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Archive for September 27th, 2020

We’ve all heard them, maybe even spoken of ourselves (as the child or the parent). Idioms that communicate that a child is so very similar in looks, behavior or attitude.

“Well doesn’t she just take right after you”

“That apple didn’t fall far from the tree”

“He’s a chip off the old block”

Genetics are an amazing thing. Yet, there is also the question of nature or nurture?

As a Christian, we might even look to the negative attitudes, habits and behaviors as generational curses … leaving us a little less personally ‘guilty’ for the nasties that we bring to life.

Yet, in Ezekiel 18 we are reminded”

“The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness.” (v. 20).

In this account we are reminded that God does not see us through our families, he sees us, our choices, our actions and attitudes as individuals who are free and responsible to make our own choices … even when we have been nurtured a certain way.

If we grow up in a home where physical abuse happened, it is our responsibility to not continue inflicting pain on others (seek counselling).

If we grow up in a home where we saw substance abuse, we must do whatever we can to avoid that substance (join a 12-step program for loved ones of substance abuse users/addicts).

If we grow up in a home where passive aggressive behavior was the norm, choose to live differently (learn to be assertive (not aggressive), to speak what is on your mind, stop reading into the motivations of others).

As I read back, those suggestions might sound far easier, far more simplistic than the reality is for those living in tough situations, with not the best role models.

Then there is the parent or grandparent who inflicted the pain … is there any hope for them?

Ann Voskamp tells a story that kind of stopped me in my tracks:

“I knew a guy who said: “Dad – I need you to say that I’m enough …”

Sometimes what you want most is your father/mother) to give you the greatest gift: For them to believe in you.

But his father turned to him and said – I can’t. Because my own father never said it to me.”

What your father (mother) never gave you, may be because it was something he/she never had.

This can be an unspoken bond with the one who has wounded you? You both carry the same wounds.

You can’t deeply love your parents – until you grieve the deep wounds of their life.

Even now, we could be the ones to say what every parents long to hear: “I love you and nothing you’ve ever done or ever failed to do will change how I forever love you.

I’m not ashamed of you but I acclaim you, for the battles that count as wins because you kept getting up again.”

https://annvoskamp.com/2020/06/what-all-our-hurting-hearts-need-most-this-fathers-day/

In this world where we encourage the elimination of toxic people from our lives, we forget that our scars can be the ointment that heals others … and that can be the miracle cure for our own. For our scars may, indeed, be very similar … originating from a common source.

We need to remember that God does not look at us through the sins of generations before us, he sees us for who we are as his child. It is how we choose to live that we are responsible for. And it is his favor, his grace that moves us beyond our nature and our nurture.

Fight the tendency to follow in your father’s or mother’s dirty footprints. Live differently! But also keep the door open to finding a new family path, by being the one who nurtures healing.

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