Dr. Paul Meier of the Meier Clinics (www.meierclinics.com) answered a question from a KLOVE listener today on how he can learn to love God if his earthly father was harsh and overbearing. Here's what he had to say:
1. GOD IS DIFFERENT THAN YOUR FATHER (OR MOTHER). When we learn to pray as a preschooler, research shows that we are actually thinking, “Dear Heavenly version of my earthly father…” So we become prejudiced against God. Those with absent fathers tend to become atheists.
2. PARENTS CAN BE LEGALISTIC AND CONDITIONALLY ACCEPTING, BUT GOD IS UNCONDITIONALLY ACCEPTING AND SAYS “NO CONDEMNATION” IN ROMANS 8:1, WANTING US TO LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES. Those with abusive fathers tend to see God as holding a whip, waiting to punish them for their sins, rather than the gracious God of Romans 8:1 who promises that “there is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION,”
3. YOU DON’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT. GOD ANSWERS EVERY PRAYER, SOME WITH “YES,” SOME WITH “NO,” AND SOME WITH “LATER.” Those spoiled by their fathers tend to be attracted to “name it, claim it” religions that teach God will give you everything you ask for and heal every illness no matter what. Those with extremely domineering fathers are attracted to cults or legalistic churches dominated by selfish leaders who love thinking for you and using you. And children growing up with rejecting fathers also will tend to think their Heavenly Father is critical and rejecting like their earthly fathers.
4. SOME PARENTS ARE CONTROLLING, BUT GOD WANTS YOU TO LEARN TO THINK FOR YOURSELF AND MAKE GOOD CHOICES. Those with loving fathers who encourage you to think for yourself and to express your feelings are more likely to NOT put up with abuse, to find loving mates and healthy, loving churches, and see God as loving and wanting you to be an independent thinker.
5. GOD GIVES US THE STRENGTH TO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR US (AND OTHERS). The good news is that Philippians 4:13 tells us we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us. We can change our stinking thinking that so often messes up our lives by seeing the truth and making new choices.
6. BE AWARE OF YOUR PREJUDICES AGAINST GOD AND PRAY FOR THE REAL GOD TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO YOU, EVEN IN THE DAY BY DAY EVENTS OF YOUR LIFE. The solution is to be aware of your prejudices toward God and pray for Him to help you see what He is really like.
7. MEDITATE ON PSALM 139 TO SEE WHAT THE REAL GOD IS LIKE. Memorize and meditate on the first half of Psalm 139, which teaches you that the REAL GOD designed you in your mother’s womb. He thought about you specifically when you fell asleep last night and woke up this morning. He will think about you so many times today that you cannot count them. With one arm He hugs you, and with the other He guides you. Look for and recognize His presence in the “coincidences” in your life. Spend time not only praying to him like you would talk to your best friend, but also staying silent and listening for him to give you positive thoughts and ideas. Even look for Him teaching you things in your dreams. Then your relationship with THE REAL GOD will grow.
Paul Meier MD
Got a question for Dr. Meier? Feel free to ask it here or email email@example.com.
Click here to listen to our conversation with Dr. Meier.