Addressing Your “Wounds”

In the previous post in this series about the foundations for my God Buddy concept, I wrote about gaining a better understanding of God’s design for manhood by attending a study called The Quest for Authentic Manhood.

Another concept in the study was that there were 3 critical issues that men face:

  1. the unfinished business of their past (addressing the 5 most common “wounds”),
  2. establishing a proper vision for manhood,
  3. creating a plan for how to live fully as a godly man. 

In my prior post about The Quest for Authentic Manhood, I explained Dr. Robert Lewis’ starting point of a concise vision statement about God’s design for me as a man:

“An authentic man is one who… Rejects Passivity, Accepts his Responsibility, Leads Courageously, and Expects The Greater Reward of Heaven.”

— Dr. Robert Lewis, The Quest for Authentic Manhood

Prior to giving us this vision though, Dr. Lewis unpacked what he called the five significant “wounds” of a man’s past that keep us from living fully into our God-given potential. Here is a brief outline of each:

1. The “Absentee Father” Wound

This wound is defined as an ongoing emotional, social, or spiritual deficit ordinarily met in a healthy relationship with Dad but that must now be overcome by other means.

Lewis said the results of the Absentee Father Wound are often anger and pain that is manifested with extreme behavior and addictions or obsessions. It often leads to an excessive need for affirmation, an inner sense of lostness or incompleteness, and sexual impurity.

“I have discovered that inside every business suit, every pair of faded overalls, every stay-pressed sport shirt, lives the wounded heart of a boy looking for his daddy.” –Gordon Dalbey, Father & Son

Lewis suggests that every son needs as much time as possible with his father to get training on life skills, directions with solid “why” answers, and proper modeling. Most importantly, he needs to see his dad’s heart.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” 

–Proverbs 22:6

2. The “Overly-Bonded with Mother” Wound

An unhealthy emotional relationship with his Mother can cause a wound that leads to either being threatened by the influence of women later on in life or becoming overly dominant. Both sometimes manifest in becoming abusive or submissive and overly reliant.

2007 Warner Bros. movie, starring  Diane Keaton, Jon Heder, Jeff Daniels 

Lewis says this wound often begins with an absent or distant father but can also be inflicted by one of four types of moms:

  • ignorant (uneducated) moms;
  • needy, hurting moms;
  • unwilling to release moms; or
  • “fill in the gaps” moms.

This wound is usually not blatant, but often very subtle. It may not show up in abuse, neglect, or absenteeism but is often disguised as love and care. It’s not a result of inattention, but over-attention. It often looks like love but feels like control. It is also so powerful that it can wrongly shape or warp the masculine psyche.

One tendency for boys growing up with this wound is to rebel against women who are authorities over them and become socially disruptive, irresponsible in family and work commitments, overly assertive about their manly prowess (especially in sexual areas), or leading lives characterized by violence, crime, alcoholism, and other addictions.

Another tendency is to over-identify with adult women who are authorities in their lives and learn to behave or react in ways that are more appropriate to women than to men. 

In either case, these guys do not learn the discipline, responsibility, and character required for being a man.

3. The Lack of a Compelling Vision for Manhood Wound

Lewis says that many men lack clarity about what it means to be a man and are in a state of confusion today. Too many guys don’t know how to answer the question … “who am I as a man?” 

They end up disappointed with life and find themselves lonely and drifting. They’re comparing and competing, focused mainly on trying to keep up with everybody else. They settle for a “less-than” life since they have not been given a compelling vision for manhood that is bigger and more meaningful than the conventional definition much of the world gives.  

The writer of Proverbs reminds us that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18a KJV). This means we need a proper vision of manhood that is clear in order to avoid living in emotional and spiritual death.

4. The “All Alone” Wound

This is the only self-inflicted of the five wounds. It’s a social, emotional, and spiritual loss caused by being disconnected from other men. The lack of healthy male comradeship leads to loneliness and discouragement, foolish behavior and blind spots, and a short-sighted view of masculinity. 

The significant downsides of this wound include warped perspectives on life, loose living, no motivation for the noble things in life, and a loss of opportunities for much-needed transparency.

In this case, Lewis suggests guys must learn the keys to friendship: loyalty, faithfulness to “our values”, and encouragement. He then says you must learn to reach out to other men and find some who challenge you to “get better”. These friendships help by “getting real” with each other and sharing their hearts to learn to enjoy life together as men.

5. The “Depravity” Wound

The original sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden means we are all fallen and flawed creatures who live at odds with our Creator and each other. Depravity means we are all dysfunctional by nature and that most of our real problems are really “in me” and not “out there” caused by society. 

Depravity cannot be eradicated by education, a better environment, self-understanding, or willpower. The pain that flows from this depravity means we are bent to do evil and rebel against God’s design for us.  

The implication is that we have a natural tendency to get in trouble, avoid domestic responsibility, rule harshly over women and children, and get lost in our careers and personal pursuits while ignoring God’s greater purposes for our lives.

 “There is none righteous, not even one. There is none who understands….all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

— Romans 3:10 ff

The healing of this wound comes by admitting our depravity and finding a real relationship with God.

The Implications for God Buddies

As Pastor John Ortberg wrote in his book, Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them, we all have “stuff” and personal issues from our past since we’re all affected by original sin from the Garden of Eden.

But that also doesn’t mean we can’t work on addressing these wounds.

As I wrote in the Summary of the Traits of a GB Relationship, once your GB relationship goes deeper, you will develop a level of trust and confidentiality that enables you to help each other become better men and grow into more godly men.

Disclaimer: While I believe you can talk through just about any issues with your God Buddy, if you struggle with an extreme version of these wounds (i.e. physical or mental abuse, addictions, depression, suicidal thoughts) please always get professional help first. 

Understanding and unpacking these wounds described by Dr. Lewis, helped me understand and work to overcome some of the things that were holding me back in my growth as a man.

Do you recognize any of these wounds in yourself? How might you address those that relate to your growth as a man? I suggest you find yourself a God Buddy or get with a counselor to talk through them and begin to heal.


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