Post details: Peeved towards God for dysfunctional family


Permalink 08:47:12 pm, Categories: By Trent, GraceHead counseling, 2511 words   English (US)

Peeved towards God for dysfunctional family

People ask me anonymous questions from time to time. Often they let me share their question and my answer in hopes that it will help someone else with the same question. After you read this, I think that you will see that it is a common question that people have, but few people are so candid to ask.

I am pleased to bring you this one for your edification. It has been edited for brevity, and my answer can be found only on the next page (check the link below the question)

First off, I "am" a born again believer. Now having said that, I don't have to pretend that coming born again means on the spot healing of everything and that the "new creature in Christ" emerges right there with no further hang ups or problems in life.
{edited here for brevity}

I am a member of a family that only talks like once a year around Christmas. If you try to have any kind of relationship throughout the year, you are "cut off" from knowing them. It is not just me, it is how the whole family is. It is not a Christ centered family but even in those I have seen some pretty strange and bizarre behaviors.

Since no one wants to have any kind of loving relationships (I have asked all of them and more than once. I even "reach out" but it is not returned) I feel very sad and lonely inside. I am not married (maybe one day but not right now, and not dating) and the loneliness gets pretty bad. The kinds of friends I have are superficial. hello, how are you? maybe go for a cup of coffee but they are not surrogate family type friendships.

I have been praying for years for God to let me know he loves me and to feel and experience his love so that i don't have to live a wretchedly lonely life. And yet this has not happened for me. It seems i just have to believe it becasue it is in the Bible but other than that, I don't experience it at all. I have no concept of God loving me. I grew up in a loveless home with alot of hate and anger and violence among family members.

And everyone now has cut off everyone else. I pray for my family but right now I suffer greatly from loneliness and have actual anger at God for not healing me from this pain and making himself real in my life.

I am truly about ready to give up on God because I don't see how he is coming through for me. I have told him I am desperately lonely since there is no love in my family and everyone cuts everyone off emotionally. I would think he (God) would have come throgh for me by now. And you said to be confidential and ask anything?

I have hatred, bitterness and anger in my heart towards God for having an unloving family. Even though I have accepted him as my Savior. Think a Christian can't feel this way? Think again. There is no doubt I am trying to live the Christian life the best I can but man, am I peeved at God for not making me have at least HIM for a loving source.

You have reached the end of the question.
But, take a minute and think about what things you could say to encourage someone like this.

That is such a tender question, isn't it?
It took me a few days to think it over, but here is how I answered.

{edited here for brevity} ...

One of the big obstacles to us is our emotional concepts of God. We run to God with our mind, but with our emotions we only want to bolt and flee. It makes sense when we hear Billy Graham so we make a decision while our mind is flooded with truth, but the next day we regret it because our emotions start to impact our perceptions. This is all very common.

Now I have a little list of questions that I got from "Abiding Life Ministries International" that are given to people to help them see how they feel about God when the roof is caving in, and everything is bad. This is a typical list of responses when people are at their worst:

(Beginning of ALMI hand-out) "Who is God?"

When I think about being with God I feel _Distant._

When I have to trust God I feel _That He may not come through for me._

When I think about God I wish _That He would just talk to me, because He is silent._

Sometimes I get angry with God, because _He doesn't answer._

It frustrates me when _God wants me to do something that I can't._

I really enjoy God when _He is there._ (But this person isn't enjoying God so it tells me that they feel that God isn't there.)

The one thing that I would change about myself to please God is _Everything._

When I think about God's commandments, I feel like _a failure, and His judgment is coming._

Sometimes I wish God would _Take me home._ (suicidal people have a hard time witnessing, because they don't want to inflict others with their source of misery.)

I can really depend upon God when _I do everything right._

In my relationship with God I always feel like He is going to _Get me, reveal me, and make me pay._

The one thing that frightens me about God is _His judgment._

God surprises me when _He helps._

When I fall I feel that God is _Unhappy._

One of the things that I am afraid that God will do is _Take one of my children to get my attention._
(end of ALMI list)

I bet some of those answers are familiar to you. This list is a typical one that the ministry gets filled in, but it nearly matches what you have been telling me about yourself.

We have needs that only God can meet. These are spiritual needs that are only met in Him: security, commitment, love, stability, intimacy, safety, acceptance. We know that nobody but God can meet those needs, but at the same time we are not emotionally comfortable to trust God to meet them.

If I said I have a surprise for you, God is right outside on your front porch and He is going to spend 15 minutes with you one on one. Here is what you need to know about Him before you go outside: He is going to be distant, and unreliable, He'll give you the silent treatment and ignore your questions, He will force you to fail at doing the impossible, and wants to change everything about you, and will judge and expose you, He'll make your life miserable so that you just want it to end, He won't be happy with you unless you are perfect, He won't help, and He might kill someone you love just to make a point. Now, aren't you excited to go out and meet with Him? (smile.)

That wouldn't make you want to be with this kind of God, and I would not blame you. But, if we leave the emotional concept of God behind and concentrate on the rational facts that are revealed about God ... none of those things really describe God. So who do they describe? Satan? The flesh? Actually, in almost every case these emotional concepts about God describe one or both parents. It is your dad. It is your mom, or whoever you recognized as a child as your "authority."

If you had a critical dad, you only read what you are "NOT DOING" when you read the Bible. If your parents always lost their temper, then you are emotionally waiting for the big blow-up and angry outburst from God. If your father showed partiality, then in your calamity you feel that God might help Jimmy or Jane, but He won't help you. If you had a passive father, because he was busy or died, or maybe he was preoccupied or indifferent, then you can't imagine how any of God's promises will ever actually happen.. God's promises are as empty as dad's, right? All of this makes it impossible to look to God to be filled, so we end up looking to others, or in your case we try to change ourselves to be lovely and bring out the best in the reluctant heavenly Father.

Here is what I really think about God:
God never gives up.
God cares more for others than for self.
God doesn't want others to fail in order to highlight His success. God doesn't strut, God doesn't have a swelled head, God doesn't force himself on others, Isn't always "me first, He never flies off the handle, God won't keep score of the sins, Doesn't revel when others grovel, God takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, God puts up with anything, God always is trustworthy He always looks for the best, God never looks back, But keeps going to the end without failing or giving up.

I know this because Paul said:
Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.
Love never fails.(1 Cor. 13)


If we wait for our emotions to catch up with reality, how long will we wait?

The reality is plain, and the fantasy that our emotions have is scary and uncertain. We have to let intellect rule reason and judge our thoughts if they be true, or emotionally derived from fictional emotional concepts.

Here is what I know about you already, (these are true things to meditate on in order to renew your mind and ward off very real emotional concepts t hat impact you and make you want to flee from God.) First of all you are a believer, and redeemed. That is settled. Only believers are tempted to worry that they are cast-outs. Never have I ever met any unbeliever that said, "Oh dear, I think that God rejects me, I just know that He rejects me." That kind of trick only works on the redeemed, because only the redeemed give a care if they are rejected by God. Unregenerate people don't care if God rejects them or not, and wouldn't be worried about that, so you are definitely born-again and you have no choice but to finish out the rest of your destiny as God's child. It is settled.

My second suggestion, is to trust your heart when it contradicts your soul. Always trust your heart, for God works in you to "will" and to do according to His good pleasure. Do as you want to do. Act like you want to feel. Act like you want to think. I know someone who could not love her son-in-law, though she wanted to. So the Spirit only told her to act like she wanted to feel. So, wanting to love her son-in-law, but not really feeling any love, she began to hug him every time she saw him drunk and stumbling in the street of their small town. "I love you, "she said, " and there is nothing that you can do to make me stop loving you." That is the hardest thing for her to do, but it was admitting what she really wanted. After years of doing that, she broke down and wept, because finally after years of acting like she loved him ... she finally had her emotions in agreement. "I love him, Lord" she confessed, "and there is nothing that he could ever do to stop me." She acted like she "WANTED" to "FEEL." And her feelings were finally (after many years) made to agree with the reality that was in her heart.

You want to have an intimate relationship, when you know that you are loved by Him. So start acting like you want to feel. Speak the language of faith, by saying "Thanks." "Thank you, Lord that you love me, even at times when I have no awareness of it, beyond what you demonstrated on the cross." make "Thanks" your prayer, for everything. If you need something, then ask for it, but once you ask for it, if you ask again then you are speaking unbelief. Giving it to Him is all that is needed, and He has it the first time. There is nothing more that anyone, ever, in the history of all time can do that is more the putting it in His hands and be thankful that He has it. There is nothing that you can add to that. It is His. He will provide, in His timing. If you have asked Him feel nearer to you, then next time thank Him, instead of asking again. "Lord, Thank you that my feelings are in your hands. I've asked you to make me feel your presence and feel what is true about your life in me, and even though I can't feel it now ... I know that I have given it to you and don't need to take that responsibility back. Thank you that you will take care of my feelings." ... Cease asking or working for what you have already addressed, and start being thankful. You cannot express thanks too much, but every time you do, your faith will be exercised and strengthened.

Lastly, don't be too hard on yourself. We are all under construction, and if perfection in everything you do and feel and think were required, God could do that by letting your body die, and translating your soul into perfection right now. However, what God really wants, instead of your definition of perfection is the perfection of what you already are. It is OK, to have a confused mind, and emotions that go astray, and a complete lack of will-power. There are lessons to be learned in failure that cannot be learned any other way. How can you know that God loves you in spite of poor behavior, if you behave perfectly? How can you know that God lives in you when you don't "feel" Him, unless you go through a time when you can't feel Him? All the desserts that you walk through will help you appreciate the oasis. Every reversal of what is promised will make the fulfillment of what is promised that much sweeter in the fullness of time. We all go through that, and it is important that we do have times when we believe even though we receive nothing during that time. If we didn't have a need for those dry spells then nobody would have them.

Ripening for the harvest,

Trent Fuller

Trackback address for this post:

Comments, Trackbacks, Pingbacks:

Comment from: Timothy [Member] ·

The Message
Matthew 5:3
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule."

The Complete Jewish Bible
Matthew 5:3
"How blessed are the poor in spirit! for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs."

The Good News Translation
Matthew 5:3
"Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!"

Heb 12:2 -
looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Permalink 08/29/08 @ 22:34
Comment from: pam [Visitor]

I think your answer was good and very loving but I was shocked at the part where you advised him to act in oposition go his feelings. This is something that I see so many Christians doing (especially those who come from multi-generational Christian families)and all I can say is there is nothing that hurts worse than to find out that the Christian person who made you feel that they loved and accepted you truly, does not but is only putting on a show. When people are searching for family and they look for a semblance of that in the church pretense is the great discourager of new Christians. Especially those from broken families. I also believe that my God requires that I truly love others not just pretend. I can't do that but I always have the love of Jesus living in me that I can give to anyone because Jesus loves them all. Doing so generally ends up in changing my heart as well and I never have to pretend to be something that I am not.

I have been where this man is and if I had known that most multi-generational Chrisitan families had their dysfunction too it would have done a lot to ease my loniless. Instead most of the ones in my experience put on a show and call it their testimony. They also put on a show of loving those that they think they are much better than. It goes so far but not the whole way and their actions create dysfunction in the family of God as well as add to their own personal family dysfunction.

I am sure you mean well by this and that it is what you have been taught. I have seen that in you anyway and I pray for you because I know that kind of pretense hurts the pretender more than anyone. There was nothing and is nothing pretentious about Jesus and I'm sure He is not pleased when He sees it in us.

So if I've hurt your feelings with this then let it out and know that I love you anyway because you are my little brother in Christ and that love that comes from Jesus in me can endure any honest feeling but pretending to be what we are not shuts it down every time. The Christian pretenders that I know in person are the lonliest most isolated people I have ever known and there is nothing I can do to help them until they let those stupid walls down. They have to come down before we can truly receive love and give love. Love rejoices in the truth and to pretending to feel what we do not is just a lie. We don't have to share every bad feeling that we have but I can find nothing in the Bible to condone lying about it.
Permalink 08/29/08 @ 23:01
Comment from: lenbenhear [Member] ·
We live in a time of VERY dysfunctional families: including "the families" of the local-church communities.
THE ANSWER is GRACE and supernatural Love that STILL LOVES *inspite of* all the betrayal and nonsense that goes on within families and "in the good Name of Jesus."
It is also wise to know when to simply 'back-off' and let GOD deal with all the carnality and confusion and strife.
Sometimes the wisest kind of wisdom is to simply be silent and pray. ... I'm still learning on that one, brother. I think we all are.
in Jesus.
Permalink 08/30/08 @ 04:06
Comment from: lenbenhear [Member] ·
"HIS STRENGTH is made perfect in my weakness."

Timothy's quoting of the be-attitude was also right on the mark.

THANK YOU, LORD, for all the times I have had nothing to cling to but YOUR GRACE and THE LIVING HOPE of Your unmerited Mercy. amen.
Permalink 08/30/08 @ 04:11
Comment from: Timothy [Member] ·
Amen Len.

2Ti 2:13 -
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.

The Complete Jewish Bible

The Message
2 Timothy 2:13
If we give up on Him, He does not give up - for there's no way he can be false to Himself.
Permalink 08/30/08 @ 10:14
Comment from: pam [Visitor]

I didn't mean my last post to sound the way that it does. It wasn't meant as a personal critisism. I just hate Christian pretence and too many people raised in Chrisitan homes are trained to carry it.

Permalink 08/31/08 @ 00:58
Comment from: lenbenhear [Member] ·
GOD'S OWNERSHIP of His children is a wonderful and amazing thing! ... and He sure knows how to apply the ruler of instruction to the seat of the soul !
Permalink 08/31/08 @ 07:13
Comment from: pam [Visitor]
Hi Len,

Yes, God disciplines me. He continually points me toward truth and demands that I be genuine. It does no one any good if I pretend to be what I am not and I am no longer living for the praise of other human beings. Pretense is a lie no matter how much people want to sugar coat it. Through pretense, people project a false image of themselves to others that they often come to worship themselves. God is not impressed. He is no respecter of persons. All of our sin is visible to Him.

My sin is not often that of carrying pretense. My sin often involves my blurring a struggle of one area of my life into another. I have been in a long drawn out struggle with the pretense that someone I love carries. When I read Trent's post and came to the part about pretending to love when we do not, I wretched and vomited the contents of my aching heart. I sinned in transferring my real life experience and the hurt from it over on Trent. Most of what I said was just vomit anyway, that which my spirit cannot digest properly. The part that is not just vomit is that we should not pretend what we don't genuinely feel. It may be a temporary fix but in the long run, it always causes more damage than honesty from the beginning.

There will always be strife between a lie and truth. Jesus could have walked away from the Pharisees but Love required that He confront their false image publicly as it was continually on public display. Jesus paid a great price for confronting these religious want-to-be-somebodies-in-the-eyes-of-men and I am sure that many of the religious crowd thought Him foolish to do so. I am sure there would be those who would encourage Him down a more political path with the admonition that to do otherwise would destroy 'the work'. Jesus however, came to do the Will of His Father and not the Will of religious narcissists and God knows that the only way to come against such false images is with blatant truth.

Anyway, I am sorry for not taking the time to post more carefully and address only that which the Spirit points out to me as a lie that endangers my friend, Trent. I am not sorry for calling Christian pretense what it is, a lie.
Permalink 09/02/08 @ 10:56
Comment from: Trent [Member] ·

You had a great point about pretense, but I think you missed my example.

Here is a person who doesn't "FEEL" like God is there for them. I was encouraging them knowing that they "WANT" to "FEEL" the opposite ... and my encouragement was to ACT as the WANT to FEEL. In other words, they should act as thought they feel God is there for them because that is what they want to feel even if it isn't what they actually feel.

Get it?

Where your point broke down is when you said this: """There was nothing and is nothing pretentious about Jesus and I'm sure He is not pleased when He sees it in us. """

I say that it broke down, because the example was of someone that was told by the Spirit to love the one that she wanted to love despite her feelings and she obeyed the command to do so. How in the world am I to understand how Jesus would be "not pleased" (as you said) whenever we do exactly as He directs us when a specific command is given?

Anyway, lets agree that pretense is bad ... but also lets appreciate the point that I was trying to make ... and that Paul made when he said:

"For it is God Himself whose power creates within you the desire to do His gracious will and also brings about the accomplishment of the desire." Phil 2:13


Permalink 09/03/08 @ 01:31
Comment from: Amanda [Visitor] ·
Hi Trent,

This is my favorite part of your response:

"Here is what I know about you already, (these are true things to meditate on in order to renew your mind and ward off very real emotional concepts t hat impact you and make you want to flee from God.) First of all you are a believer, and redeemed. That is settled. Only believers are tempted to worry that they are cast-outs. Never have I ever met any unbeliever that said, "Oh dear, I think that God rejects me, I just know that He rejects me." That kind of trick only works on the redeemed, because only the redeemed give a care if they are rejected by God. Unregenerate people don't care if God rejects them or not, and wouldn't be worried about that, so you are definitely born-again and you have no choice but to finish out the rest of your destiny as God's child. It is settled."

...because I too have wrestled with the very same thing, and continue to do so. But your words ring very true for me, and I know that the Holy Spirit has given you the ability to put it so such plain words. They are so comforting.

Thank you for devoting your life to Jesus.

Permalink 01/22/09 @ 23:25

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
Your URL will be displayed.
Allowed XHTML tags: <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>
(Line breaks become <br />)
(Set cookies for name, email & url)

I serve , the Lord.

Please enter the name of the Lord (the Risen One) into the entry area BEFORE clicking on the Send comment button.

Hint: the version of the name is the English version, not the Hebrew way to say His name. All letters are uppercase. Rhymes with "freeze us."

Blog All

Automatically aggregates all posts from all other blogs. This allows you to easily track everything that is posted on this system. You can hide this blog from the public by unchecking 'Include in public blog list' in the blogs admin.

July 2013
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
<<  <   >  >>
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        


this site  web    



Syndicate this blog XML

What is RSS?

powered by