Q: When I hear people refer to God as our Heavenly Father, I get real uptight. My father was very abusive, and if that's what God is like, I don't want anything to do with Him. You'll probably say God isn't like this, but how do you know? -- K.S.
A: No, God isn't like this -- not at all. God is our perfect and loving Heavenly Father, and His every thought and action toward us is motived by His love. The Bible says, "God is love. ... We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:16, 19).
I'm sorry your father wasn't the kind of person he should have been. I know this may have scarred you emotionally, and even filled you with anger or bitterness -- which can be like poisons to your soul if you aren't careful. I'm concerned too that since he wasn't a healthy role model, you may have a hard time being the kind of father your children need. I pray this won't be the case -- but you should be alert to the dangers. The Bible says, "Fathers, do not embitter your children" (Colossians 3:21).
How do I know God isn't like this? I know it for several reasons, including the good things He does for us every day. But I know it most of all because of Jesus Christ, who left Heaven's glory and came down to earth solely because He loves us. The Bible says, "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him" (1 John 4:9).
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By a simple prayer of faith ask Christ to come into your life. Then thank Him for His love and His forgiveness -- and thank Him too for His power to heal your past and help you in the future.
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)(c)2018 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.