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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Family of Origin

I'm still overwhelmed, a bit. But thought I'd share just a tidbit of what we've been covering in class.

One of the things I've been teaching on, encouraging students to deal with both intellectually and experientially, is to look at their family of origin, especially at parents. Biblically parents play a huge role in teaching us who God is. Read Hebrews 12, for example. So it makes sense for students to look at who their parents (for the sake of example, let's start with fathers) are and say, "Does my father's identity mesh with who God the Father is revealed to be in scripture?" Often what we find is that because of an earthly father's faults or weaknesses, the student's perception of who God is has been twisted. It's a helpful exercise, then, to deal with that in a healthy way. How?

First, recognize that your earthly father's weaknesses are not legitimately superimposed on God.

Second, confess to God that you have done this.

Third, ask God to show you who he really is, what he's really like.

Fourth, seek him in the Bible and try to find out what his character is really like rather than making assumptions about him.

Note: Many times, we know intellectually that it's not legitimate to put our human father's weaknesses on God the Father. But we react to God at an emotional level because of these old wounds. If dad was distant, we think God is uncaring. If dad was a workaholic, we think God has more important things to do. If dad flew into fits of rage, we fear God's wrath. And so on.

God longs for us to know him as he truly is.

In fact, that is the point of Jesus becoming human. He became flesh, died, and rose again so that the dividing wall between us and God might be taken away, so we could have a real relationship with God. Don't let that just be theoretical -- seek to know God for who he really is!

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