In my last blog post, I revealed how I spent significant time in rebellion from my parents-about 2 years, actually. Between 2003 and late 2005, I failed to recognize how much my parents loved me and sought the absolute best for me. Eventually, God graciously helped me to eventually see plainly the concern they both have for me.
If you took time to read my previous post, you are now thinking one of two things: 1. “You dummy. Everyone should be thankful for their parents.” or, 2. “You dummy. Do you not realize that other people have strained parent relationships, bad parents, or no parents at all?”
Those are valid points! Many of us have some kind of difficulties with parents at some point in our lives, especially during certain growing-up years. Ages 12-19 may be the toughest. But it is not the case that the problem generally lies with the child. Some of us really do have terrible parents who do not care at all for us, or who are entirely absent from us. If this is your situation, I lament with you.
I have numerous friends and connections who have strained parental relationships; indeed, some have no parents. One friend comes to mind whose father committed adultery with a family friend. Imagine the difficulties this Christian family has endured. Another friend has a mother with severe depression, and a father who refuses to get her treatment because of his beliefs. Imagine watching all of this while slowly becoming an adult; how utterly painful. Another friend, considerably younger than me, lives with his overworked mother. She has numerous children with various men. This friend has never had a consistent father figure, much less a mother who is around often enough to truly listen.
It is indeed a broken, splintered world we inhabit.
For followers of Jesus, there is a long-term hope: Jesus, our brother in humanity [Bible, New Testament, Hebrews 2] and our intercessor in divinity [Bible, New Testament, Colossians 1:15-20], connects us to the family of God. This does not right every wrong at this very moment, but it reveals the coming world of God. In God’s kingdom, divisions between people will cease, even between parents and children. Justice will be established for all-yes, for families too. Paul, an important leader in the early church, draws this God-as-a-parent concept out in Romans 8:12-17. God reveals that we are adopted as children. Eventually we become heirs, with our brother/savior, Jesus, of all the good that God has stored up for those who follow him.
However you understand the concept of family and the parental relationship, know today that God is your parent. Know too that God never intended families to be divided. Our relationship issues have their source in our own human failures-our sin as it is described in the Bible. The good news is that the wrongs are eventually made right. The last book in the Bible, Revelation, tells us how God, through Jesus, is making all things new [Revelation 21:5].
It is a new year, and with it can come a fresh turn of events and a change in our inner emotions. Could this be the year we allow God in to begin healing our most painful relationships?
Whatever good or bad came through your relationship with your human parents, we can all look to God as our ultimate parent. If you were fortunate enough to have good parents, be thankful for them. If you did or do not, again, I lament with you. But together, we look forward to the coming day when God makes all things new and good and right-including family relationships.