Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers; Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate

In Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers, author Leslie Leyland Fields tells the compelling story of her own journey to forgiveness of a distant, emotionally absent and sometimes abusive father. The author skillfully weaves the stories of others who are on their own paths of forgiving a parent. A very helpful part of the book is at the end of each chapter there is a section written by Dr. Jill Hubbard, a clinical psychologist, who tells the reader not only what the author is dealing with but practical solutions and fresh ways to look at these issues. Fields writes,

“many of us repeat even the most harmful of behaviors modeled by our parents – unless we recognize and confront them.”

This is a great resource for anyone who is dealing with a broken relationship with a parent for whatever reason. A lot of it is painful to read if you’ve been in this situation, but as Dr. Hubbard writes,

“When there is no awareness, acknowledgment, surrender, confession, remorse, or repentance, there is a very predictable runoff that spills over from one generation to the next.”

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Why I read this book…

I had to forgive my father and mother. I did that many years ago before reading this book but it’s a process. Pain needs to be peeled away, spoken about, to allow the new to grow, to allow the beauty to emerge. I also realized that the following by Fields is true in my situation – “Most of us have parents who did not mean it for evil, whose lapses and failings and absences were not intended to wound. They would take it back if they could. Many were in the grip of illness and circumstances they did not know how to change. They were weak, without understanding, trying to make their way without resources, not knowing how to raise children. Most did not mean it for evil, but even if some did, God was still present, and He still intends to use it for good in our lives, and for the good of others around us.”

My parents were in the grip of mental illness. Both of them, often at the same time. They were trying to make their way without resources. And when I realized God was present with me through those childhood years and He still intends to use if for good not only in my life but in the lives of others, I can run towards forgiveness rather than away from it. Forgiveness is my ticket out of a self-made prison.

 

 

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