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"Loving God, Loving Myself" Week Three, Day One -- You're Just Like Your Father"

You teach what you know,

But you impart who you are.

-—Jack Frost

Jesus came to point us to the Father. If you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father (John 14:9). If you’ve known Jesus’s compassion, love, forgiveness, tenderness, and tears, then you know Abba Father’s as well. If you know his teaching, leading, guiding, correcting, and healing—then, you also know Abba Father’s. The heart of Jesus and the Father are identical. Jesus wants everyone to know that if you overlay his attributes right on top of the Father’s, it would be a perfect match.

Sometimes in our Christianity, we choose to focus primarily on Jesus (our salvation through the cross) and pray only to Jesus. Is it okay to love and pray to Jesus and keep our distance from the Father? It’s amazing to us how many people can pray to God in general, but when we ask them to pray, “Father God,” they cannot because of the overlay of their earthly fathers onto God. As counselors, we know that the disconnect or resistance to the Father is usually from a childhood wound.

A client of ours who had been sexually abused by her father had to wrestle for a year over her repulsion of God as Father. It wasn’t that she hated God; she just couldn’t punch through the image of her abusive father. With painstaking slowness, God pulled back the layers of her wounds and healed her.

Sometimes the words “You’re just like your father/mother” can be flattering. For instance: “You have your father’s wit—his charm—his business sense,” or, “You have your mother’s creativity—her musical ability—her warm personality.” But in our counseling experience, being compared to one’s parent is rarely a compliment.

Let’s say you told all your friends or even your own children, “When you see me, you’ve seen my father (or mother). I am just like him/her.” I don’t know about you, but I know several people who would cringe at that statement. During a heated argument, spouses may use words like that as a weapon. Things seldom go well after that; it is definitely not taken as a compliment. In counseling, we ask couples to make a covenant with each other to never say “You’re just like . . .”; it just adds fuel to the fire.

When a spouse throws the dagger, “You are just like your father (or mother),” it often communicates something specific. Ponder each statement below and see which ones describe your father or mother when you were growing up. Then ask yourself if any of these issues show up in your significant relationships.

  • You are not there for us when we need you. You are always working or watching sports—just like your ­­­father.

  • You never make time for the kids or me. We don’t matter. If you didn’t bring home the paycheck, we wouldn’t even know you live here—just like your father.

  • You are so selfish. Everything is always about you—just like your mother.

  • You always tell other people what to do, but nobody can tell you anything. You are so stubborn—just like your mother.

  • You never admit you’re wrong and don’t even believe you ever are. You never say you’re sorry—just like your father.

  • You never tell the kids you love them and are proud of them just for who they are—just like your father.

  • You never show any emotions except anger and rage—just like your father.

  • You are controlling. Mean. Perfectionistic. Critical. Abusive. Rigid. Explosive. Selfish—just like your mother.

  • You shame us with your words, gestures, or even just a look. You send a message that we can never measure up—just like your mother.

  • You are passive, unloving, uncaring, uninvolved. You are absent—just like your mother. 

Whether we like it or not, the wounds from our parents direct future patterns and ways we relate to others, especially in our closest relationships. We have heard so many people say they vowed never to be like their father or mother; then, to their chagrin, they became like their parent in more ways than they wanted to admit. We may attempt to tweak ourselves a little so it seems we’re not like our parents. But as the saying goes, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck.”

What patterns do you see in yourself that have an origin in your childhood? Does it even matter? Yes! It unequivocally matters to the Father. Your past is a place he longs to heal. Let him search your heart, showing you the rooms he wants to open and expose to the light of his truth. Follow him from room to room and allow him to begin healing all your brokenness and redeem your past. Your life. Only then will you be empowered to consistently respond—not merely react—in a healthy way.

Determine today to stop the generational patterns in yourself and in your children. The Father is all about helping you do that, so you can be more like him. He is hoping that the next time someone says to you, “You are just like your Father,” you can say, “Thanks.”

Thank God there is a road out of unhealthiness to wholeness. The first step is to recognize that loving yourself as the Father loves you is not a selfish act. Rather, to do otherwise is to disagree with the Father—and the Father is always right.


Father, this healing journey is taking longer than I thought. I thought that once I let you build the house in me, we would be finished—that you and I could just get on with doing life. But I can see that if you simply fixed me, I could get ahead of you instead of surrendering in utter dependence. Thank you, Father, that when I lean on you, you will never, and can never, move away—because you are always with me.

Help me again and again to come as a child, needing your strength in my weakness; your hope in my despair; your comfort for my pain, my fear, and my grief; your light when I am surrounded by darkness; your unchangeable presence when I feel rejected and alone. Loving Father, give me your eyes to see, your ears to hear, and your heart to understand—me. More of you in me makes me “just like my Father.” Thanks.


To listen to this post, narrated by Jerry and Denise, click here:  LGLM - You're Just Like Your Father Audio File

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