Christian Counseling - Creating God In Your Parents' Image

Our image of God is not something we are born with, nor is it like a finished program we download into our computer and run. Every one's image is created in piecemeal fashion; one idea or part of an idea at a time. Our image of Him changes and grows as we delete one thought or belief about God and add another. It's never complete, never without flaws and only a representation of God, not God Himself. This constructed image undergoes lifelong revisions.

Our image of Him is not just made up of what the Bible says, it also comes from the human or psychological side of us. Just as the world looks to Christians as representatives of God, so we, at a young age, look to our god-like parents who represent other people and God, for good or ill. Their attitudes, beliefs, words and behaviors are introjected (unconsciously incorporating aspects of others into oneself, which become part of one's personality and internal world). This collective image of our parents and significant others is transferred to other people and to God. Our images of people and God are enduring; that is, difficult to change, but not impossible.

If one's parents are unloving, uninvolved and uncommunicative, a child would tend to think and feel the same about God, although other people along the way may also positively influence this image. A kind and giving grandparent may be a saving grace to a child growing up in this kind of unhealthy environment. Without the good grandparent, the child would likely be somewhat relationally distrusting, distant and self-protective and fear committing to people and God.

If you want to know why you feel attached to God or can't connect, look beyond present influences to past relationships, which form the foundation for future relationships. Also helpful is developing new and deep relationships with two or three others where one can learn to trust and experience the joy intended in connecting to others and God.

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