The 900-Pound Gorilla: Making Peace with Dad


Until you deal with the 900-pound gorilla in the room, you'll stay stuck in the past. You can’t change the past, but you can create a new future.

I know I am not a family therapist or a psychologist, but I do know this: until you make peace with your dad, you’re stuck.

You will have trouble dealing with authority.

You will have trouble with issues of self worth and confidence.

And you will constantly wonder if you are good enough to be loved by anyone, not to mention the incipient damage the unfocused anger can do in your life.

Let me begin by saying most dads, for all of their failures, did the best they could.  Sometimes we forget that our dads had dads; they were little boys once too, and sometimes they were wounded too.

It’s important to realize, some of us, that although our dads may not have given us what we think we might have needed or wanted, most likely they loved us the best way they knew how.  And if you can know that, it’s okay.

But you others, you who had fathers who were either absent, addicted or just mean. What do you do?

First, you want to forgive.  Remember, forgiveness is releasing the other person from the expectation they can fix what they did.  Once the pain is inflicted, it is ours to deal with. Healing can only come from Christ.

Second, you accept.  Accept doesn’t mean that you “like,” but that you understand the reality of your dad and your relationship with him.

Now, reconciliation isn’t always possible.  Remember Paul said, “As much as it is up to us, live in peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). Sometimes it’s not up to us.  That’s okay, but it’s important just to note that to yourself.

Once you have done that, you can begin to move on.

It may not be easy, but it will be possible.

Until you deal with this 900-pound gorilla in the room, you will be constantly stuck in trying to straighten out what you think went wrong in the past.  You can’t change the past, but you can create a new future.

The hope of the resurrection gives us the power to do new things from the worst situations.


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