Adult Children: Forgive Your Parents

A Word to Adult Children


Most adults have layers and layers of subconscious anger resulting from being loved insufficiently as a child. 


Anger’s function is justice.  It is a reflex to perceived injustice.  All people know intuitively they should be loved.   Almost all people internalize, as infants and children, the anger of the injustice of poor love.


The only cure for these anger layers is to forgive the perpetrators, and the first perpetrators are our own parents.  There are books and books on this issue (both secular and Christian) and it is pointless to rehash them here.  One good one from a Christian point of view is “Restoring the Christian Family”, by John and Paula Sandford. 


Many people are simply unable to forgive their parents.  The ability to forgive comes in an instant of time with the revelation of what we have been forgiven.  Those who struggle with forgiveness have only a partial knowledge of what they have been forgiven. 


Children must learn to forgive, of course, but not by the cheap grace method which most parents, secular and religious, hold so dearly.  Children should not be “forgiven” their wrongs; they should pay the just penalty for their own wrongs.   


If they are facilely encouraged to forgive, their sense of injustice, which is important, will be devalued.  Most children are capable of practicing a sufficiently convincing level of psuedo-forgiveness so that their parents move on, which is what the child really wants.  But this pseudo-forgiveness, like all the self-deceptions in Christian piety, produces a residual bitterness and establishes almost a schizophrenic structure in the inner life.  


 Forgiveness is not possible absent the experience of being forgiven.  



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