Our children’s view of us becomes a mental and emotional projection of who God is.
The Father image is an important reality—biblically and psychologically. Sigmund Freud certainly saw the implications—but he drew false conclusions because he didn’t believe in God. He was an atheist. His presuppositions were naturalistic. Consequently, he concluded that because people seem to need some kind of supernatural support system, the image of God that people have is a projection of their need for a father image. He believed that God existed only in the minds of people. In other words, for Freud, simply was a mental and emotional projection of their inner needs.
Of course, we believe God is a reality. But Freud was right in his observations that we develop certain ideas about God because of various kinds of experiences with parents—particularly with our fathers. After all, we tell our children God is our heavenly father. And so—God—who is an eternal spirit and invisible—gradually and naturally takes on the same characteristics in children’s minds as an earthly father. If a father is kind and loving, they think of God as kind and loving. If the father is cold and distant—or even cruel—they think of a God who is cold and distant and even cruel
The lesson is clear. This is why Paul wrote to the Ephesians and said—“Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children. But bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Similarly, Paul wrote to the Colossians—“Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they won’t become discouraged.”
So here’s the principle for all of us as fathers. The more we reflect God and who He truly is, the more our children will have a correct view of their heavenly Father.