Many people struggle to believe God loves them because of a dysfunctional mom or dad.
This past weekend I spoke to a 19 year old college student who had no idea why the God we worship would let His children suffer. His parents got a divorce when he was 5 and his mum left him to his dad who got married again. His step mother mistreated him till he was immune to beatings…so he says.
“What about you? Do you have emotional wounds resulting from your upbringing? If so, these hurts can block your understanding of God’s unconditional love.” I encourage you to not only forgive your parents but also to renounce unhealthy mindsets you may have adopted because of trauma. Make sure you believe the following:
1. Your heavenly Father will never abandon you. Nothing is more traumatic to a child than a family breakup. Children often blame themselves for divorce and they experience acute feelings of insecurity. They can also develop the wrong idea that if their father or mother was willing to walk away from them, God will do the same.
Believe the truth: God says, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). Earthly parents may break promises, but God is always faithful. He is a faithful God.
2. Your heavenly Father will never verbally berate you. I recently met a girl whose parents wanted her to be a boy. As a result of their disapproval, they criticized her constantly, told her she was ugly. As a result of this constant criticism she struggled to receive love and found it difficult to believe God could ever love her.
Believe the truth: The Lord is a loving Father who speaks tenderly to His children; and even when He must discipline us, it is for our good. James 5:11 says: “We have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.”
3. Your heavenly Father will never abuse you. I have an Itesot friend, George, whose cruel, domineering father beat him with the same stick he used to beat his mother. George still has scars on his back, chest and stomach from his father’s angry outbursts. Finally, his father piled the family into a car, drove them to the village and ordered them to get out of the vehicle. He cursed them and left them to die. His father’s behavior made him angry and vengeful until he found salvation in Jesus.
Believe the truth: God is not an abuser. He is a good Shepherd who protects us. If you were abused by someone, either physically, sexually or verbally, recognize that God did not approve of that behavior and He wants to heal you from the pain of that experience.
4. Your heavenly Father will never withhold affection from you. I’ve met dozens of men whose fathers never once said to them, “I love you.” Many of these guys struggle today with addictions to alcohol, drugs and other mind-numbing substances because they don’t know how to process the lack of security they feel. And women who never received healthy, non-sexual affection from their fathers often end up trapped in a promiscuous lifestyle because they’re searching for the love they were denied.
Believe the truth: God is crazy about you and He wants to shower you with love! Isaiah described God as a Shepherd who gathers His lambs and carries them in His bosom (Isaiah 40:11). As a believer in Christ you always have access to the Father through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18). He wants you to be close to Him.
5. Your heavenly Father will never abandon you financially. A loving parent, no matter how small their income, can make a child feel secure by providing food on the table, a warm bed and clothes to wear. Unfortunately, in these days of deadbeat dads and struggling one-parent families, many people grow up financially crippled. God doesn’t automatically give people Cadillacs if they tithe, but any follower of Jesus can bank on God’s promises of provision.
Believe the truth: Jesus said the Father knows we need food, clothes and shelter. “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:31-33). We serve a generous God.
No matter what fatherly wounds you may have suffered, and no matter how long ago the pain entered, God can heal your heart and fill in the gaps. Reach out and receive the Father’s embrace.
Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount….that is the measure of God’s love for you.