Home Life Challenges Life after Death Can there be something good about a bad childhood?

Can there be something good about a bad childhood?

Q: If a person had a bad childhood can there still be something good about it in the afterlife?

A:  

{Full question: I have come upon this piece in The Urantia Book:

"His early home life was not such as would produce a wholly dependable person. Amos is too much like one of the apostles who failed to enjoy a normal, loving, and wise home training. Your whole afterlife will be more happy and dependable because you spent your first eight years in a normal and well-regulated home"

and

"A human being's entire afterlife is enormously influenced by what happens during the first few years of existence"

I do believe every word in The Urantia Book, but please share your insight on this and if a person had a bad childhood (which was never in their power to avoid) can there still be something good about it in the afterlife?}

Your question touched my heart. I always wince a little bit when I read those passages that you cited because of some regrettable circumstances in my own life. So, we have some things in common...

When children grow up in an adverse household—maybe there's chaos, violence, neglect, or something even worse—they can early learn not to trust, or they can learn to repeat those bad behaviors. There's always the risk that they will end up without those qualities that make them dependable people. They can develop suspicions or a "victim" mentality, they can become hopeless, they can become bitter, or they can become hardened to the sufferings of others.

But then, there's always good that can come from bad. It depends upon our own responses to our circumstances. And as you say, your experience has made you a more compassionate and caring person—wiser and stronger. So, your own life is a great illustration of how that works. It is not that way for everyone, though. As you know, it takes a good deal of effort to overcome those kinds of circumstances, and not everyone has the strength of character to do the hard work necessary...so, good on YOU!

For me, the most important thing to have learned is trustworthiness and attendance to duty. My feeling is that this is what Jesus was talking about when he worried about Amos. The Urantia Book teaches about the importance of being trustworthy:

28:6.13 Trust is the crucial test of will creatures. Trustworthiness is the true measure of self-mastery, character.

So, knowing how important it is to be a trustworthy person-what Jesus calls "a wholly dependable person," every effort must be made by those of us who have experienced the lack of trustworthiness in those who should have been the most trusted people in our lives. Even if we lacked those kinds of role-models in our lives, we must strive to become worthy of trust in ourselves. I believe that is one important way we can overcome our adverse beginnings. And we have a great example in Jesus, who was a model of one who was devoted to duty and worthy of eternal trust.

Here are two great parables from Jesus on this subject: "The Parable of the Pounds" and "The Parable of the Talents"

171:8.9 It was Nathaniel who so well taught the meaning of these two parables in the after years, summing up his teachings in these conclusions:

1. Ability is the practical measure of life’s opportunities. You will never be held responsible for the accomplishment of that which is beyond your abilities.

2. Faithfulness is the unerring measure of human trustworthiness. He who is faithful in little things is also likely to exhibit faithfulness in everything consistent with his endowments.

3. The Master grants the lesser reward for lesser faithfulness when there is like opportunity.

4. He grants a like reward for like faithfulness when there is lesser opportunity.

These are good things to think over deeply...

Don't be afraid of being held back because of your unfortunate past. God reads your heart very well. He knows how hard you work to be a good person, and I know that, if you continue to prove yourself trustworthy in small things, you'll receive opportunity for great service-in this life and beyond.

Your life may have been better had you been raised in an ideal home, but that does not mean that you can't rally up and improve your lot in life through effort and determination. You are a truthseeker, and that speaks very well of your character, so never give up, and don't fear your lack of of a good childhood. Anything can be overcome if we set our mind to it, and act in accordance with God's will.

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:: Date published:
:: Author: Staff