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Forgiving Our Parents

Many of us were raised by parents loved us, but who were people With serious problems. In adulthood, unresolved childhood pain can stunt our spiritual Growth If we bring this pain to the Lord, His grace can help us to understand and forgive our parents. A child’s first image of God is his parents. When parents are faithful, firm and gentle, the children form a loving image of God. But some parents are harsh and abusive to their children, either physically or verbally. Some parents abandon their children. They leave the home or they abandon the children emotionally by being unavailable and unable to function as parents. Other parents rely too heavily on children emotionally, burdening them with their problems. Then the children must act as parents and there is no one to parent them. If we grew up with cold or abusive parents, we may think of God as quick to see our faults and to punish severely. If our parents abandoned us, we may find it impossible to trust God. We may leave within us that sense of shame, that there is something basically wrong with us and that we will never measure up. We hear the words "God loves you," but we don’t truly know it and experience it deep down inside. If our parents leaned too heavily on us emotionally, we may still need to be parented, no matter what our age. As adults, we bring these childhood hurts to the Lord, knowing that He is our true parent and our origin. He is our mother and father. He will never abandon us. We can meditate on the words Psalm 27: "Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me." We pray and meditate on these words daily until they become rooted in us, part of us. Gradually the love and healing power of God will soothe our hurts and make us know in our souls that we are loved by God. The Lord will parent us, no matter how old we are now. We can meditate on the words of the Lord from Isaiah 66: "You will be carried at the breasts and upon the knees; as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you." The Lord nourishes us in the most intimate and personal way. He delights in us and comforts us always. If we meditate and pray with these words daily, God’s grace can help us know inside that He is our parent He will never let us down. Most of our parents tried their best, but they had problems that had nothing to do with us. Sometimes they were so preoccupied with themselves that they were unable to meet their children’s needs We adults must ask God to help us forgive our parents if we are to grow past our childhood pain. It helps to pray for our parents by their first names: "Lord, bless Joe and Helen. They are your children. Forgive them and let them Know your love." Praying this way helps us know that our parents are just people like us in need of forgiveness. The answer to all of the hurts of our life is the tremendous healing power of God’s grace. He is truly our Father. Mary D. is a Catholic member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Questions or comments may be sent to Mary D., c/o the Arlington Catholic HERALD, 200 N. Glebe Rd. Suite 607, Arlington, Va. 22203. Copyright ?1997 Arlington Catholic Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016