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A while ago I spoke with a young lady about her relationship with God. She was struggling with some things and with the concept of God's unconditional love and acceptance.

I finally began to explain to her that God doesn't view her as a failure, but as His little girl. At one point in our conversation, I asked her to repeat after me, "I am not a failure!"

She replied, with tears in her eyes, "I can't."

It was then that I found out her dad often belittled her and told her he was ashamed of her. Here before me was a person with so much going for her and so much potential! It was incredibly unfair!

Needless to say, I was outraged (but I didn't show it). No one should ever be told by their parents that they are a failure.

It was then that I realized the incredible power that those closest to us have on our sense of self-worth and security. Her father's words had robbed her not only of her self-esteem, but also of her happiness and, worst of all, her hope.

I must admit, I'm not the perfect dad...I'm far from it. It did make me reevaluate the way I interact with my kids. I've made the decision that I will never belittle them or make fun of their dreams.

It might be hard...coming from a large family, I have a bit of a mean streak. The way we showed affection was to wail on each other (sometimes literally!).

I realized why this young lady was having such a hard time experiencing God as a good Father. We think God is like our natural human fathers. After all, fatherhood is fatherhood!

A Father Who Is Perfect
I started wondering what preconceived ideas and false notions I have assumed concerning my Heavenly Father. I noticed a few thoughts that were biblically incorrect. The biggest misnomer was God's unconditional acceptance and constant faithfulness.

Coming from a divorced and blended family, I grew up with some real acceptance and insecurity issues.

Don't get me natural parents did a good job of not fighting in front of us or forcing us to choose sides. My step dad was also a good role model, but I sure didn't make it any easier for him.

Compound that with the fact that I am often performance-based in my thinking anyway, and you can see the problem.

I somehow managed to picture God as a mean teacher or demanding boss...always watching in case I messed up...ever-ready to give me a bad grade or performance review.

I never quite managed to measure up. I, too, often felt like a failure. I thought if maybe I did enough good stuff or if I used my gifts to their fullest potential, I might somehow get into His good graces. I just didn't understand.

The Jewish people of Jesus' day felt the same way about God. Jesus' coming was to reintroduce us to a loving Father. He often used the phrase "your Father" when talking about God to His disciples.

A Loving Father
He wanted them to start responding to Him not just as Omnipotent Master and Almighty King, but as loving Father and faithful Friend. Jesus referred to His message as the Gospel (a Greek word meaning "Good News")...and it was good news!

It was a message of a Father who loved so much He was willing to give everything just for the chance of a relationship with His kids.

We all have insecurities of some sort or another. Some try to hide them by acting tough or by intimidation. Others withdraw from the world around them (emotionally, if not physically).

Most try to find security in accomplishment or prestige or connection. What ever the case, we will never find true, lasting satisfaction or security in the stuff of earth.

King Solomon (David's son), the wisest man ever to live on the face of the earth, made the statement, "...He has also set eternity in the hearts of men." God has placed inside each of the desire for the stuff of Heaven. Only in that will we find peace and comfort.

As I began to find my misconceptions and then search for the true character and nature of God, I came across a few verses that were very encouraging to me:
Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
(Ps. 27:10)

He has said, "Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you."
(Heb. 13:5)

Even if we are faithless, He will remain faithful.
(2 Tim. 2:13)

But [you have] said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me. Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."
(Isa. 49:16)
Think about that...not only did God promise to always stay with us, He permanently altered His appearance for us.

It is in the discovery of His unconditional acceptance that we can find peace for our failures...even for those that were totally our fault!

I am learning to trust Him with not only my future, but also my past. I am finding Him to be a God of grace and mercy...a grace and mercy that stretch far beyond my wildest imagination, covering even the darkest secrets of my heart. You know...the secrets we won't even tell those closest to us about.

If you haven't yet invited Jesus into your life as your forgiver, friend and leader, please consider doing so. If it's been a long time since you've really allowed Him access to your heart, maybe it's time you came back to Him and recommitted all of you life to Him.

You'll be glad you did!

Jon Perrin Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Jon Perrin
Web site: Perrin Ministries
Jon and Robin Perrin met at Bible school. They have over 25 years of ministry experience. Besides their family, their greatest passion is empowering leaders and mobilizing churches to reach the unchurched.

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