The older I get the more I realize the importance of our growing-up experience. For example, a child growing up in a dysfunctional home will, in some degree, have issues to overcome later in life. A child who had the experience of negligent home-schooling will, in some degree, have educational issues to contend with or overcome. A child who was raised by the television with little parental training, will have issues with cognitive and coping skills…and potentially a host of other issues.
I’ve counseled people who have grown up in dysfunctional homes for decades…and heard and read about many others. I know the issues and problems I’ve had to overcome, and am still overcoming, because of what I experienced and learned in the dysfunctional home in which I was raised. The questions of “how were they parented?” or “how were their parents parented as children?” often comes into play as a person walks a path of healing…re-learning. As I thought about this yesterday my mind whirled.
At sixty years old my husband and I often find ourselves talking about our Christian upbringing—wealth of Bible and Christian life teaching–from our first pastor after we gave Jesus control of our lives. Yesterday I stopped to consider our looking back at the teaching/training of the pastor who nurtured us when we were infant Christians. I realized the importance and parallels of our physical and spiritual childhood experiences and teachings. We’ve had other good, loving, Bible-teaching and godly-living pastors in our 40 years of Christian living. However, our foundation and belief-system, like that of a small child, was constructed when we were infant and growing children of God.
In the last couple of years God, using His blessed Word/His Balm of Gilead and His Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me into truth, has worked to change some ‘truth’, teaching, I received as an infant Christian. Not ‘connecting the dots’ I’ve often wondered why I have had such a struggle at times to let Biblical truth replace old teaching. It dawned on me yesterday that this is the same struggle people have with replacing teaching/truths they learned in a less-than-nurturing childhood.
Young children do not have the skills to process and discern truth, right from wrong or what is morally acceptable. Children need parenting to show them…teach them. If the parenting is right, moral, nurturing, loving, the experience of growing up is a healthy one. This is equally true for our Christian experience: How we were grown up in the Lord while our diets consisted of milk…when we were too immature to study and digest the meat of the Word of God…determines the health/strength/understanding/power of our Christian lives. Of course, this can be changed with much study, seeking, accepting and assimilating revealed Biblical truth.
I believe the first step in strengthening my Christian life came when I let myself accept the fact that some things/truths I was taught as a young Christian did not line up with the Bible…some ‘truths’ were not even in the Bible. On my path to growing past some old teaching I had to ask the same questions people need to consider when walking paths to spiritual and emotional healing: “how were they (my pastors and spiritual mentors) ‘parented’ in the Lord?” or “how were the people they learned from ‘parented’ as babes in Christ?”
For example yesterday I studied the doctrines and teachings of the church one of our pastors was born into and raised in…and later left. My study helped me to realize where some of the untruths he taught as Bible truth came from…his spiritual childhood training which he never questioned. Our ‘parents’ and ‘grandparents’ can have a huge impact on what we learn, who we are and how we teach others…until we choose to change the wrong beliefs through seeking Bible study. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15
Change is uncomfortable. Change is good. Knowing the truth sets us free to live victoriously in the power of the Holy Spirit.