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  • Writer's pictureJ.D. King

Haunted By Fear Of Rejection And Failure? How You Can Get Free From The Orphan Spirit

Who am I and where do I belong? These are fundamental questions everyone is forced to answer. I think there are captivating observations in the following biblical story.


Amid a terrible battle, the enemy surged. The King of Israel—Saul—and his son—Jonathan—were slain in battle. As the news of this defeat reached the people, confusion arose, and everybody scrambled. Sadly, the grandson of the slain king was maimed in this process.


“Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth, who was crippled as a child. He was five years old when the report came from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle. When the child’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, she dropped him, and he became crippled” (2 Samuel 4:4).


Mephibosheth was not only forced to face physical challenges, but he also had to grapple with being orphaned and alone. His life was gripped with disappointment and pain.


I think many in our modern world can identify with someone like Mephibosheth. At one time he had promise and hope, but problems emerged and took away his voice. He had a yearning for greatness, but now he feels forgotten. One doesn’t have to be physically injured or fatherless to have emotions like this.


Even if you are healthy, and still have your mother and father, you might still be wrestling with an “orphan spirit.”


The Reality of the New Kingdom


David, the next king of Israel, took the throne and wanted to know if there were survivors from Saul’s household. The monarch asked, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.” Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet” (2 Samuel 9:3).


They found the neglected son in a distant town and escorted back to the palace. It was typical, in the ancient world, to extinguish the entire bloodline of rivals. So, Mephibosheth was concerned about his fate. Would he live to see another day?


But Mephibosheth did not have to be troubled. Godly honor and love prompted David to find him. The king didn’t want him slain—he wanted him celebrated and blessed.

“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father, Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table” (2 Samuel 9:7).


Mephibosheth did not know what to do with the king’s generosity. It was totally unexpected.

“Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?” (2 Samuel 9:8).


In the ancient world, dogs were scavengers and disease-ridden nuisances. So, when Mephibosheth says, “I’m a dog,” it shows what he believed about himself. This crippled man genuinely felt he was a castoff of a fallen royal family.


Mephibosheth’s distorted identity wasn’t open to receive from the king’s generosity and grace. I hope that you don’t have the same outlook.


The Orphan Spirit


You don’t have to be fatherless to find yourself entangled in an “orphan spirit.” Many are gripped by this with no legitimate cause. These men and women see themselves as dogs— unworthy of respect or honor.


Spiritual orphans are always striving to prove their worth. They’re convinced everything is a fight and are concerned that their achievements will never be enough.


They get trapped in a performance mode and suppose advancement only comes by hard work. This mindset can obscure the value of deep relationships and the reality of inheritances.

  • Orphans struggle with feelings of inadequacy

  • Orphans strive to get everything.

  • Orphans constantly compare themselves to others.

  • Orphans compete with everyone around them.

  • Orphans are often trying to do something to gain a sense of affirmation.

  • Orphans are tormented by rejection and disappointment.

Like One of the King’s Sons


Mephibosheth—a crippled orphan—was forced to grapple with the fact that there was something more. A royal offer was presented that would transform his destiny.

As David restored the identity and worth of Mephibosheth, he not only reinstated his fortune but also treated him as one of his family members.


I believe this is a picture of what God intends for your life. We live in an era where God is restoring identity and inheritances to the forgotten ones.


You may feel sidelined, and it might seem you must overcome many obstacles, but your past is not the end of the story. The Lord wants to make you “like one of the king’s sons.”


The only question that remains is whether you are willing to take a seat at His table?



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