This is how I see this series of blogs developing. I have already written about 75 pages in this recent series on orientation. I see this series developing into a "book" of sorts. All that we have up to this point is under the Section: "Our Father in Heaven. Hallowed be Your name". The section is about how to properly orient one's heart toward God in light of the Biblical revelation of God as Father, Lord and Savior. The key to this orientation is what I call a Gospel orientation as opposed to a legal orientation or an orientation toward to flesh. The essential difference is seeing God as provider of all and allowing the Gospel to be grace and power toward us. The gospel is an arrow downward.
The latest post, prior to this one, dealt with our understanding of both God's infinite thoughts toward us and His inherent affection toward us based on Christ in us. All this propels us toward a proper view of God as Father as a person moves toward a biblical relationship with God.
Today, I am going to look at some basic types of Parent-child relationships to help all of us better understand how we approach our heavenly Father.
Just a reminder, all of this is based on Paul's exhortations to the Galatians to avoid legal religion like the plague. If you think a little self-loathing will better leaven your lump and whip you into righteousness, I suggest looking at Galatians 3-4. Anyway…
Four Types of Parent-Child Relationships
The first type of parent child relationship is
1. A Relationship of Neglect
In this type of relationship the parent is generally obsessed with something other than the child. My wife and I have a saying: "people over things". This means family over the newspaper. Kids are more important than blogging. So often the pressures of life distract us. We can become workaholics or worse. In today's world, socio-economic norms drive people toward a relationship of neglect towards their kids. Some parents do not know how to connect with their children in order to have intimate communication. Ultimately, the child gets the sense or comes to the revelation that they just don't matter to mom and dad. This leads to the very real cry of, "You were never there for me". Or "My parents just don't give a rip about me". This relationship of neglect and its by-product is not God's plan for parenthood and the nurture of the human psyche. Kids in this place often act out to get attention. See the kid with the multiple piercings. Who is raising that child? I think it is often their peers and not their parents.
This type of parent-child relationship is an extremely common characteristic in our relationship with God the Father. American civil religion is based on a combination of deism, which says God doesn't interact in our world (He doesn't touch us), and grandma's sentimentality. Both of these influences undermine true biblical faith.
God doesn't live up on a throne on a cloud. Such images will never touch our real world. Life is filled with mean people scheming to do mean things. That is why we worship a crucified savior who knows all the realties that move our soul to distraction. Life is a very real blood-covered existence and our savior has given us the path to live a morally beautiful life in the midst of these realities. God has fully and absolutely identified with all of life. He knows life on earth. Jesus was fully "incarnated".
Jesus taught us that the Father knows every hair on our head and is aware of every hair that falls from our head.
How numerous are His thoughts of us; they are more numerous than the sands on the seashore.
Our Father's only obsession is being intimate with us. As much as it feels like He is neglecting us, nothing could be further from the truth.