We may struggle to see God as a Father because we’ve had a bad relationship with our earthly father creating a root of bitterness.
We can agree in our minds that God is a father, but bitterness causes our hearts to be hardened to accepting Him as our Father. This causes us to allow our experiences to drastically affect our relationship with God. This limits our relationship with Him.
This is one of the devil’s most effective lies in holding us back from knowing the fullness of God’s love. He convinces us that God’s love is like man’s love: conditional, fleeting and driven by emotion. Satan attempts to take our bitterness toward our earthly father and turn it on our heavenly Father. He also tries to take the feelings of unworthiness we have experienced with our earthly father and convince us that God views us the same way.
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many,” Hebrews 12:15 (NLT).
If we have bitterness toward our father, we need to ask God to uproot and remove it from our lives. Our part in removing bitterness is forgiving our father. The pain we’ve experienced may be great and the wounds may be deep; but the hurt we’re carrying pales in comparison to the joy we’ll experience in knowing the depth of God’s love. If unforgiveness is the only thing holding us back, wouldn’t it be better to forgive and let go? Wouldn’t it be better to move into the fullness of God’s love, rather than remain stuck in hurt and pride?
Our feelings of unworthiness did not originate with our earthly fathers. They were only perpetuated by them. Feeling unworthy or inadequate comes from being born into sin and nurturing a sin consciousness. The devil wants us to associate our assumed inadequacy with our earthly father with our relationship with God. He wants us to think that we are unlovable, so when we hear that God wants to be our Father we deem ourselves unworthy of that kind of love.
We should never look at ourselves that way, because God does not see us as unworthy and unlovable.
“Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved,” Ephesians 1:5-6 (NKJV).
It gives God pleasure to adopt us into His family and call us His sons and daughters. He loves to make us acceptable through the finished work of Jesus Christ.
No matter what any of us have experienced with our earthly fathers, the love of our Heavenly Father is able to heal our wounds and restore our souls. We have to let go of our bitterness and choose to live in the acceptance and love of our true Father.