Fear And Abuse: A Short Post

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month.  When I got on Facebook today, I noticed someone had shared something I wrote two years ago.

I shared it even though I might get backlash from certain people.  As I continue to struggle and work towards getting my emotional health back after so much trauma, I can definitely attest to this:

Fear is not a good thing. When a child’s brain is wired with fear from harsh/abusive parenting, he/she will likely suffer with anxiety for the rest of his/her life. This is not good and can make the person feel like a failure because no matter how hard he/she tries, he/she can’t always overcome the intense, overwhelming fear and anxiety. Please use trust, connection, and love to parent.

I don’t think I would have half the issues I had if it weren’t for the abuse I suffered. 😔

Stay tuned!  I hope to get more posts written.

Original image from https://www.livescience.com/17031-penn-state-child-abuse-eyewitness-psychology.html

 

 

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Fear Of Failure, Cerebral Palsy, And A Tattoo!

I just got my first tattoo last week.  I was so nervous because I can’t control my muscles at all due to my severe cerebral palsy and I hate pain. But I am now the proud owner of a tattoo in honor of my grandpa who went Home in May.

I know some people believe it’s against the Bible to get a tattoo but when you study the cultural and historical context of the Bible, pagans were doing it for other gods. Plus, it wasn’t sterile or at all like it is now if you go to a reputable tattoo parlor.  Here is a great article about the cultural and historical context of the Bible when it comes to tattoos.

I felt God with me the whole time and He put the verse, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” in my head that morning and while she did it. Plus, I feel closer to my mom having a matching tattoo with her! The whole thing has been wonderful and all good things come from God!  And my tattoo comforts me every time I miss my grandpa.

I have wanted a tattoo for years but didn’t think I could stay still for it, especially since pain and anxiety make me move more.  So the first thing I did once I decided I was definitely doing this was to Google “people with cerebral palsy getting tattoos.”  I was very encouraged to find many people with cerebral palsy have tattoos.  Even so, I was still anxious about whether or not it would work for me.

After researching this thoroughly, my husband and I went in August to meet with a tattoo artist at our local tattoo parlor which came highly recommended.  I was very nervous when we went because I figured that they would see my involuntary movements and reject me.  I am terrified of rejection because I have been rejected so many times throughout my life.  Rather, I was met with total acceptance!

The guy we met talked to me like everyone else and listened when I talked. That means A LOT to me since some people look at my severe disability and assume that I am mentally disabled.  And my speech is very slurred making it difficult to understand me if you don’t know me well.

I immediately told the tattoo artist that I can’t control my muscles so I was worried if it would even work. He asked where I wanted the tattoo and I had him feel my thigh so he knew how the muscles would contract. Of course we explained that we’d make my feet straps tighter and that my mom would be here to help hold me.  I also took medicine to help control some of my spasms.

I was so excited for the next three weeks. I was also very nervous because even though the artist and the shop owner didn’t think there would be any problem with doing a tattoo on me, I was terrified that I would fail.

Ever since I was very young, I have been terrified of failure. As you can read in this post and this post, many people would look at me and not believe I could do things.  I learned from a very early age that I had to always prove myself to people.  Plus, I was verbally abused by various people growing up and I saw how my dad reacted angrily when my older siblings didn’t live up to his expectations. I still feel like this today. So I felt like I had to prove that I could handle the tattoo.

I can’t stress enough the importance of building our children up.  They need to learn how to believe in themselves.  This does not mean we make them proud as humility is a virtue.  But humility does not mean feeling like you never measure up or always have to be afraid of failing.  Humility means that you put others before you and you don’t think you’re better than everyone else.  But feeling poorly about yourself is not humility.

Nobody should have to struggle with anxiety like I do due to how I was treated as a child and throughout my life by certain people. Thankfully, my husband and mom had complete faith in me as did many of my friends.

Well, the night before my tattoo appointment my artist who was supposed to do my tattoo contacted us because something came up and he couldn’t do it the next day.  Yes, I had a little panic attack but he made sure someone else could do it. The lady we got was wonderful.  She has done tattoos on people with cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. That helped put me at ease.

The day of my tattoo, I was so nervous. Again, I was afraid that I would fail. That the pain would be too much for me and I would move too much.  But Candace immediately put me at ease.  She was quickly able to figure out my spasms and work around them. Every time she initially put the needle down, my startle reflex would make me jump.  But once that happened, she knew to keep going and I was fine.  There were a few “ouch” moments where I made my husband  talk more and I had to distract myself more but it wasn’t bad. I now have a BEAUTIFUL purple Mickey Mouse outline and a BEAUTIFUL red Corvette outline in honor of my dear grandpa! She was gentle and it was over before I knew it! I hugged her as I was so happy with her work.

The significance of my tattoo: Mickey Mouse is because when I was 15, Grandma and Grandpa took me to Disney World over my Christmas break. We saw the Christmas parade, rode on rides, and they arranged a private meeting with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and Goofy and other characters. I believe in signs from people in Heaven and ever since Grandpa went Home, I’ve seen Mickey everywhere despite Hello Kitty being more popular than Mickey nowadays. The Corvette is because my grandpa LOVED Corvettes.  He was never without one since I was born. He was a mechanic and worked for BF Goodrich and loved working on cars. So he would buy Corvettes, fix them up, enjoy them, then sell them. My mom is a Corvette owner after 50 years, so getting the red corvette honors him for both of us AND is fun to have matching tattoos with my mom!

I have a major sense of accomplishment and I’m grateful to God for helping me through it!  I loved watching my mom get her matching Corvette in honor of Grandpa who was her dad.  And whenever I miss my grandpa, I just look at my tattoo!

I don’t know if I will ever be free from my fear of failure.  But I do know that God wants me to use my pain to help others.  Children deserve nothing but respect as do people with disabilities. Just because I am severely disabled does not mean I can’t live a “normal as possible” life.  We just need more assistance. If you are reading this and want a tattoo that is meaningful to you and you’re disabled, I’m living proof that you can do it!

We can do all things through Him who gives us strength!

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My tattoo in honor of my dear grandpa (April 1, 1928-May 2, 2016).
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my mom’s and my matching tattoos.

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Guest Post: What Happens When Children Become Numb To Their Fear And Alarm System By Hannah Klassen

I’ve had this realization: When people are defending spanking and they commonly say that they never feared their parents, they are right. They didn’t and don’t feel the fear. The emotion is the energy and the feeling is the consciousness of that energy. They were numb to their fear, so since they can’t feel it, they make the assumption that it isn’t there.

So when we understand that when the brain perceives danger and alarm is activated in us, we are first to be moved to caution and if that isn’t possible, we are to be moved to tears and if that isn’t possible, we are to be moved by courage. When we become numb to our feelings of alarm, then instead of caution, we are moved to be reckless. You see that with children and adults who are adrenaline junkies, dare devils, and danger seekers. They are numb to their fear. Thus, they are called fearless.

Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the mix of fear and desire.

So when the parent becomes a source of alarm to a child, in order for the child to hold on to the relationship, the brain has to numb their fear. Which puts them in a dangerous position. Because what if they also put themselves in harms way with other people, because they can’t feel their alarm. So that little voice, that sensation that warns of danger, can’t be heard because they have become deaf to it.

Parents should never be a source of fear and alarm to a child! They need to be a source of safety. A place where natural fear and alarm can be, understood, supported, and empathized with.

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Relationships Matter. God Is A Relational God.

As I have been corresponding with people who are on the fence about gentle discipline, it hit me that God is a relational God.  Everything He does is to get us to become closer to Him.  That’s why it makes me sad that so many Christians believe that He does bad things “for our good.”  That doesn’t make us feel closer to Him unless we have some sadomachistic tendencies going on in us.

When it comes to disciplining our children, I find myself covering the same issues with punitive parents who just don’t understand what discipline really is.  So I am going to cover it again here.

Discipline looks at the whole child instead of focusing on behavior. When you understand the child and where he/she is in his/her development, you can set appropriate limits and figure out the whys behind behavior. Children are so much more than a set of behaviors or “sins.”  They are complicated, competent human beings that need our guidance.  They are new to this world and have immature brains and bodies.  This should not be used against them, but it often is.

Going from using external control such as spankings, time-outs, and taking away privileges in an arbitrary way to using internal motivation by meeting needs, setting limits, allowing natural consequences of choices to happen, validating feelings, allowing appropriate choices, giving alternative appropriate behavior and/or ways of expressing feelings, using time-in to settle down with the children and connect instead of isolating them is tough. It takes a lot of work and patience.

We use the Fruit of the Spirit A LOT when we choose to discipline rather than punish. But this is true discipline.  To grow heathy fruit, we must cultivate it, water it, and give it plenty of sunshine.  We must also do our best to protect it from the enemy, usually bugs and other animals.  We don’t beat the sprouts and fruit as that would ruin it.  So why do it to our children by beating them?

God is a relational God, so using discipline is focusing on keeping our relationships intact with our children. You may think that your relationship with your children is fine despite using punishment, but it isn’t what it could be as all children want to please their parents. They may behave out of fear instead of out of respect.  We want our children to behave because it is the right thing to do!  We want our children to have healthy relationships with others and with God.  Only true respect can teach children respect.  We must model respect to our children by respecting them and other people!  They are learning from our actions more than our words

Also, I am sure I have covered this in other posts, but I know people learn through repetition too so I will cover this again.   Fear and respect mean two totally different things.

The definition of fear is “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”

The definition of respect is “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability.”

Notice fear contains the word “evil” in its definition but respect doesn’t. And throughout the Bible God tells us to NOT be afraid. Therefore, to be reverent means to respect, not afraid.

Since God is a relational God, shouldn’t we do everything in our power to treat our children in a manner that produces a healthy relationship with us? We work hard to have good marriages by treating our spouses with love and respect.  Why should it be any different with our children?  God is over us and yet He calls us His friends (John 15:15, James 2:23, Romans 5:10).  May we treat our children how God treats us.

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Companionship Is Vital To Our Survival

I watched a tv show back in October 2015 that described the five primal fears of all humans.  According to this article, the five primal fears are:

  1. Extinction. This is the fear of death.
  2. Mutilation.  This is the fear of losing body parts or being physically hurt.
  3. Loss of Autonomy.  This is the fear of being physically disabled or not having control over situations.
  4. Separation.  This is the fear of being left behind or isolated or losing loved ones.
  5. Ego-death.  This is the fear of being humiliated or shamed.

In this post I want to focus on separation. Anyone following my blog or that has read my book knows that I don’t believe that fear is from God based on 2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB) which states:

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

Therefore, I think of these primal fears as more survival instincts.  They keep us from putting ourselves in danger. They are God’s way of keeping us safe.

Separation is one of my major fears, or, I guess, survival instincts.  It is extra strong in me. I have lost a lot of people throughout my life. Whether it was due to rejection or death or people moving away, the fact is loss scares me. 

I have been on overdrive lately when it comes to losing people due to losing my mother-in-law, to whom I was quite close, in August 2015. So if a friend starts to back off due to life, I feel the road to rejection and loss coming all over again. I freak.

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This is from the book, “Healing After Loss” by Martha Whitmore Hickman. This further proves our God given need for companionship especially during rough times.

I hate blaming my severe cerebral palsy on anything, but I must wonder if I would experience less loss if I wasn’t disabled.  I would more easily make friends and could physically contribute more to friendships such as spontaneously meeting friends somewhere without having to plan it all out.

I was also physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by my dad throughout my entire childhood.  Then he disowned me in my adulthood.  That gets into separation instinct as well as ego death.  We all need to feel valued and loved from day one.

Of course there is another major reason why some people’s separation instinct is on overdrive. Being left to cry-it-out as infants teaches children to expect separation and loss. The brain gets wired in such a way that instead of having a healthy survival instinct, it goes into overdrive. Then if the child continues to experience loss, that further increases their survival instinct and fear of separation and loss.

I must point out that separation anxiety in infants and toddlers is developmentally appropriate.  Parents and caregivers can help children with separation anxiety by always telling the child when they will be back as well as always saying goodbye to the child instead of sneaking out.  This helps children not be on high alert to make sure people won’t just suddenly disappear.

You know, God created us to need human and animal companionship. Therefore, a healthy separation survival instinct would be to recognize our need for relationships without always worrying about losing the people we love.  When God saw that Adam needed additional companionship, He created the animals for him.  Then when they weren’t enough, God created Eve.

Yes, God fills up a certain major need in us, but He knows we need other relationships on this Earth.  I know that may be a weird idea for many Christians as the church teaches us that God is all we need.  And indeed, there is nothing that can ever compare to God’s perfect, unconditional love for us.  But if all we need is God, then why did He create us with a separation survival instinct?

This is why infants need us to respond to them consistently and respectfully when they cry or they will have brain damage that may not be apparent to the naked eye but will surface in some manner at some point in their lives.  It will negatively affect every relationship they ever have.

I believe we need to cherish every relationship we are in and do our part in nurturing it.

Yes, some relationships must take priority over others.  But God doesn’t want us walking away from relationships in which He put us unless they have become toxic.  And our relationship with Him comes first as that is how we can make sure we are treating each other how He wants.

Here are some verses about the importance of companionship:

”Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him'” (Genesis 2:18, ESV).

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, ESV).

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22, ESV).

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14, ESV).

May we raise our children in a manner that will allow them to have a healthy separation survival instinct.  May we also teach them to value all relationships and friendships–especially the one they have with Jesus. After all, Jesus is our friend.

Yes, companionship is vital to our well being and survival!

 

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Cooperation Is More Important Than Obedience In The Parent-Child Relationship

For the majority of Christian families there is a real emphasis on making children obey their parents. Everything seems to center on obedience. When children don’t obey, parents feel they must punish the children through spanking/hitting or other types of harsh punishment. These well-meaning Christian parents believe that if they don’t teach their children to obey authority, then they won’t obey God.

Yes, the Bible tells children to obey their parent in Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20. However, this is directed at children, not parents.  Parents seem to ignore Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21, which states, “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” “Fathers” can also be translated into “Parents.”

Nowhere in the family living instruction Scriptures in Ephesians or Colossians does it tell parents to force their children to “obey them.”  In fact, the Greek word used for “obey” in both of these Scriptures is “hupotasso,” which means to voluntarily submit or listen under.

And if you read the whole passage in Ephesians, it emphasizes more mutual submission within the family where everyone has a role to play instead of a hierarchy where certain members are dominant over each other.  Sadly, many Christian families are trapped in hierarchy where the focus is on control.

This is not what God had in mind.  Yes, the husband is the head of the household, and yet the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church.  Meaning to sacrifice for her which makes her want to submit to him by listening to him and giving him respectful consideration.

This is cooperation and teamwork!

The same applies to children.  When parents give children respectful care and consideration, children are more likely to cooperate with their parents.  They learn to trust their parents.  They also learn that they are an important part of a team.

Teamwork and cooperation are key in the world!  Everywhere, when people work together, things actually get done.

I’ll be honest.  I have a real distaste for the word, “obey,” within the parent-child relationship as I saw first hand how it destroys connection instead of fostering it as cooperation does.

For example, the parent tells the child to get ready to go.  The child is trying to finish something and dawdles and/or complains.  The parent, if they don’t do first-time obedience, (which is even worse) tells the child again to get ready to leave.  If the child continues to dawdle and/or complain, the parent will say, “Obey me or I will have to spank you!”

The parent focused on cooperation will give the child multiple heads-ups that it will be time to go soon. If needed, they will validate the child’s not wanting to go and will later ask the child how to better help him/her get ready to go if the child had a hard time making the transition.

No, cooperation does NOT mean parents let children rule the roost.  Cooperation simply connects the parent and child, thus, allowing the parent to work *with* the child!  True discipleship happens in families that focus on cooperation rather than obedience.

Cooperation also removes the need for punishment.  Obedience tends to foster an attitude of “Obey me or else.”  On the other hand, cooperation allows natural consequences to happen.  It teaches. It disciples.  It even allows respectful back talk.

True obedience to God comes out of cooperation!  Real obedience cannot be taught as it is a heart issue.  I obey God because I love and trust Him.  Forced obedience to parents is fear based, and therefore, fake.  Yes, fake!  Obeying only out of fear in order to avoid being punished isn’t true obedience.

It’s very sad that some parents don’t care why their children obey as long as they obey.

Another reason why I really dislike using obedience within the parent-child relationship is we’re not God and are mere sinners. Only God is worth obeying.  He will never lead us down the wrong paths.  Humans will.

Finally, I can hear pro-spankers asking, “What about the police?  The police won’t negotiate with us.”  Yes, sometimes immediate cooperation with authority figures is a must.  Children raised with respect usually have no problem respecting other authority figures.  And we should teach children that police are there to help us, so we must always cooperate with them.  In fact, research shows that people that grew up in homes with harsh corporal punishment are at a higher risk of being criminals.

Cooperation should be our aim within the parent-child relationship.  May we foster true obedience to God by making cooperation our aim within the family.

 

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Guest Post: Kinderen Van Mijn Hart (Children Of My Heart) By Hannah Klassen

They twist the words, thus, making us out to be fools.  They are very good at their verbal gymnastics. I fall to the floor; the grief within my heart weighs down on me like a boulder. Tears flow down my cheeks, like a river.  I weep for thousand years.

Oh, *Kinderen van mijn hart, they hurt you, and they confuse your minds, they make you believe that you deserved it, that it was love that drove them to do it. Oh my dear little ones, so young, so trusting, and they twist that and warp that.

Oh beloved Papa, the darkness consumes and devours, distorts and destroys. How dare they use Your name!  How dare they say it’s Your will and Your command!  For what they do is of great darkness. To wound a child like that.  It is not just the body they harm, but also the heart, soul, spirit and mind. They say that they do it out love, but what kind of love would force a child into a helpless position and strike them, inflicting pain and fear?

While within their hearts, they have great love for their children, but what drives them to slap the buttocks is not love, but fear.  It is fear that drives their hand.  Fear of what will happen if they don’t.  Fear of what others will think if they don’t. Fear of what God will do to them if they don’t.

Oh, what a twisted web of deception, those who sit on their thrones and tell us what to do, that their way is the right way.  Why have we made them our “gods,” and obey them without question?  They are mere humans, like us.  So why do we take their words as if they are holy?  Just because their kids appear to be wonderful, productive, and responsible citizens. We know that things aren’t always what they appear.  How many times have horrible crimes become known and we cry out in shock, because we really bought the act that person was playing.  We say, “how could they have done that?”  They were such a good person and we list off all the things that we believe makes someone a good person.
Are spankings from God?  Does spanking cause a child to fear?  Is there fear in love or does love cast out fear?  Does it cause a child, when they have done something wrong to lie, hide and escape a spanking? Does spanking soften a child’s heart or does it harden it, thus, they have less compassion for their sibling who gets spanked too?  Does it produce life, light, and love?  Does it produce peace, gentleness, kindness and compassion for others?  What is the fruit of spanking?

As I explained, and article explains, spanking isn’t violence! You obviously have no clue! My mother was spanked, her mother was spanked, I was spanked, I never felt threatened, I never felt unloved, I never felt abused, neither did my mom, or hers! And their generations where better behaved,more Morgan’s, respect and values, today people are raising spoiled rotten brats who feel privileged and manipulate and get bribed! That turns out thugs and brats! Spanking is not hitting, a big difference! Hitting is in anger, uncontrolled and teaches nothing.”


“It’s kids today who are more violent and harsh and less sympathetic! Back when I was a kid, kids where kind and we all got along, a bully was humiliated and kids stood up for bullied. The generations before where respectful and kind and had more values. Kids today are rude and brash,curse and ignore authority and rules!”


“And I work with kids! Even in early nineties/ late eighties they where better behaved! Today you can get cussed out and assaulted by a three year old! Oh….and mommy doesn’t spank so kid will never empathize because he doesn’t know what it feels like!”

When I read these words, my heart becomes broken.  If this person is the posterchild for a properly spanked kid, then we all should weep until there are no more tears to shed. When Jesus was here on earth and was with people, who was the people He hung out with?  The very people this person is calling names.

Our Papa does not see any of His children in this light.  Yes, He sees all of our brokenness and wrongdoing. But, that doesn’t cause Him to despise us, rather, it moves His heart with compassion. Tears fall from His eyes, for He feels our pain and empathizes with our struggles. When we’ve really screwed up and feel like a piece of (expletive deleted), what does Papa do?  He embraces us, holds us in His arms, and tells us over and over again that He will love us forever and ever and there is nothing we can do that will ever change that. He pours His love upon us, with eyes so soft and caring, with a face of such affection, this is our God, this is our Papa.

*Kinderen van mijn hart (children of my heart).

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Can Our Children Come With Confidence?

Hebrews 4:14-16, NASB:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

I love this passage!  God wants us to come to Him with confidence.  That means no matter what we’ve done or how we are feeling, we can approach God in humbleness and reverence knowing He will always accept, love, and forgive us. He also sympathizes with whatever we are going through.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1, NASB).

Can you say the same about your children?  Do your children have enough confidence in you to come to you for anything and everything?  What about you?  Are you totally confident in going to God for anything and everything?

Sadly, the answer to these questions for many is “no.”  Our world tends to use threats and fear to control children. Infants are left to cry-it-out instead of being sensitively responded to when they cry. Children are spanked/hit and otherwise punished instead of being guided through problems. Churches teach that God is mean and angry instead of loving and merciful.

Treating children harshly makes them lose confidence in us and, ultimately, God.  How can anyone approach someone in total confidence if they might hurt or reject us?  I know I can’t.

I know a great deal of people who are so used to being rejected, hurt, and treated harshly/abusively that they struggle to trust God. They’ve been spanked/hit in His name and fear that He will hurt them whenever they mess up. Some Christians find the thought of someday seeing Jesus face to face and His unconditional love for them more terrifying than the thought of going to Hell due to how they were treated as children. That is beyond sad!

We need to do our best to be Christlike with our children. That means responding to our babies’ cries every time they need us. It also means being willing to help children when they openly tell us they’ve made a mistake. This does not mean being permissive as many may think.  This means stepping up and saying, “Thank you for telling me. What can you do to make this right?  How can I help you?”

Connection, as L. R. Knost says, is key to guiding children of every age through problems. Connection leads to trust.  And trust leads to confidence in us, and ultimately, God.  God wants our total trust and confidence in Him.

Also, let’s not forget the second part of the introductory Scripture. God sympathizes with us!  Jesus was 100% human and 100% God.  He suffered from humanness. He was thoroughly tempted by satan and did not sin. And yet, when we sin, He doesn’t sit up there and wag His finger at us and say, “You disobeyed me so I must spank you.”  No, instead He gets on our level and says, “You messed up. I forgive you. How can I help you make this right?”  Yes, we suffer the natural consequences of our actions, but God will help us through it. He gives us mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness.

If you read this post, you know my husband and I are grieving the loss of his mom. Again, I’m so grateful God can sympathize with our pain. I’m so grateful God doesn’t punish us when we mess up usually because we are hurting inside and that hurt can come out as us lashing out.

God wants us to come to Him with total confidence. And since we are responsible for leading our children to Him, we need to do our best to help them be able to come to us with total confidence. If they can’t, they’ll find someone else to place their confidence in and that person may not have their best interests at heart.

So, can your children come with confidence?

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Yet Another Reason NOT To Fear God Nor Teach Children To Fear

Romans 8:14-17
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

According to this Scripture, we are no longer to be afraid, especially of God. As I explained in this post, we can’t truly love, trust, or respect someone of which we are afraid.

If we have accepted Christ’s amazing gift of grace and forgiveness, then we are His children as this verse says. We should no longer be slaves to fear. Sadly, though, many of us are still slaves to fear due to how we were raised as well as had church doctrine.

Fear is not a good thing. When a child’s brain is wired with fear from harsh/abusive parenting, he/she will likely suffer with anxiety for the rest of his/her life. This is not good and can make the person feel like a failure because no matter how hard he/she tries, he/she can’t always overcome the intense, overwhelming fear and anxiety.

Yet, according to this Scripture, God loves us so much that He wants us to call Him, “Abba! Father!” which means Daddy.

It’s not easy to call Him or our earthly fathers “Daddy” in a totally trusting manner when we’re scared of Him or them. We may do it to please our earthly fathers, but it’s not out of complete trust.

Children need to be taught that they’re completely safe with us and their Heavenly Daddy. They should know without a shadow of a doubt that neither their earthly parents or their Heavenly Daddy will never intentionally hurt them.

Please use trust, connection, and love to parent.

And we, adults, should get used to calling God, “Daddy!”

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Can There Really Be A Balance Between Love, Trust, And Fear?

Many Christians tend to believe that there should be a balance between love and fear when it comes to our relationship with God. They also believe that their children should have a “healthy fear” of them. Punitive parents tend to confuse fear with respect.

Is it truly possible to have a balance between fear/terror, love, and trust?  How can we truly trust someone that we are afraid of?

Let’s look at the definitions of fear/terror, love, respect, and trust.

Dictionary.com defines fear as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”  Terror is defined as “intense, sharp, overmastering fear.”

Dictionary.com defines trust as “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.”

Dictionary.com defined respect as “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability; to hold in esteem or honor.”

Finally, dictionary.com defines love as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person: a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.”

As we can clearly see, fear, trust, love, and respect have absolutely nothing to do with each other. What I find even more interesting is that the definition for fear contains the words “evil” and “pain” whereas trust, love, and respect do not.

This makes sense because fear is not from God as 2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

It makes me wonder why so many Christians believe that fear and respect are one and the same.  They’ll claim that their children “respect” them when, in reality, it’s fear because children know that they’ll get punished for not obeying. Fear makes children behave out of self-preservation, not because they want to please us or trust us.

Respect and trust allows children to cooperate with us because they love, trust, and respect us. Often times these children will surprise us by spontaneously doing something nice for us because they find pleasure in helping us. They know we respect them and always have their best interests at heart. They also know that we won’t intentionally hurt them when they displease us.

While we can love a parent that we don’t trust or respect, it’s a weird love. My dad physically, emotionally, and verbally abused me throughout my childhood. Yes, I loved him, but I was often afraid to be with him. I felt like I had to be a certain way in order not to be hurt by him. I didn’t look forward to seeing him. But, because he was my dad, I did love him. He died in 2003 and I still struggle because I can’t remember him as a good guy.

My mom, on the other hand, is someone I can look forward to being with when we visit. I love, trust, and respect her. Sure, we’ve had our issues but I’m not (never was) afraid of her.

The same goes for my husband and friends. Then there’s God. I am not afraid of God. I know He will never hurt me. I struggle sometimes with trusting Him due to how I was raised and my brain wiring due to being abused.  If I was “terrified” of God, I could not have a personal relationship with Him.

I do NOT believe there can be a “healthy balance” between love and terror when it comes to our relationships with God. That just isn’t possible. How can we totally trust and rely on Him if we are terrified of Him in some way?

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Yes, the Bible does tell us to fear God.  Yirat Adonai is Hebrew for the fear of the LORD.  Terror, being scared, being afraid of God is not what this Hebrew term means. Rather, to “fear God” means to be reverent, in awe, and worship Him. It also means to take Him at His Word.  God does not want us to be afraid of Him. In fact, over & over in the Bible God tells His people NOT to be afraid of Him.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:15-18).

Even Christ said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I” (John 14:27-28).

Again, I must ask if we are to be scared or afraid of our loving, merciful God, then what kind of personal relationship is that with Him?  I run AWAY from things and people I’m afraid of, and yet, God wants us to run TO Him!

May we, as Christians and as parents, let go of this twisted church doctrine that claims that fear/terror must be a part of our relationships with God and our children. That is a lie from satan who wants to do everything in his power to hinder love, trust, and respect in our relationships with God and our children. This lie may even prevent some from coming to know Christ’s amazing saving grace!

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