I grew up in a Christian family – a homeschool Christian family where Mum and us three older girls read the Word of God together, memorised it, wrote it and studied the heck out of Genesis.
And still I flail.
Sometimes I over-analyse my childhood and actions of my parents, and there are things that I find affecting me deeply. It’s been a work in progress this processing my childhood through a Biblical lens.
How do we honour our parents for their efforts and yet acknowledge the shortcomings?
Honour we must though, because honouring our parents is a Biblical command, and it has a reward attached – that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. It’s in the ten commandments, but it also appears in the New Testament (Ephesians 6:2).
In fact the question could be asked, if things are not going well for you in the land, are there instances of dishonouring of your parents that need to be confessed before God and repented of?
Sometimes it feels like an awkward dance of Honour V Being Honest about the Situation. There is a balance, which God has been teaching us, and the practical sense of how that works.
Processing our childhood is necessary because honouring someone is both a choice, as is forgiveness, and yet out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.
So it’s very important to have our hearts healed.
If you went on a beautiful bushwalk, and saw a cascading waterfall, in sunny, yet cool weather, and yet in the process got covered in those pesky little things called stickybeaks, (grass prickles that stick to everything) which do you focus on?
Do you let the walk become ruined by the stickybeaks? Yet we must deal with them, or they could rub our skin raw.
(Maybe on your bushwalk (childhood) there weren’t merely sticky beaks, but child abuse in whichever form. There is hope. These basic steps I’m sharing here WILL help, but I also encourage you to seek professional help. )
I’m sharing three ways that I’ve learned to deal with childhood issues, through spending the last ten years in some form of prayer ministry whether, Victorious Ministry Through Christ, Elijah House or the Healing Rooms.
Begin by praying a prayer of openness to God, giving Him permission to bring things to your attention. You don’t need to go looking, but He searches our hearts and will bring things to our attention if we are willing and open.
Start with forgiveness. If there are areas of your life that rub sore, ask God if there is anyone you need to forgive, and secondly, ask God if there is sin on your part from that situation you need to confess. Wipe the slate clean.
Remember too, forgiveness is a choice and you can choose to say it out loud and it will eventually become the way you feel too. And forgiveness is NOT saying that what someone did is ok, it’s taking them off your hook and putting them on God’s. It’s choosing not to drink the same poison over and over, because that’s what unforgiveness and offence are.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
If there is something bothering you that you just can’t get past, pray ‘God, if it’s my problem, show me, and if it’s their problem, show them.’ God taught me this prayer early in our marriage and it’s helped many people since. It softens the hearts of both people involved and often reveals deeper root issues than we realise exist.
Going even deeper still, are judgements. These are rooted in pride, and can be as simple as, ‘thank God I never have to drag my toddler to the car, she just comes when she’s called.’ Guess who’s dragging her toddler to the car? This Mummy, within minutes of thinking that thought. Or, ‘I will never be like my mother, my father’ etc.
We are judging ourselves even without realizing, to be more spiritual, more organized, more disciplined, more . . .whatever, and often dysfunctional patterns in our lives that we just can’t kick are related to this root of pride and judgement.
Often the people we judge most severely are our parents.
In the Bible, the law of sowing and reaping affects every area of our life. If you sow judgement, you will reap judgement.
Matthew 7:1-2 NIV “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Ask God if there is fruit in your life that can be traced back to a root of judgement. Remember, even the largest tree or dysfunctional behaviour starts as a seed. The steps to take when God reveals something are very simple.
I confess as sin pride and judging of (name individual). I repent and declare ‘that every root of judgement that is causing me to bear bad fruit, has no longer any right to affect my life, and I uproot it in Jesus Name.’
It is important when we uproot something bad in our lives to replace it with something good, by praying that where the root of judgement was, that we would be rooted deeply in Christ and bearing good fruit. We can also pray that the root of judgement would be replaced by an attitude of humility in your life.
A really comprehensive teaching by John and Paula Sandford can be found here.
God loves us, and that’s why He insists on pruning us, so that we can bear much fruit.
NKJV John 15:2 “every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
Lies we are Believing
One more area that we need to look at is that of how we see Father God. Often our relationship with our earthly father or other important male figures in our lives, deeply impact how we see God. If our father was controlling or angry we can see God this way.
Author Joanna May Chee shared about this and how she found freedom in an interview I did with her a few months ago.
Yes, your childhood defines you, but you can move forward. There are many incredible stories of people with the most dysfunctional childhoods who have received deep healing through using these principles and grown into beautiful people. They’ve found freedom through Biblically processing their childhood.
I’m still processing, and probably will be for the rest of my life, but I’m choosing to remember the lush green and the waterfalls, and not focus on the stickybeaks.
I hope this helps you in your journey of Biblically processing your childhood, and I’d love to hear any little or big keys that have helped you on your journey.
I’m linking up with my friends over at Salt and Light Linkup today.