Along the journey of parenting, there's the tendency to unconsciously revert to the way Mom or Dad did things - even if it was something that hurt us, that aggravated us, or something we really disliked. Suddenly you're hearing the echo of a parent, you're saying things you thought you would never say, and you're doing things you said you would never do.
All of us were given some of those empty ways of life from our family. You can call them family sins passed on from one generation to the next. Maybe it's a tendency to criticize, to manipulate, to blow up, to freeze people out, or to be a work-a-holic or a nag. Maybe you've picked up one of your parents ways of handling conflict, or communicating, or getting your way. Maybe you weren't shown much love outwardly, and now your kids are suffering from that same kind of emotional starvation.
The fact is we've all inherited empty ways of life from our parents who were probably copying one of their parents, who were copying one of their parents. Now, another generation is about to be marked by this weakness or this sin that has marked so many before us. Unless it stops with you, which it can because of Jesus.
It can be a hopeless cycle of despair and hurt except for the liberating words, "you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers...with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18-19). You don't have to parent your children that way anymore.
When Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross, He was covering your sins and the sins of your family. The shedding of His blood broke the power of that sin. If you trust Jesus to be your Savior from your sin, then His resurrection power lives in you. You can repent of that and ask Him to unleash His transforming power to change it.
If that family sin has gone far enough, here's your liberation plan:
- First, do what you're doing right now - face it as a sin against God, no excuses!
- Confess it to Jesus as a sin.
- Confess it to the ones who have been affected by that sin in your family.
- Ask your family to pray for you as you start working on the new you in the power of Jesus.
- Then turn the other way. Make a conscious effort to do it the right way, today.
These destructive hand-me-downs are often ignored or excused because they've become such a part of us, but they're wrong, they're destructive, and they're beatable. Because of the precious blood of Christ, you can face the monster of family sin and say, "Enough! It stops here!"