When we remember our family and our childhood we all have certain memories or pictures that are filed in our minds. It is as if we have a family album stored there. These images can be good or bad. And these images are very powerful. Matter fact they can shape our lives, our way of seeing ourselves and our future family experiences.
And studies that have been conducted conclude that these images can also affect our perceptions of God. One study conducted on children from the age of 4-11 found that when parents were viewed as powerful and nurturing (especially when the mother was powerful and the father nurturing) children projected these images towards God. They would view God as nurturing and powerful.
Another study (Justice and Lambert, 1986) found a strong correlation between the images of subjects and of their fathers and their images of God. With those with the most negative images of their parents having the most negative images of God. Another study (Birky and Ball, 1987) showed that in 18- to 21-year-olds' the image of the idealized parent was closer to their image projected of God.
What these studies show is that parents play a significant part on their children's first God-images. Whether directly or indirectly parents affect their child's first projection of who God is and what he is like.
With this understanding it is important for all of us to see past these early projections of God and allow ourselves to see God clearly without distorted images influenced by our childhood. Some of us may believe that God is out to get us or that we must earn his love because that is what our parents were like. For others we may feel we are inadequate to enter into heavens courts and talk with God. We must let go of these images of God and embrace the truth of who God is and always will be. The Bible is a great place to start.
CAPTION: Andrew playing with his new toy. A gift from aunt Chepita.
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