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The Perfect Father
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Photo: Mikhail Malyshev
My father is not perfect. When I was growing up he drank and physically abused my mother. He was demanding, critical, and verbally abusive. I didn’t enjoy being around him when I was a child. I wanted a better relationship with him most of my life, but have waited in bitterness for forty-some years.

One time, when I was about 12 years old, I apparently mistreated our pet dog. My father became so angry at me he threw me against the wall, grabbed my shoulders and began shaking me, all the while calling me terrible names. I’ve carried this scene in my mind for a long time.

My father is not perfect, but recently, something changed. It happened while I was praying to God about my painful relationship with my dad. In my prayer time, I saw myself as a boy being thrown against the wall and shaken. Then suddenly Jesus appeared (in my mind’s eye) and stood between my father and me. Christ put His arm around me and put his hand out against my father’s abuse. In that moment of prayer Jesus spoke to my heart and said, “You are not alone. I am with you. I will protect you. I will be the father you never had.”

Bitterness has Drained

My father is still not perfect, but a change has taken place inside my heart. I have forgiven my father. My bitterness has drained away and I am at peace around him. I am no longer waiting for Dad to be different. I would like him to change in some ways, but it is not so important to me anymore because I have discovered that where my earthly father has failed me, my Heavenly Father has provided for me.

I love my dad, not because of how he treated me as a boy, but because of how my Heavenly Father treats me. My dad has some good qualities. He taught me how to use my hands and to work hard. And he likes to study the Bible. But my love for him does not come from his good or bad qualities, it comes from an overflow of love that my Father in Heaven pours out on me.

My father is not perfect, and neither am I. But I do have a Father who is perfect. And I know this Father will never harm me or call me names, even when I fail. God is the perfect Father I never had and the Lord will be a perfect Father for you as well. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

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By Bob Miller,
pseudonym. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.


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