Some of you know I ran a poll on social media this week to see what topic I should write about. Surprise! Grace & forgiveness towards parents won.
My initial thought was kind of surprised and I was really curious about what’s happened in people’s lives to choose this topic. How many of us haven’t forgiven our parents for something? How many experience strained relationships with their parents? How many don’t have a relationship with them at all?
A bit of a disclosure, I’ve been very blessed in the parental department. I’ve never had any serious issues, they’re still married (happy 31 years today!), and they’re some of my best friends today. That also doesn’t mean it’s always been perfect.
To kids, parents are everything. Providers, protectors, loving, responsible, all knowing, adults. If you’re an adult, you obviously have all the answers – *sarcasm.* Take the perspective of a parent and you’re doing the best you can with what you’ve got. This is your first time doing this parenting thing. You’ve never been in the situation where your kid is bullying someone and you have to discipline them. You’ve never experienced your daughter starting to date and you have to grit your teeth through that process. You haven’t had to deal with your teenager starting to try alcohol and/or weed.
To us at the time, our parents were ridiculous. They were wrong. They were closed-minded and overbearing. To our parents at the time, they didn’t know what the heck to do. They knew we shouldn’t be doing the things we were doing, and they made the decisions they thought were best at the time.
We all have those times growing up where we didn’t understand what our parents were doing. Those times where you had no clue what their logic was, why they did what they did, and maybe you began to question their love towards you. You felt like they betrayed you. They abandoned you. Maybe you felt unwanted.
I’ve, personally, never questioned if my parents love me, but I have wondered why they chose the route they did. There have been a couple of times in my life where I’ve felt the weight of disappointment on my shoulders, and it’s a hard place to be in. It’s a hard place to be in because I love my parents, I respect my parents, and I think highly of them. But, maybe I’ve thought too highly of them. Maybe I put them on a pedestal.
Pedestal: a position in which someone is greatly or uncritically admired; idealize, admire, revere, hold in high regard… idolize.
I’m sure we’ve all felt like someone has had unattainable expectations for us. You were given a task to do and couldn’t successfully complete it. A significant other expected a lot from you emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. You had high expectations for yourself and never felt like you were good enough. Then you turned around and expected your parents to be perfect but they never were. They let you down.
Here’s the kicker, guys. Our parents are humans. They’re sinful, broken, messy humans. It was their first time parenting. They are not perfect. They didn’t know what they were doing. They were trying. And sometimes they failed. Sometimes they failed big, but this is where grace & forgiveness step in. This is where you take them off of that pedestal and stop idolizing them. This is where you realize they are your Earthly parents and God is your Heavenly Father. This is where you forgive them.
“That forgiveness is not mostly about me, or for me. I was freed to love someone who was hard to love. That was thrilling and ultimately incredibly freeing to me, and it was a huge blessing to my father before he died. But even that is not the fullest account of what happens when we forgive. When we give up our right for justice and our desire for revenge and we pour out mercy instead, do you know what happens? Heaven! It’s a huge shot of heaven that begins to heal the brokenness of the world. This is the whole point of Christ’s own death. When we do this, we’re beginning to act like who we really are: Christians, “little Christs.”
If you’ve been abandoned, abused, ignored, or felt unloved, I am sorry. I am so sorry. I’m sorry that the sin of this world affected your home life the way it did, and I am sorry your parents treated you the way they did. But, please take solace in the fact that you are loved unconditionally, you are cherished, and you are precious in the eyes of God.
You are His child. You are a daughter of the King. You are a son of the King. You have a Dad who loves you deeply and you will have a perfect home one day.