We’ve all heard stories from those who say their parents messed up their lives. While some stories are horrific, others are typical – albeit distressing – reflections of dysfunctional families.
I have no doubt my children love me. Yet I cringe at what they might share regarding the times I behaved in less-than-loving ways. Nevertheless, I can honestly say to each one, “I have always loved you. Imperfectly, yes. But always.”
And I have no doubt my parents would say the same thing if they were still alive. Wouldn’t you to your children?
Being a good parent (especially a single parent) is one of the most challenging roles that exists. And I know only one perfect Parent. Therefore, let’s ask our heavenly Father to help us forgive our parents, even if they’ve already died.
I realize some of you were abused by your parents. I’m not minimizing this in any way. You have much to work through, and I pray you have found a good counselor to guide you to healing and a place of eventual forgiveness.
For the rest of us – those whose parents weren’t abusive, but made their share of mistakes while we were growing up – what if we simply accepted that they are (or were) just as imperfect as we are now, as parents ourselves? What would happen if we saw our parents as people who suffered their own hurts and their own unmet needs?
If we think about it, our parents probably have already beaten themselves up and wished they’d been a whole lot closer to perfect.
Which brings us to Ephesians 4:32 (ESV): “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Isn’t this what we hope our children will do for us?
While we’re thinking about it, let’s also forgive ourselves for not being the flawless parent we hoped to be. Bitterness and guilt keep us in bondage to our past. Mercy and grace set us on the road toward healing – and helps break the dysfunctional cycle.
On a personal note with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in mind: I miss and love you, Mom and Dad – mistakes and all.
Sheryl H. Boldt is the author of the blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. Connect with her at SherylHBoldt@gmail.com.