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Abba – The Father

Remember in the film, Good Will Hunting, when Robin Williams tells the struggling Matt Damon, “It’s not your fault.” He keeps repeating it over and over. At first Damon brushes it off as something “he knows.” Damon does indeed have the intellectual knowledge of his childhood trauma as well as the causes. But Williams repeats it over and over again. He keeps saying, “It’s not your fault.” Williams keeps pressing in on him, moving closer and closer. Damon’s initial rejection to such “closeness” is very much like our rejection of God.

Intellectually we know that God loves us. We know it in our heads and we can even say it to ourselves and others as assurance. This is okay, but it’s incomplete. Knowing God at an intellectual level misses the deeper father/son relationship that is offered – and desired by God. Without this relationship (this deep connection) we wander around much like Matt Damon does in the movie – angry, confused, and hyper-sensitive.

Tim Keller puts it like this, paraphrasing, As a child you can know your father loves you as you hold his hand walking down the street. It’s an entirely different experience when your father picks you up, hugs you, kisses you, and tells you how important you are.

It’s this latter experience that Jesus is always talking about. This is why he tells us to call on God in the most intimate way – Abba. Just like a child to a parent. It’s this relationship we need to build and deepen.

God’s not looking for us to figure everything out or have all the right answers. He’s looking for that deep trust and connection between father and son – and father and daughter. He wants us to let go and experience his love for us. Knowing God’s deep love for us will free us and allow us to experience life to the fullest. Every parent wants this for their child.

Damon, after repeated attempts by Williams, is able to let go of his intellect and experience the healing love of another, creating a deep, emotional connection. It was the turning point for him, setting him on his true path.

Interestingly, we often think of ourselves running to God – we try to get to God. In doing so, we often run right past him because we think we have to to do something. Like the Prodigal Son, we ask God to make us like one of his hired servants. We think, “that’s good enough…that’s close enough.” This, according to Keller, is an insult to God.

Remember, God’s been chasing us. It’s God initiated. In the Prodigal Son, it’s the father (God) who comes running to the son. God keeps pressing in on us, moving closer and closer. We just need to put up our hands like a child and say, Abba.

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson

Enjoy the video clip from Good Will Hunting…


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  1. Ted – this is EXCELLENT!! The love of the Father is paramount to our walks as Christians. As the true son or daughter of Daddy God will always say: It’s NOT religion -it’s RELATIONSHIP. And the greatest and most amazing Love relationship in the history of the world. Thanks for posting this. God bless!

  2. This scene is the perfect example of it, Ted. We so often want to keep God at the “safer” high level where our minds can go but our hearts stay hidden. We can’t be healed until we acknowledge we’re hurting – not hurt as in the past tense, but now, still, and continuing to be, hurt. And our success-driven, I-oriented culture has convinced so many of us that we must *do* something, chart our own course, take charge of our destiny. And we do run right past him, or sometimes drift by him with our faces turned elsewhere seeking the blessing of “the universe.” Certainly I been in both situations at various times! For me, a few weeks of real and open relationship with him healed what 10 years of secular therapy couldn’t, for which I am profoundly grateful!

    • Thanks Alicia – the “success-driven, I-oriented” culture is a powerful pull. It makes us think we’re in control – that we can do this ourselves – who needs God. It’s a lonely road to say the least.

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