A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. (Ecclesiastes 7:1)
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Men marry women like their mothers. Women fall for men like their dads. Nature over nurture. You have heard all these sayings and maybe, just maybe, you are prone to believe they are true. In some cases, these words may indeed have truth to them, but at the end of the day, they are nothing more than words—words that can build us up or break us down depending on our history.
If you came from a well-rounded family who believed in education, hard work, moral standards, etc. then you are nothing short of blessed. For those of us raised in these environments by what we consider solid parents (not perfect, but solid), it is hard for us to imagine the opposite scenario. Yet many people are walking around with open wounds given to them by parents who were not who they should have been. Adults coming from these scenarios may be the ones with warm smiles greeting you on Sunday morning. Or maybe your spouse or one of your friends was raised in a less than remarkable situation. They may not present themselves as wounded grown-up children, because the grace of God has redeemed their lives and their stories!
But there are incredibly godly, wise, and kind people who struggle in their own parenting out of fear that they are doomed to repeat their parents’ patterns. If this is you, I want to encourage you that you are not your parents, and the lineage you come from does not determine the legacy you can leave! While parents are arguably the single largest contributing factor to how a man or woman turns out, God determines your ultimate story. Your testimony is that God saved you in spite of yourself and your family, and all His children are living reflections of His redemption and restoration. How amazing is that?
In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:4-6)
To paraphrase something I heard David Jeremiah say: No one in the Bible began as a biblical character—they were all just characters until they latched on and walked hand-in-hand with God. From reading Pastor Dave’s post, I was reminded that many adults do not address their actual issues and live hiding behind a proverbial mask. By being open, vulnerable, and honest, we not only release the pain of our past and find healing, but we are using our story—God’s story—as a testimony to the redemption found in a relationship with Jesus. That relationship trumps all others. What freedom there is when we put the trash in the rotten-smelling can and start over with something new that gives a fragrant offering to all.
If you, Christian parent, come from a family tree that is less than ideal—and possibly even off-the-charts dysfunctional—you are not alone, and you are certainly not destined for history to repeat itself! If you are in Christ, you are a NEW creation. The old is gone, and the new has come. God longs for your family to have deep roots and live in light of His goodness and grace. God is in the business of restoration, and if things were “perfect” in our lives, there would be no opportunity for the glory of God to be magnificently revealed in our lives, and in the generations who will come after us.
Every legacy begins somewhere, and every family has issues. But the roots you get to plant in Christ are new roots; that old, dead stump, often called “family of origin,” has been replaced with something that can become beautiful, bold, and produce abundant fruit. Perhaps, for you, to honor your father and mother could mean to bring value and worth to the last name which they did not.
A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. (Proverbs 22:1)
Do not allow your past childhood to overwhelm your present parenthood. You are here now, and God is faithful to restore the years the locusts have eaten. Trust that He is working all things together for good, because you do love Him.
Leave a Legacy,
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