You’re My Hero
Typically, as children, our first encounter with the notion of a hero happens with our parents.
From playground taunts of “my Daddy can beat your Daddy…” to our Moms’ tender loving care that miraculously healed every booboo and every broken heart, most parents are deeply rooted in the super-esteem, rockstar gaze of their young kids.
Do you remember the feeling of my Mom/Dad can do no wrong? Do you remember when you looked up to your Mom or Dad, eyes filled with you’re my hero?
My SuperMama: A Childhood Reflection
I remember the day my bad-mamma-jamma, single Mama saved our lives – literally!
You see, I was about 8-years-old coming home from the store with Mama on a hot, summer day in central Florida. Out of nowhere, Mama says, “Roll up your window. I’m turning on the A/C.”
Now me, knowing how Mama pinched every penny, and running the A/C presumably used more gas, I thought it was strange.
“I’m not that hot, Ma. You don’t have to run the A/C.”
“Nawww, go ahead and wind it up. It’s hot today.”
I kid you not, in less than 5 minutes after all windows were rolled up, as we drove across a high overpass, a black swarm of bees hit the car so hard that the impact shook the car, and my SuperMama had to jerk the stirring wheel to keep us from either having an accident or worse, going over the edge of the overpass.
With the wipers spreading dead bees across the windshield, and bees getting caught in the A/C vents inside the car, I knew if Mama didn’t have us wind up the windows, we would’ve been seriously hurt or worse.
From that day forward, you couldn’t tell me that my Shero Mama didn’t have superpowers from a direct connection with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
When Heros Turn Human
In the blockbuster movie, “Black Panther,” we witness the genuine honor and devotion that the character T’Challa (Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman) has for his father and King, T’Chaka (John Kani). Even after his father’s death, T’Challa feels he’s not ready to let his father go – nor figuratively stand upon his father’s broad shoulders as the new king.
However, T’Challa’s grief is soon interrupted by anger and disappointment, as he learns that family secrets never die, and the sins of the father are sadly passed down to the son.
When T’Challa discovers the past sin of his father – an offense unbecoming “… a man, not alone a king…”, T’Challa finds himself in the crosshairs of frustration and responsibility to somehow clean up what his father messed up.
When the Age of Ignorance Ends
During the age of ignorance, we’re shielded from the harsh truths about the parents we adore.
As this age ends, what do we do when the scales fall from our eyes and we catch a glimpse of our parents’ other side? What do you do when you find out what your mother/father did before you were born? How do you handle the knowledge of painful secrets your mother/father never told you? How can you forgive a mother/father who abused or betrayed you, when all you wanted to do was love them and be loved by them?
As followers of Christ, we have specific instructions to forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32).
But, moms and dads are different, right? Actually, yes! In addition to forgiveness, honoring our parents, whether they deserve honor or not, will always be pleasing in the eyes of God (Ephesians 6:1-3). You may feel it’s too hard to forgive your parents, depending on the circumstances, but give your feelings and emotions over to the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength.
When our parents fall from grace in our eyes, here are 5 encouraging ways to catch them in the arms of forgiveness:
1. Accept your parents’ humanity.
For years, perhaps you’ve told yourself that your mother/father was the G.O.A.T., invincible, your Superhero. Now, it’s time to embrace the truth (deep breath): Your parents are only human. Just like us, our parents were born sinful and in need of redemption, period.
It’s time to erase the “S” we scribbled on their chest and cast down imaginations of their perfection. Unhook the cape you placed around their necks and strip your mind of every fantasy that, even in your heart-of-hearts, you knew would never become reality.
Recognizing your parents as flawed humans does not negate their just due to honor and respect (Ephesians 6:2). Rather, it allows you to align your perspective with how God, the real “perfect Father”, sees them as His own children.
2. Take your parents out of the comparison game.
Has your mother/father always been lacking in your eyes? Have you wished that they could’ve been more like other parents – either real or imagined?
Again, the harsh reality is that they did what they did, they are who they are. No one else walks in their shoes. And, there’s no crystal ball to say for certain what someone else, given the exact same circumstances, would have done or not.
Allow your parents to be the individuals that God made them, learning and growing at a pace all their own. God directs the path of our parents – not us.
3. Realize your parents weren’t always parents.
Imagine this. Your mom/dad used to be a toddler in diapers, a contrary teenager, a wild co-ed, and a myriad of other things on their journey to becoming your parent. They did not simply pop out of the womb as your mother/father!
Just as certain experiences have shaped our outlook, perceptions, decisions, and judgment, our parents had experiences – that we may know nothing about – that shaped them as well.
It becomes easier to forgive when we acknowledge those life experiences of others. We don’t have to agree with or excuse bad behavior, but sometimes a glimpse of our parents’ “why or how” come-from reveals greater context for empathy.
4. Value your purpose above punishing your parents.
What means more to you – making your mother/father “pay” for what they “did”, or moving forward toward your purpose in life?
Bitterness and unforgiveness will always clash with God’s divine plan for your life. The enemy would love nothing more than for you to forego God’s plan, pitch a tent, and wallow in “what mama/daddy did”.
You will never find your greatness by sifting through the faults of others. So, give more weight to your life, your destiny – knowing that you have a responsibility for your success that cannot afford to be tied to parental resentment and bitterness.
5. See your parents’ need for forgiveness through the eyes of your own imperfections.
Let’s be fair, Team, shall we? We may never need forgiveness for some of the things our parents have done, but we WILL need forgiveness for our own offenses, bad judgment, mistakes, stupidity, choices, and downright sinful nature.
Think about the most despicable, evil, nasty thing you’ve ever done that perhaps no one knows but God. Got it? Ok. Now, are you really equipped to sit in the seat of judgment of your parents and withhold forgiveness from them?
When the Word of God says, “all have sinned and fallen short…”, that “all” puts you and your parents squarely in the same boat as bonafide passengers in dire need of the loving grace and mercy of God.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Let your parents go and move forward (Philippians 3:13-14).
Think I didn’t have to one day forgive my bee-slaying Mama? I did. Had T’Challa harbored unforgiveness against his father, he would never have been able to walk into his destiny as king and bring his kingdom beauty for ashes. You may not be able to right your parents’ wrongs, but you can right your heart regarding them.
Begin today. If you know you’re harboring feelings of bitterness or resentment against your mom or dad, don’t wait another minute to begin the healing process of forgiveness. Tell mom/dad how you feel – respectfully confront the issue. You may be pleasantly surprised at the resolution once mom/dad has the opportunity to share – listen.
If your situation is too painful to confront alone, consider group or personal counseling with a professional.
Trust that God cares about your relationships with others – including your parents. So, let there be peace, and may all poisonous roots of bitterness die (Hebrews 12:14-15).