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As we celebrate Father’s Day today, we have to acknowledge that there are many bad fathers and indeed bad men out there – fathers who are absent or disengaged, fathers who beat their partners, fathers who rape or murder other women, fathers who beat or sexually abuse their children. Far too many people have had negative experiences of fathering.
I too have my own experiences of this, including being sexually exploited by a man who, recognising my vulnerabilities, set himself up as a father figure and took advantage of me when I was young.
For those of us who have had negative experiences of fathering, building a relationship with God, who is our heavenly Father, can be a corrective emotional experience. It can begin to undo the negative impacts of inadequate human fathering.
Let me tell you about our Father God:
- Father God is always listening and always ready to respond. He hears our cry and he responds to us.
- Father God loves us utterly, unconditionally, extravagantly. To the moon and back. There is nothing he would not do for us.
- Father God has super-high expectations of us. But he never rejects us when we don’t live up to them. And he always forgives us when we fail.
- Father God, when we leave him, stands in the road, waiting for us, looking for us. And when he finally sees he throws out his arms and runs down the road to welcome us.
- Father God feeds us. He sets a lavish table for us and invites our best friends to join in the meal. He pours out drink that overflows with generosity.
- Father God promises to be with us always, every moment, and to the very end of time.
If you have had a negligent, or absent, or emotionally unavailable, or overly strict, or violent, or sexually abusive father, know that you have a Father in heaven who loves you utterly and in a completely non-exploitative way.
Today is a day when we can say, “Happy Father God Day”!
Featured image from https://wicbreastfeeding.fns.usda.gov/some-ways-dads-can-bond-baby