As I’ve thought about my previous post over the last couple of days, I have come to conclude that the opposite problem also exists, perhaps more frequently than the first.
This is the child who grows up genuinely loved by her father. He takes great delight in her and treats her with great affection. But as she grows she begins to ask things of him that he knows will only hurt her. When he expresses his concerns and his regret over not being able to give in to her, she grows increasingly frustrated. Soon she is even questioning whether he even loves her anymore, or ever did.
As that plays on her mind she begins to see his every act of affection through her jaded eyes and concludes he only acts like he loves her to get what he wants. Now his acts of affection are dismissed as tools of manipulation. Her disappointment grows and eventually gives way to anger. Now she no longer asks, she demands. And when she doesn’t get her way, she pouts.
What she wants has now become more important than the relationship and she begins to unravel it by blaming him for the problem. She’s fine. In her mind, her desires have become “needs” and his refusal to help her only proves what an uncaring person he has become. She ends up saying horrendous things to him and about him to her friends, all to justify her own bitterness and anger.
The father knows better. Her words sting, but he knows they aren’t true. Even in the face of her anger and manipulation he responds with sorrow not anger. He knows she is sliding into the dark space of her own selfishness where lies will rule the day and he is now powerless against her false accusations. No mater what he does, she will only belittle him and dismiss his attempts to affirm is love to her. There is no greater bondage than believing your own lies to be the truth. Even Jesus warned us that when our “light” is really darkness, there is no greater darkness!
Eventually another comes along who promises to meet all her “needs”, and do for her what her father has refused to do. Of course he only does it to get what he wants from her, but she thinks she has found true love. At the beginning she gets what she wants and turns her back on the dad who loves her to follow the boyfriend who only wants to use her.
Of course, over time his motives become evident as he becomes more demanding of her. He pampers her less and abuses her more. He was just exploiting her needs to fulfill his wants and as that reality sinks in she slides into despair. The freedom she thought he offered, only turns out to be a prison of her own making.
What can she do now? She’s too scared to leave him and in her mind has no where else to go. She knows now that she’s made the poorest of choices, but has she burned so many bridges that she has no choice now but to keep on her course no matter how painful? In her honest moments, however, her heart longs for home. She’s too embarrassed and scared to face the father she rejected so brutally.
She’s sure her father hates her now, but she doesn’t know she’s only projecting her emotion on him. This is actually the moment, if she takes the risk, that she can discover how amazing true love really is,
What she doesn’t know yet is that her father still longingly looks out of his window every day hoping against hope that this will be the day she comes home. His heart was broken by her choices, but they made him neither angry with her nor ashamed of her. He only wants her to come home. The moment he sees her coming down the road, he’ll burst through the front door with great joy and rush to her side, welcoming her back inside the affection he had only grown in her absence.
Here’s the truth: You can always go back to the place where you were truly loved and find yourself smack dab in the middle of the affection you may have spurned before. True love always prevails over failure.
I read Psalm 78 this morning, and that is its theme. Regardless of how faithless Israel was, God was ready to draw them into his love whenever they made the slightest turn toward him—and even at times when they didn’t!