Forgiving Our Parents As We'd Want Our Children To Forgive Us - Today Can Be Different

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 of them, “I have always loved you. Imperfectly, yes. But always.”

I have no doubt my mom and dad would say the same thing if they were still alive. Wouldn’t you to your children?

Being a good parent, especially a single one, is one of the most challenging roles there is. As much as we wished we’d been perfect parents or had perfect parents, I know only one perfect Parent. Let’s ask our heavenly Father to help us forgive our moms and dads, even if they’ve already died.

I realize some of you were abused as a child. I’m not minimizing this in any way. You have much to work through, and I pray you’ve 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? Our parents probably have already beaten themselves up and wished they’d been a whole lot closer to perfect.

This 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?

If you’re a child of an imperfect, yet a sincerely caring parent, what would you like to say to your mom, dad, or both? If you are one of those imperfect parents, yet sincerely tried to be a good mom or dad, what would you like to say to your children? Why not take the time to have these conversations soon?

While we’re on the subject, 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 will set us on the road toward healing – and help break the dysfunctional cycle.

On a personal note, with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in mind, I love you and miss you, Mom and Dad – mistakes and all.

What about you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post. (Your comment might also benefit others.)

  • How would it change your perspective if you saw your parents as people who suffered their own hurts and their own unmet needs?

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