"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up."
Psalm 71:20 (NIV)
Every family has both baggage and facets of beauty. What blessings and curses does your lineage carry with it? What family troubles have you seen, what miracles of restoration?
My own family is dichotomous this way—I am the product of a messy divorce, yet the beneficiary of my grandmother's fervent prayers. I have in my lineage an excommunicated opera singer and a steadfast Sunday school teacher. I have teetotalers and those struggling with addiction. I have family members who don't speak to one another and others who work tirelessly to bridge the riffs.
For many of us, we spend the first part of our lives struggling to deal with our negative "family inheritance," and the rest of our lives desperate to undo the things we enacted in response. Many of us live in a state of regret for things we've done and unforgiveness for those who have done unto us.
This is not "living abundantly" as Jesus has promised His followers. We should not have unfinished business at the end of our lives, for we'll only pass it along to those who follow behind us.
In the Old Testament, we read that families could be "cursed." Generation after generation did evil and lacked favor with God. Yet it only took one person to break a family curse and start living anew with God's blessing. Likewise, a family could also be blessed, but it only took one to come along and lose favor with God and influence others for evil.
In 2 Kings 23:37, we read about a man who "did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father had done." And alternately, about a man who "did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and followed completely the ways of his father, not turning aside to the right or to the left" (2 Kings 2:22).
In the New Testament, however, we see that by receiving Christ, we are born into a new family: God's family. It is clear—we are not captives to our lineage here on earth but have the choice to be agents of change. We do not have to follow in the footsteps of our "fathers," right or wrong—yet we sometimes choose to do so.
Being a genealogy buff, I enjoy learning about the colorful characters in my lineage as they help me to understand where I come from. But where I'm going is up to me. I can choose to dwell on the problems from my past or the consequences of my "fathers'" sins that have come before me. Or I can choose to set my own path straight, and to understand and forgive the sins of my "fathers." I can choose to seek God in all that I do and ask for blessings upon my life, on my children's lives, and all who come after me.
I choose to be a blessing in my family tree. What about you?
Dear Lord, please help me understand the people who came before me, and who I am today as a result. Lord, on this day, I choose to let go of those things which hold me back, and to search for the beauty in my family inheritance. Please use me to be a blessing in my family tree. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
Nicole Seitz is the author of five novels from Thomas Nelson. Her most recent book, The Inheritance of Beauty, explores the themes of family redemption and enduring love. Visit She Reads for more about Beth!
The Mom I want to be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future by T. Suzanne Eller
Building the Christian Family You Never Had: A Practical Guide for Pioneer Parents by Mary E. DeMuth
When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!
Ask God to remove any anger or resentment in your heart, and choose to forgive those who have passed along troubles to you. Choose also to forgive yourself.
Examine your family tree. If there are family members no one talks about, ask questions and break the silence where needed so true healing can begin.
Seek God when discerning where to go from here. Who do you want to be? Take full responsibility for the person you have become and choose to change those parts of you that are simply a result of past hurts.
Be a prayer warrior for your family, especially for those seen as "black sheep." Pray for your children and for all who will come after you. Pray for God to use you in a powerful way to positively affect their lives and lineage.
Whom in my family do I most take after? Who has had the biggest effect on my life?
What branches in my family tree are unfruitful? Which are full of life?
Is there any "unfinished business" I need to deal with?
Isaiah 61:4, "They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations." (NIV)
Genesis 12:2, "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing." (NIV)
© 2011 by Nicole Seitz. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105