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Worshipping the Father when dad was a loser

"How am I supposed to relate to my Heavenly Father when my earthly dad was so disappointing?"

Doug Wilson gives a good first-step towards an answer.  But you rarely hear it...

Let me suggest that one way of fulfilling this parent-honouring is to grieve the loss of what you have (legitimately) wanted in those relationships.  Grieving not grumbling can open you up to gratitude for the Father.  To grumble at your losses is to be held by them and closes you down - to God as well as to earthly fathers.  To grieve these losses is to give up on a) getting them back or b) making them pay (which is what the grumbling is all about).

It frees you up to give thanks for what you did receive and to trust to God for your real fatherly care.

Anyway - just a thought about an approach to this difficult issue....


4 thoughts on “Worshipping the Father when dad was a loser

  1. Jerry Taylor

    Hi Glen

    Recently listened to Dr Keller on a similar vein - in the context of a sermon on Eph 6:1-4. Made the point that one of the most important ways children (generally) can honour their parents is by forgiving them. His argument was we seek unconditional love from our parents, obviously they can't give it - there's always going to be some measure on which we've disappointed them - and so we get driven by the need to prove ourselves to them, which makes us angry and unwilling to forgive.
    The way to really honour your parents, says TK, is to be free to displease them – by going to get what you’ve always wanted from them (unconditional love) from the perfect Father instead.
    I rather liked his take: when we stop thinking of our parents as 'gods' that all our effort needs to go into pleasing, we might just be free, through our relationship with our perfectly loving heavenly Father, to honour our parents.


  2. Glen

    Yes Jerry, thanks for that. So it's not simply a case of, "dad didn't measure up to God so now I can't understand God as Dad." It's more that God *is* Dad - look at Him in the face of the Son. Then you can look at all the ways dad isn't God and all the ways I demand he be god.

    I imagine Keller's saying this with grown-up children in mind. We don't chastise wee Magnus for being too dependent, do we??

  3. Jerry Taylor

    Spot on Glen - and yes, my comment was with adult children in mind! Paul presumably has non-adult children (what?!) in mind in Ephesians because he uses 'obey' instead of 'honour' in v.1, before setting out the timeless commandment afterwards.


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