How to heal the broken lens abusive fathers leave
“Abuse from my earthly father makes it hard for me to see any father as good, including God.”
If this is you, if you struggle to see any father as good, you are not alone. God is not angry at you. He understands how you have been hurt, and it hurts Him that your father did not reflect His love or His goodness.
God wants to repair the broken lens for each person in this struggle. He wants us to see how lavishly He pours out His love for us. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God!” (1 John 3:1).
It is easy to think our heart’s lens is beyond repair, that we are too jaded, too hardened, or too bitter to God as our father. But God’s love can change the most hardened mind and give us brand new eyes, new hearts, and new lives.
God is Not Like Your Dad
How do we take the first step, though? How do we trust God enough to take a chance on His love? First, we embrace God’s Word as truth. His promises, not our experiences, get to define who He is and set the standard for what it means to be a father.
When we agree to see God for who He says He is, we realize that earth’s worst fathers distort our understanding of God’s perfect goodness. Our heavenly Father is our provider, rescuer, protector, comforter, and healer. Abusive human fathers exemplify the opposite.
God showed His great love for us when Jesus came to earth (Romans 5:8). Jesus showed us a different way to live, revealed God’s fatherly love, and removed sin’s power over us.
In His death and resurrection, Jesus conquered evil and made a way for us to know God as a father. And in His life, Jesus suffered every abuse imaginable, making Him the perfect person to go to with our pain and confusion (Hebrews 4:15).
See Fatherhood as God Designed It
The way we see and know God is through accepting Him as the loving Father He is. We open the door to healing when we believe and accept the miracle He gives us through Jesus’ victory over evil: “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18, CSB).
When we open our hearts to Jesus, God opens our eyes to see Him clearly. His Spirit allows us to see differently and repairs the broken lens abusive fathers leave. Accepting Jesus’ gift of new life is the first and most important step toward healing from all the hurt we have endured. We learn to consciously separate our earthly father experience from our heavenly Father experience.
An important next step is getting help from good counselors who have a strong, healthy relationship with Jesus (Ephesians 4:14-16). Others Christians are our forever family. Through the family of believers, God helps us attain a clear, healthy, and joyful understanding of His love.
Find Freedom in a New Family
“But what if my abuser is still in my life? How do I escape that influence on my view of God?”
Over time, God empowers us to forgive our abusers, but we may have to love them from a distance. We pray for their salvation and healing, but we must choose safety for ourselves, for our own physical, mental, and spiritual health.
We grow stronger and healthier as our family in Christ helps us relearn what family looks like, family as God intends it to be. We all need spiritual mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, who will provide biblical advice, support, and encouragement.
We gain this family bond by attending gatherings and letting others into our pain. Some experiences of God’s fullness and presence can be experienced only when we gather. Healing and encouragement come when we’re close enough to pray with one another and hug one another. Our experience of God’s presence is greater when we sing together. And, we learn to listen to His Spirit as we serve one another.
The more we get to know God and develop relationships with other believers, the clearer our view of His love becomes. There is no lens too shattered for God to heal! Embrace Him, receive Him, and see Him clearly. He is our perfect, loving Father.