Our Incredibly Loving Father
Few things devastate a nation like failed fathering. Statistics show emotional and societal damage caused by failed fathering. For example,Our Incredibly Loving Father Articles in the USA over 90% of prisoners are males; 95% of those on death row hated their fathers. Unfortunately, not only prisoners, but many people don’t know their fathers or have failed relationships with them. This is all around us. We know it only too well.
The Danger of a Distorted Image
What we may fail to see is that this failed fathering creates a distorted image of Father God in our hearts. Bearing a distorted image of God unwittingly blocks us from discovering our true image. It also distorts how we try to live.
We are created in God’s image, to bear it, not just reflect it. The image of God we bear (or carry) deep in our hearts is everything in our spiritual life. It determines how we seek Him, act towards others, and how we respond to what He allows in our lives. For example, if I fear that the Father is a hard judge towards me, I will not only stay away from Him, I will become a hard judge towards others. We become like the Image of God we carry!
Jesus kept spiritual eyes constantly upon the Father’s heart for Him and us. All that He did flowed out of that ongoing faith connection. That’s why it’s important to keep our hearts rightly set on a true image of God.
Consider the powerful influence of these three image-shapers:
1. Adams nature in us still tries to hide from God in guilt, fear of punishment, and shame over our sinful ‘nakedness’.
2. Our birth fathers and mothers might have created powerful, but false impressions of what God the Father is like by being distant, uncaring, over-bearing, unaffectionate, abusive, threatening, harsh in discipline, angry in punishment and sinful.
3. Our spiritual fathers, such as pastors and teachers, may have planted wrong images of the Father by being unloving, judgmental, easily offended, stern and strict. In a word: different from Jesus. Not so much by their words, as by their ways.
These distorted images don’t reveal the Father’s heart of love but instead, resemble the enemy’s ‘dark heart’. We must cast down these false images by first forgiving those who sowed distorted images in us, then by renouncing the lies that were planted and confessing the truth in their place.
The Image Formed by Family
Our fathers and mothers are god-like to pappablogt us when we are little. They teach us right from wrong and exercise complete power over us. This can contribute to a distorted image of Father God, if their ways don’t match up with the Lord’s.
Earthly fathers should create a solid foundation of love, affection and proper discipline to mold children properly. Lack of this foundation causes a void, often a hurting wound which the enemy takes advantage of. Thus the ‘father wound’—a pervasive, deadly and societal curse—emerges. Small wonder we need so much restoration!
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Yahweh comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. Malachi 4:5-6
Clarifying Our Image of the Father