Grand Valley Christian Church

A Wounded Heart

This morning I would like for us to consider the story about one of the sons of King David, a man named Absalom.

Absalom had a sister that he loved a great deal named Tamar.  Tamar was raped by another one of David’s sons, named Amnon, who was the first son of David.

Absalom was enraged and wounded.  He didn’t handle it well.  He suppressed it.  He wouldn’t let Tamar tell it and he wouldn’t tell it himself.

Instead, he looked for the day when he could avenge this injustice on his older half-brother.  Eventually, Absalom killed Amnon or at least had him killed.

Absalom resented his father David, because, well we may not know all the reasons, but he certainly had a wound in his heart.

David had chosen not to take action against Amnon for the rape because he was his first son. 

Absalom obviously resented that, and continued to live his life with what psychologists would call a father wound.

It began a downward spiral of his life.  A man who had potentially everything at his fingertips and yet he wasted his life.

He spent his life in resentment, which led to rebellion and subversion.  He tried to take over his father’s throne.  He died hanging on a tree.

Scripture says cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.  Absalom left no heritage.

Please open your Bibles to our scripture selection for this morning in 2 Samuel Chapter 18.  For those listening to this recorded message, we earlier read from verse 9, but in the interest of time I want to focus on verse 18.

READ 2 Sam. 18:18

Now, the truth is he did have some children.  In chapter 14 it is recorded that Absalom had three sons and a daughter.

But he failed to make the kind of investments in them that would have allowed either of those sons or his daughter to carry on his heritage.

This is the story of a man with great potential who essentially made some choices that resulted in his life making no positive difference while he lived and leaving no heritage when he died.

I would say that Absalom lived a wasted life.

This morning I would like to examine the anatomy of a wasted life and see what, if anything, we might learn from it.

Absalom faced some early injustices.  Of course it was unbearably painful to him to have his precious sister raped by his older half-brother.

He felt betrayed by his brother. 

His father David, the king, who could have sought justice in the situation, did not respond in the manner that Absalom thought he should.

I am sure that Absalom wanted Amnon killed immediately as the appropriate penalty for his behavior.

Absalom was hurt early on.

That is not uncommon.  In fact, I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t had some early trauma in their life.  That’s just part of life.

It may be more perceived than real but all of us experienced some sense of trauma growing up. 

I grew up in an awesome family; a loving and nurturing family.  But that didn’t prevent me from developing feelings of rejection; a sense that I was “rejectable.”

That comes about because all of us are children of Adam.  Adam was rejected out of the Garden of Eden and as a result all of humanity now has built-in eyes that see evidence of our rejectability.

I know that many of us didn’t have as healthy a relationship within their families.  I know a man whose parents divorced when he was ten-years old.  He reminded his mother so much of his father that she grew to detest him.  As a result she abused him to the degree that he lived a large part of his teenage years in the barn.  She wouldn’t let him live in the house.

That had to cause an early wound to his psyche.

Praise God that man is doing well today.  He is a godly man who is building a legacy.

My point is that all of us have those things in our lives that are unfair and painful in our experience. 

The one thing that Absalom did that led to his downward spiral was that he harbored his hurt rather than voicing it.  He didn’t address it.

He told his sister Tamar not to talk about it promising to one day make things right.  He waited for the day to come, when he could avenge this injustice.

Many of us have a hard time addressing our hurts.  We have a tendency to suppress them.

Generally, religion doesn’t help in that matter.  Many people who regularly attend church are having their lives eroded away as a result of their wounds.

We have all been hurt and many of us are seeking justice, vengeance, longing for revenge. 

We don’t call it by those names, because we are religious.  We are spiritual. We think it is unspiritual to even address those hurts.

We can’t say that we are full of doubt and hurt and angry and bitter.  We won’t deal with our issues because we are Christians and Christians shouldn’t feel that way.

Perhaps we should pay more attention to the Psalms written by David and others that tell of the anguish of their souls.  They mention that the soul within is in pain and they didn’t try to hide that.

They chose instead to expose their pain to the healing power of God.

When you are in the presence of God, all it takes to be healed is to acknowledge your pain.

When we are willing to say, “I hurt” God begins to pour the salve of comfort on our hurt.

But as long as it remains hidden, unaddressed, it can do nothing other than fester.

The seething, festering, corruption of that pain will begin to permeate every aspect of life so that a frown becomes your normal expression and fear a constant companion. 

Criticism becomes the perspective from which one views the world and vengeance the agenda of far too many of us.

So, I just want to say this to you and to me, when we experience a wound, real or perceived, address it or forget it.  We can’t afford to suppress it.

Address it, confront it, go to the person that you think brought it on and forgive them.  When necessary forgive yourself.

We either have to address it or forget it.  To not mention it, to suppress it and believe that we are being spiritual is absolutely foolish.

Address it or forget it.

Not only was Absalom offended at the human instrument of pain, he was offended at the king.  He was offended at David, his father-king.

David could have enacted justice by having Amnon killed.  I don’t know whether that would have totally appeased Absalom or not.

But, the fact is that a father wound developed in Absalom because his father-king, the one in charge, the sovereign king who could do whatever he wanted to do, did not do what Absalom wanted him to do.

Do you see the parallel there?  Every time we encounter injustice, there is a tendency on our part to blame God.

We feel as though the King could have stopped that.  Why would he allow that to happen if he really loves us?

That’s the big argument of the atheist.  If God is good and all-powerful, why would He allow innocent people to suffer?  Why would He allow me to suffer?

The father wound can basically be described as “My pain is your fault.”

The moment we come to that conclusion, the moment we buy into that and enter that into our mental computer, either consciously or subconsciously, we begin down the road that leads to bitterness and all that it produces.

Because Absalom had the father wound that he nursed, he was estranged from the father-king.

The same is true of our father wounds.  They lead to us being estranged from our father-king.

The truth is that right after Amnon’s death, of course Davis mourned his death, but immediately he began to long for Absalom.

He loved Absalom.  He wanted reconciliation.

David could have killed Absalom, because Absalom’s act was a treacherous act against his brother.  But David didn’t do that.  He sent word that he wanted him to come home and live there.  He wanted him back in the castle to be with him.

But, the father-wound wouldn’t allow Absalom to enjoy the intimacy, the passion, the power or the purpose of being the king’s son.

He lived in self-imposed exile.  Even though he lived in the kingdom, he did not embrace the kingdom.  Although he lived with the rights of a son, he didn’t embrace those rights.

Though he lived in the presence of prosperity and plenty, he chose to live in hatred, in a leanness of the soul as well as a leanness of the body.

That led him to be subversive.

Being in the kingdom, he would come and sit at the gates.  People would gather to bring an issue to the king and he would say to them, “If I were king, I would solve your problems more quickly and with greater wisdom and compassion.”

He began to dishonor his father by his own subversion.

Have you ever felt that in your own soul?  Where you have subverted others away from the king or away from the human instrument that you credited with causing your pain?

You know, that whole deal about, “Well, I know things about them that if you knew, you wouldn’t like them either.”  Or, “I could do it better if I were in charge.”

A lot of us live our lives with a burning motivation to humiliate our father.

We try to humiliate our earthly father, by living contrary to his values.

There are a lot of sons and daughters that are doing destructive things with their lives because they resent their fathers.  They are trying to dishonor the values of their fathers by the way they live.

Others try to humiliate their father by surpassing him.  They hope to one day have more money, more stuff, to be more important or more well-known than their father.

They think that dethroning dad will satisfy that resentment they have inside of them.

But the reality is that the father wound cannot be fixed by pulling dad off his throne.

The saddest thing is that often we live the same way toward our ultimate father, the King, the final king.

We don’t like the things that He has allowed to come into our lives, so we determine to destroy ourselves just to humiliate Him.  We’ll prove to the world that God’s ways are not right.

That is the stupidity of rebellion.  Yet, it seems to make sense to us when we continue to nurse our father wound.

My pain is your fault.

Absalom died in battle.  He led a rebellion against his father that actually pushed the king and his men out of Jerusalem and across the Jordan River.

But David refused to seek vengeance, still desiring reconciliation with his son.  Finally, David’s army came back in and pursued Absalom. 

During the chase Absalom’s hair got caught in a tree and as he was hanging there some of David’s men found him and thrust him through with a sword.

He died hanging in a tree, symbolic of the curse that was on his life.

Which brings us back to the verse that we used to initiate this conversation.

He had to build a monument to himself in the Valley of the Kings because he had no heritage, no one to take on his name.

That is a sad, sad story.

Yet there are many today whose only hope of leaving a legacy lies in building a monument to their own name.

They’re building a business so they can have their name on it, or building a ministry so they can have their name on it, or making a lot of money so they can give an endowment that has their name on it.  There are a lot of ways we try to do that.

What a sad commentary on a life lived that we feel that we have to try to build some kind of physical monument to pass on our heritage.

That is not the heritage that God intended us to pass on.  If that is all we are leaving, we are not leaving much.

What God intends for us to leave is a heritage of lives changed.

So, let’s look at the opposite of Absalom; let’s look at the example of a meaningful life.

Let’s compare the lives of Jesus and Absalom.

Both of them were sons of David.

Jesus came from the lineage of David and fulfilled the promise that God had made to David that one of his sons would always sit on the throne.

Amnon was the first son of David and Israel was the first son of God.

When God brought Israel out of Egyptian bondage and made a covenant with them, He said, “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Like Amnon, Israel was treacherous and unable to fulfill their purpose. 

Absalom was the second son of David and Jesus was the second son of God.

Jesus was the ultimate Israelite, who came as representative Israel and fulfilled that which Israel was called to do, serve as a kingdom of priests for God.

Like Absalom, Jesus experienced injustice. 

Early on He was labeled a bastard.  He was born of a virgin in a small town.  Those of us familiar with small towns know how gossip can spread within a small town.

Soon it got all over Israel that Jesus was the illegitimate son of a little country girl who had gotten too familiar with some Roman soldiers.

Later, because of the radical nature of His lifestyle and teaching, Jesus was rejected by His own countrymen.  He came to His own and His own received Him not.

The very people He came to redeem rejected Him and began to plot all kinds of meanness against Him.

In fact, His own physical family rejected Him.  I am sure you remember the time when the Pharisees were so anxious to seize Him that they recruited His own mother and some of his half-brothers to go get Him out of the temple, by convincing them that He had lost His mind.

They wanted to take Him to some faraway place, like Parachute Colorado, where He wouldn’t embarrass anybody.

Jesus responded to His early and later injustice by submitting to the Father’s will.

We get a clue as to what made the life of Jesus so different from the life of Absalom in that at age twelve when His parents went off and left Him in Jerusalem, they found Him in the temple.

When Mary scolded Him for lagging behind, He responded, “Did you not know that I would be about my Father’s business?”

When you are living your life for the glory of the father, you are not nearly as apt to pick up every injustice perpetrated against you and nurse the father wound.

Jesus was here to be about the Father’s business.

Because of that, He lived with faith in the Father’s sovereignty. 

He believed that the father-king was in charge of everything and that every event in life was designed to reveal the Father’s nature.

Now, I know we feel that we don’t have that.  But it is available to us because Jesus lived and died and was buried and resurrected and sent His Holy Spirit to us.

The gift that He gives to us in the relationship is that gift of perspective. 

In talking with Nicodemus, Jesus said, “If you are born of the Spirit, you can see the Kingdom of God.”  That includes seeing from divine perspective.

It is a gift.  It is not innate to every human being.  But it is available to every human being that would come to God through faith in Jesus Christ.

That is one of the blessings God gives to His children as part of His heritage.

God has promised us that no event will ever happen to us that cannot and will not be woven into the fabric of His purpose and that these events will make our lives more meaningful, not less.

Thank you, Lord.

These events are not always painless, nor are they always couched in comfort.  They are not always the most convenient, but they are always purposeful.

No event has ever happened to any person anytime that cannot be woven into God’s purpose of glorifying Himself on the Earth.

And He is using us to do it.

We may not understand the injustice we encounter, or the pain that we incur, or the seemingly unfair events and circumstances that surround our lives.

But, we have been given the privilege of choosing to trust a father-king.  A father who is good and has our best interest at heart.  A king who is in charge and can do whatever He chooses; and He chooses to do that which is best for us, in the glorious scheme of things.

Perspective is something that Jesus modeled for us.  But He didn’t just model it, He gave it to us, He imparted it to us.  It is part of the package of eternal life.

Another thing we see in contrast to Absalom, is that Jesus, in fellowship with the Father, had the power to forgive and find destiny.

Absalom was offered the privilege of returning to the kingdom and living in relationship with the king, but he rejected it.  He refused the offer of fellowship.

When you are out of fellowship with the Father, you are not aware enough to do the supernatural stuff.

Like forgive.  Like see from the divine perspective.  Like embracing what is happening and being a part of it.

There was all kinds of authority available to Absalom.  He could have been king.  He was the best looking guy in the whole country.  From the soles of his feet to the tip of his head there were none as handsome as he the scripture says.

He had everything going for him except that he chose to live out of fellowship with the king.

Jesus chose to live in fellowship with the Father and as a result He had the power to do what the Father can do on Earth.

He can forgive.  He can heal.  He can exercise the authority of a superior kingdom on earth, as in heaven. 

That’s our model and that’s our hope.

The other thing we see about Jesus is that He lived to leave a legacy rather than living to please Himself.

Absalom was so caught up with his pain, and with vengeance, and with proving his father wrong, and making sure that his will was imposed instead of his father’s that he wound up leaving no legacy.

He had three sons and a daughter and yet he realized that he had no son to carry on his name.

I may be speculating some here, but I believe that is because he was so caught up in his own agenda that he didn’t spend time with his sons.  He didn’t spend time loving his daughter.

He named his daughter after his sister, indicating to me that there was that lingering pain, that lingering desire to return to a former day.

His wound paralyzed him.  He made no lasting contribution to those around him.

You can’t when your life is caught up with yourself.  When you are trying to prove yourself right.  When you are looking for your own meaning and blaming others for your own pain.

You can’t leave a legacy.

It does no good to teach Sunday school lessons on love and forgiveness when you are, in fact, still nursing a father wound inside of you.

You can’t give somebody the measles, if you’ve got the mumps.  You hear what I’m saying?

You can preach on measles all day long, but what they’ll wind up with is the mumps.

So many of us have sat under the proclamation of teachers and preachers who still nurse a father wound, who still don’t know the peace of God through Jesus Christ.  Who are giving their students what they have in their hearts, not what they have in their heads.

Too many of us are living wasted lives.

Absalom died hanging on a tree.  So did Jesus.

When Jesus died hanging on a tree He did so to take the curse off of those who had already wasted their lives.

Here is the Gospel, y’all.

Jesus died on a tree but He didn’t deserve to be there.  Absalom did. 

So do we.

I have chosen to nurse father wounds.  I have chosen to blame God for my situation.  I have chosen to blame others.

I have lived too many days, too many weeks, obsessed with what others have done.  Blaming them for my lack of peace or power or fellowship or joy.

I have chosen to waste precious moments, precious years, but I am so glad Jesus Christ took my place hanging on that tree so that I don’t have to live a wasted life.

My legacy does not have to be, “He died in curse.  He died proclaiming to the world that his life was useless.”

I don’t have to do that because Jesus took my on the cross.

They thrust Absalom through with the sword.  So did they Jesus.  They nailed Jesus to the cross, but He was nailed there for us.

Because of that we can live lives of meaning and purpose.  We have the privilege of having sons, even if we have no natural ones.  We have the privilege of having daughters, even if we have no natural ones.

That is the great privilege that Jesus gave to His disciples when He said to them, “As the Father sent me so send I you.”

With the same authority that Jesus had, they were to go into all the world and disciple.

To make some sons.  To fashion some people that would carry on their legacy.  To invest their lives in others so that in generations to come their name, their influence would be remembered.

Please, don’t settle for a monument with your name on it.  I mean to build one is fine, just realize how temporal, how ridiculous it is.

Invest your life, invest your time, invest your money in people.

Jesus sent out twelve.  He could have viewed His life as wasted.  He could have been great but He ended up basically impacting 12 guys.

He died on a cross of shame outside the city gates where criminals died.

He didn’t build any temples or cathedrals; He didn’t amass riches or wealth.  When He died, He was something less than famous.

He could have considered His life wasted.

But He chose to invest behind the scenes.  Like leaven working through the lump, He invested in people and now His name is above all names.

What He invested in those twelve has spread to millions and will ultimately spread over the face of the Earth until every knee shall bow and all tongues confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

That is the kind of legacy that is worth being part of.

And if you want to you can; it is offered to you in Jesus Christ.  But I’ll tell you this: it is absolutely essential that you address your father wound.

If there is something still inside of you that is blaming God or someone lesser for the pain in your heart then you haven’t exposed that wound to Him and acknowledged to Him that you hurt and proclaimed that you trust Him for His healing.

If you haven’t done that, the sad truth is that you will lead a wasted life.

Even if you inscribe your name on every monument in the country. 

You simply can’t give away a grace you have never embraced.  You can’t give away a mercy you have never received.

You can’t share a love that you have never allowed to come into your own heart.

You have carried your pain long enough.  You have suppressed it, denied it, rationalized it, and been chained to it long enough.

So, I beg you today to allow whatever pain you have inside of you to drive you to Jesus; the ultimate Son of God, the ultimate Son of the Father.

The one who has the authority to change your life.  The one who took all your curses on Him. 

What will your legacy be?  Are you working toward building a monument or are you making sons and daughters?

As we have studied this fabulous story from the Bible, have you heard anything that gives you hope?  Do you see an Absalom attitude in you?

Well it is a great day when God shows you something that you can get rid of!

It’s like moving your refrigerator to reveal all the dirt and dust bunnies that have accumulated under there.  Once you see it you can get rid of it.

Once you see your wound and invite Jesus into it, you can get rid it.

There is a greater son than Absalom who has come.  He has come to forgive you and heal your wound and propel you into a future of making sons and daughters so you don’t have to worry about a monument.

So, let’s do something about it this morning; right now.

Don’t just leave here feeling like you have heard some good preaching.  Search your heart, acknowledge your wound and let Jesus come into it and heal you.   Amen?


Father, I pray that your Holy Spirit has made your Word applicable to our lives.

I pray that not one person would hear this Word and continue to nurse their father wound.

That they would not continue to nurse resentment or subversion or dishonor.

I pray that everyone who hears this Word would be moved at least one step closer to living a meaningful life.

Don’t let any of us waste another day, another moment.

You have provided everything we need in Christ Jesus.

So I pray for a return of joy to everyone listening to this Word.  In Jesus’s name, amen.

Let the Holy Spirit search your heart as Don leads us in a song of praise.  Let Him reveal your wound and let the mercy and grace and power of God heal it and set you free.


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Kelli Stanton

Thank you for bring out some hidden hurts that I've buried, actually I really thought I had been able to turn them lose a long time ago, but after listening to this cd for the 2nd time, it came to light while praying that I needed to turn lose of things that are going to eat me alive if I don't. Life is too short and fraigle to waste on the past things that others have done meaningly or by pure ignorance. Thank you, knowing how to deliever each week what is needed in my own personal life and that of others who hear your messages is truely a gift that HE has given you. GOD BLESS




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