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Monday, February 6, 2012

Healing Family Memories

It was the Sunday of Father's Day. She attended a church service with her husband. The minister brought a message to his congregation entitled, "Honor Your Father." After the service, a woman asked for an appointment to visit his office. When she came for the conference, she expressed strong anger about his message from the preceding Sunday. She went on to explain that her father verbally and physically abused her mother. She asked the minister, "How could I honor a man who was so mean to my mother?" The minister assured her that God was not pleased with the way he treated her mother. The minister went on to say, "The greatest way that you could honor your heavenly Father is to forgive your dad."

It's difficult to honor an abusive parent. Counselors offices may have a stream of people who bring stories of abuse and neglect. The need for inner-healing from the hurts of the past are evident. Their stories must be shared with someone who cares and understands. The anger and frustration needs to be expressed. Anger is a part of grieving the past. If it is not expressed, healing the memories will not come. The lady who expressed her anger toward an abusive dad actually felt safe to share her hurt with the pastor. He understood why she was angry. He also knew that she needed to come to a point of forgiveness and inner-healing.

The journey toward inner-healing takes time. Different emotions, such as denial, anger, guilt, and bitterness, must be processed. Understanding that it is never God's will for a parent to be neglectful nor abusive is important in the healing journey. God is love, and parents are given an opportunity to teach and model God's unconditional love with their children. However, there are times when children need to forgive their parents.

Forgiveness is a choice. It doesn't erase the memories, but it opens the way for God to take the pain out of the memories. This is the place of inner-healing. The broken-hearted person can experience the healing power in God our Father's unconditional love.

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