Can Your Earthly Father Skew Your Perception on God’s Forgiveness?

What type of father did you have when it came to punishment and forgiveness?  Was he:

  1. Immediate, harsh, and punitive.  He really knew how to get the point across, and compliance was out of fear.
  2. Laid back- Did he allow you to make mistakes?  Did he tell you not to do things… over and over again?  Very little punishment or correction was given.
  3. Confusing- No definite boundaries, or boundaries that changed according to mood.  Punishment seemed random.
  4. Hands off- Not really involved in punishment or correction what so ever.  You pretty much did your own thing.
  5. Loving, firm, and explanatory- This type of father explained why you were being punished, and why it was wrong.  You knew you deserved to be corrected, and your father was fair.  Guidelines were clearly established and explained.

Now how does this affect how we see God?

We often see God through the lens of our earthly father- even though the two are clearly different.  Men should strive to be like God in all areas, and seek to emulate Him.  Fathers have their faults, but God’s love, correction, and forgiveness are perfect.

If your dad was #1 on the list, you see God as punitive.  God becomes the harsh task-master that will seek His revenge if you deviate even just a little bit.  You struggle with forgiveness because your father reminded you often of past mistakes, and used these infractions as a way to punish you further- usually out of anger.  You struggle with a forgiving God because  the idea of someone forgiving you without penance is foreign.

Your perception of God is skewed.

If your dad was #2 on the list, you view God as loving.  He will let you make mistakes… over and over again… without any correction.  You are unable to reconcile that yes, God forgives, yes, God is merciful, but you can’t reconcile that God also corrects.

Your perception of God is skewed.

Was your dad #3 on the list?  You are confused by God.  You see your life as a random series of events that you have no control over.  You see God as whimsical who can love you one minute, and punish you out of the blue the next.  Your sense of forgiveness is that it may happen and it will be good.  It may happen and be taken away (this father is driven by emotion).  Or that forgiveness may never occur.  Trust is a big factor in your life.

Your perception of God is skewed.

Dad #4 was really removed from your upbringing.  There was no structure, guidance, or influence.  You were left to your own.  You struggle with whether there is a God and feeling close to Him.  You struggle with the attachment of a loving father.  You may have a concept of forgiveness, but God’s type of forgiveness seems foreign as you have never been really punished, and have basically made up your own rules.  You struggle with correction.  It may be why God would correct, or disliking the fact that God does correct- out of love.

Your perception of God is skewed.

If your dad was #5, then you were blessed by a man who obviously has a deep understanding of scripture.  Don’t feel that you are off the hook, however, as your dad was human.  You may struggle with the fact that God forgives unconditionally, and that He isn’t disappointed in you.  You may struggle with a God of second chances, and that the only requirement of forgiveness is repentance.

Brenda Stapleton will take you on a journey into God’s forgiveness, what the “requirements” are, and what it looks like.  She will dispel all myths surrounding the issue and bring greater clarity on the subject.

Be prepared for greater clarity on the subject on August 28th with the release of our September issue!


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