This article is the sequel to Help! I Am Angry With My Parents! In that post, I elaborated 5 critical reminders to help quell the flames of anger toward a parent or parents: 1) We are quick to remember the pain people caused us and quick to forget the good things they did for us; 2) Our parents more often than not did the best they could; 3) There are no what ifs in life; 4) If you don’t like it, change it; 5) Our parents will not live forever. Go check that out if you haven’t already.
In this article, I want to add a sixth dimension to the conversation, the God factor, inspired by Psalm 27:10.
Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.Psalm 27:10
The Trauma Of Parental Abandonment
There are kids who rebel against parents; and then there are parents who forsake children. Other translations say, “For my mother and father have forsaken me…” The Psalmist is likely not making an abstract statement here; he almost certainly lived the trauma of this verse.
Our parents are said to represent God to us more than anything and anyone else. God is the life-giver, and our parents are the ones who gave us life. God is all-powerful, and parents are like superheroes to children; as babies, we depended on them to meet our every need. God is the narrator of our lives, and his word commands instant authority. As children, we naturally believe everything our parents tell us. We accept their word as the absolute truth.
We often consciously and unconsciously attribute our parents’ defects to God. If my father is irascible, then surely God must be an angry God. If my mother is cold and distant, then surely God must be cold and distant. In like manner, we transfer the trauma of being rejected by our parents to our relationship with God. If my parents do not love or understand me, then surely God must not love or understand me.
God Is Not Our Parents
Psalm 27:10 is so powerful because it refutes this common tendency to conflate the character and actions of our parents with those of God. Psalm 27:10 asserts that even if our parents abandon us, the greatest act of disavowal possible, God would turn around and do the opposite.
The best of men are men at best. And there are few things as dangerous and distorted as the worst of them. The truth is that people are rarely ever accurate representatives of God. If you want to know what God is like, then read the Gospels.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30
Make no mistake, everything in this article applies not only to parents but to grandparents, as well, who often fulfill the same role. Not everyone’s grandparents are the model of unconditional love and support that many of us take for granted.
In closing, I would like to reiterate a definition of honoring our parents that I have find particularly helpful. It was originally taken from a Spanish internet meme.
To honor our parents means to thank them for the life they have given us, to accept and take responsibility for what they were not able to give, to live a worthy life, and to honor their presence in our hearts.Wisdom Of The Internet
It takes emotional maturity to move forward and do the right thing whenever those “first relationships” go south. If that describes your situation today, then know that you have help and are up to the challenge.
For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.