with the amount of need, the openness of the people, and the lack of pretense that comes with prosperity. Due to poverty, sickness, and a lack of community support, many third world nations struggle with an abundance of orphans. Many children in these countries are left without resource upon the death of one or both of their parents.

Orphans struggle on at least a couple of different fronts.

One, they struggle with basic human needs: food, shelter, health, education, and other things that become harder to obtain after the death of a parent.

But, orphans also struggle in their personal identity and in their world view. When you have lost connection to a family of origin, doubt and questions arise. Who am I? What can I expect from life? Do I have what it takes to be a person of productivity in life? Am I doomed to repeat the failures of my family of origin?

These questions aren’t limited to orphans of the third world. Due to the proliferation of divorce, abandonment, the challenges of blended families,and the increase of single parent homes in American society, many people right here struggle with the same questions. Some people are abandoned by parents who never physically leave the home. Emotionally distant or chronically busy parents make for insecure children. Sexually abused kids suffer the indignity of the rejection of their personhood through the predatory acts of an emotionally and spiritually sick adult. In these instances, it is not the physical departure of the parent which causes the problem but the presence of a parent who has lost sight of love.

Orphans of physical abandonment and “orphans” of present yet unstable parents both suffer intensely. Both types have to struggle with an “orphan mentality” which seeks to destroy their future success and intimacy. Prevalent beliefs that cause problems for these people are things like this:

“I will never have enough so I better hoard what I have.”

“I am a second class citizen and will never be worthy of love.”

“I am destined to struggle all my life.”

“I am alone in my struggles.”

“I can’t trust anyone.”

These type of beliefs have multiple affects. One effect which is intensely brutal is the effect they have upon the person’s relationship with God.

Since God is a “Father” and a “parent,” people with these beliefs usually cannot make the distinction between the actions of fallible people and the actions of an infallible God. Since their history says that they are different, alone, and unworthy, they carry over these beliefs into their relationship with Jesus. Even though Jesus never did abandon them or abuse them, they still struggle with Him because of their world view and their personal identity.

I work with many of these sufferers. I’ve been one myself.

My family split when I was young, causing much pain with its attending doubt. One key to healing is to distinguish between the acts of the Spirit of God and the acts of people. In the book of Genesis, Cain killed his brother and when asked by God, “Where is your brother?” Cain answered by saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The answer is yes, we are responsible for what we do in our interactions with one another. But, to confuse the actions of a broken parent with the actions of a perfect God derails any hope for the sufferer to achieve healing. Two things must happen for deliverance in the instance of both physical and emotional abandonment:

Healing from the event which caused the pain.

Deliverance from the lies that became part of the psyche due to the abandonment and abuse.

You have to experience both aspects to achieve true healing and deliverance!

If you belong to Jesus, you are not an orphan! Jesus said to each of us:

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18

Breaking the “orphan mentality” is as important as being healed from the “orphan event.”

Don’t stop midway in the process. The Word of God is for you as much as for anyone else. Don’t allow lies to stop you short of your inheritance as a child of God!

The Word of God is the truth about you and your future! Anything contrary to it is an enemy of your life!

You belong and you are part of the family. Come in and take your place as a child of the King!

A banquet table mimicked the setting for the king’s feast.


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