In 2001, at 15, I was taken away from my parents due to abuse and neglect in the home. My dad was very abusive to my mom, and in turn she abused us both physically and emotionally.
I was the one who reported them, and my dad has never forgiven me for it. My mom died later that year. My brothers returned home but I stayed in foster care which was another sore spot for my dad.
Fifteen years later, he is still a halfway parent. He only talks to me when he needs me. I cut ties with him 5 years ago because I didn’t need to keep getting hurt by trying to love him, but now he acts like he wants to be a part of my son’s life.
I feel like I should protect my son and myself by minimizing the time spent with him, but that doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. I dislike the man he is, but he is my dad.
All that you’ve been through is obviously very real and very traumatizing. I’m sorry that you had to go through what you did.
God can, as He promises, take anything Satan meant for evil and redeem it for those who know and love Him. There’s clearly a way out and a way to have clarity in the relationship. It all starts with reflecting the heart of Christ.
Christ was obviously able to forgive some truly horrendous things done to Him. From the cross, He even said, “Forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing.”
I think there’s something similar that helps us get to that place of forgiveness: recognizing that what your father and mother did in that family was a result of their own wounds.
They didn’t make the decision to be bad parents. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I’m going to blow it today.” We all wake up in the morning trying to do the best that we can.
The first thing to do is appreciate that they really did do the best that they could, even though that’s hard to process and believe. When you see his behavior, it’s important to remember that he’s hurting from things that were going on before you were even on the scene.
Forgiveness doesn’t come because the other person deserves it. The breakthrough comes when you forgive for God and not for them. You can’t decide whether or not they earned it or whether or not they’ve apologized enough. God wants us to forgive them because of how much we love God and as an act of obedience to Him.
We have to have a cause greater than ourselves to have the power to push through and do what God wants us to do.