In some families, relatives can easily be recognized by their physical appearance. It may be their eyes, or the shape and size of their nose, or perhaps they have a chin dimple like Kurt and Michael Douglas. For some, it may be the over exaggerative facial expressions. Sometimes their mannerisms and posture are surefire giveaways. We like to speak with pride about our family history, and whether or not our children look like us.
When a baby is born, both sides of the family claim the baby looks just like their side of the family. I guess we are all a little that way, because I enjoy when my friends tell me my children have my signature blue eyes. One of those friends said they could actually recognize my children by the posture they maintained driving their cars.
We can also recognize some family members by behavior and attitudes. Isn’t it ironic how small children imitate parents and repeat the most embarrassing things at the most inopportune times? At home the child may sound funny, or even cute, but out in public, that’s a different story. Or how about the child who asks if they are fat, or stupid, or even worse? We must be careful to remember we are training up the next generation, the future leaders of our communities and country.
While the curly hair and cute little dimples make family ties easily recognizable, there are deeper hidden issues that may not become visible for years. Anger, addictions, and all kinds of abuse, are harder to recognize because families tend to cover them up. Children add to the secrecy out of shame, embarrassment and fear. After all, the good physical, mental, and spiritual health of a child is dependent upon the mom and dad, along with other key relatives involved in the child’s life. Without God’s love being displayed and taught in the home, the enemy will slide on in and stay as long as you let him stay. As a society we cannot blame the child if there are generational strongholds within the family tree, but we will be forced to deal with the effects these issues create within our communities.
Scientists say we are genetically pre-disposed to certain good, bad, and not so pretty things. We are influenced by our family and their health history, with some families living extra-long lives, while others are at greater risk for certain diseases. Throw in things like poverty, physical or sexual abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, obesity, pornography, entitlement mentality, abandonment issues, rejection, and feeling unloved, and you create the perfect environment for life in bondage. If your family health history suggests the potential for certain illnesses or diseases, people are careful to monitor for symptoms of the condition. But of even greater importance should be our mindfulness to monitor our spiritual condition.
Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.” (John 8:36 MSG)
There is a solution to generational strongholds that wage war on families from one generation to the next. While God does not make us pay for the sins of our family members, these issues may continue in your family unless you decide to do something about it and say, “Enough is enough!” I have heard God saying these words over and over since the beginning of the year, and recently a Pastor spoke those same words at church. God wants us to live in freedom!
We have the power, and the authority, to break the generational strongholds that have kept families in bondage. When we take responsibility for our actions, and our behaviors, ask God for forgiveness and repent, the chains that have kept us bound will be loosed. But freedom that endures must be protected, nurtured to be sustained. Bring your challenges to God daily and He will provide strength and wisdom for sustainability. In turn, you will be delivered and set free to live the abundant life.
“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?” (Galatians 5:13 MSG)
I have never met my biological father and bear little resemblance to my biological mother, but that did not keep them from impacting my life. For a while I was in bondage with abandonment issues, rejection, and feeling unloved, but God sent his son to save me and I said, “Enough is enough!” You do not have to live like your parents live, or stay in bondage to their actions. Perhaps you are the family member who will break the curse and say “Enough is enough!” Maybe you are the family member God has sent to pick up the sword of the spirit and cut the head off the snake, once and for all!
“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” (Galatians 5:1 MSG)
Pray for those who do not know Jesus Christ, pray and then, pray some more. Time is slipping away, and we are all short timers. Let everyone know there is Hope; God will not let them down. The Lord wants to rebuild, restore and renew you and your family. The Lord wants you to be set FREE. There is freedom in Christ, but you must take action to break the chains.
This Shaped by Faith column appeared in the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer on July 1, 2017.