So many have a very hard time connecting and relating to God as a loving Father, mainly because of their flawed earthly experiences. For all of us, we have had an upbringing with a father who exhibited one or more of the following traits. With most people, there is an overlap of these they have experienced from their own father.
Here are six common unhealthy father experiences that can hinder our understanding of a loving heavenly Father.
1. The Harsh Father:
This type of father may have been friendly, but his oversight of the children was strict, harsh and usually riddled with anger out bursts. The family did not feel safe to make mistakes around him. He may have even been religious or even a pastor. He put strict rules and regulations on the home that became more constricting then life giving. His words were more guilt-ridden than loving. In this atmosphere, many began to see God as very moody and angry.
2. Addict Father:
His lack of self love drove a deep need to be loved, which propels men deep into addictions, ranging from alcoholism and drug abuse, to pornography or gambling addictions. Each addiction has a damaging effect on the house. Kids become vulnerable to fear because of the emotional instability that dad had. Their upbringing becomes so twisted that they cannot relate to God in clear and stable ways.
3. Performing Father:
This is the dad who immersed himself into work or activities that involved work-like projects. He was very uncomfortable to simply sit down with his kids and have a heart to heart conversation. He rarely sat still or relaxed–he was always working on something. He was very comfortable at work and performed well there. In fact, people at work thought he was great.
However, when he came home, he got lost in another work task or home improvement project. In his mind, his way of showing love was through working and doing projects; yet what was really needed was his loving presence relationally. His ability to be the loving leader in the home was put on the shelf. He was a slave instead of a son. He evaluated his identity on what he did, not on who he was.
4. Passive Father:
The performing fathers were often very connected at work but disconnected at home. Because they often lived performance lifestyles, they carried a work persona that was fabricated. This pleased the coworkers, but when he came home, he collapsed onto the couch and was emotionally unavailable. He did not lead the home, which left Mom to do everything around the house, including caring for the kids and doing spiritual activities with them–like prayer or Bible reading.
5. Absentee Father:
This is the father who was never around. He was sucked into work, ministry or removed himself completely, absent either physically or emotionally. This pattern runs deep in many family lines. Fathers become overwhelmed with their fears and abandoned the duty as leader of the home to pursue something that allows them to avoid the pain. This abandonment can be detrimental to a child’s emotional development as well as their physical health in the future.
6. Abusive Father:
Abuse comes in many forms; usually through physical, sexual, verbal and emotional pathways. All of them form intense wounds in our lives that keep us from understanding love and also allow the snares of the enemy’s strongholds to remain intact. Even a father’s silence when he should speak for his children is a form of abuse. It allows a child to be hung out to dry while the enemy’s snipers take aim.
These manifestations in our fathers contribute towards keeping us from receiving the Spirit of Adoption from God. Instead of being grounded on love and acceptance, our lives become infused with rejection. Instead of living out of the spirit of Adoption, we end up living on a foundation built by a spirit of rejection. As a result, we feel unloved and unaccepted, with an impression that we need to earn love or find counterfeit ways to feel loved.
The quicker we notice the how these traits may have affected us, the quicker we can begin to recongnize how we transpose that unto God.
Question: In what way can you begin to renew your lens so that these six areas do not prevent you from a deep, loving and intimate relationship with Father God?