We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Our family of origin has had an influence on who we are today. Some of us want to pretend that our families were, or are, nearly perfect. Others of us may tend to avoid responsibility for our actions by blaming our families. Whatever the case, when we think about our own lives, we also need to deal with our families and the effects they have had on who we are today.
We're told that the returned Jewish exiles "confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors" (Nehemiah 9:2). They blamed their ancestors for their captivity and the difficult situation they were facing. They said, "They [our ancestors] refused to turn from their wickedness. So now today we are slaves in the land of plenty that you gave our ancestors for their enjoyment! . . . We serve them [conquering kings] at their pleasure, and we are in great misery" (Nehemiah 9:35-37).
It's all right to admit the truth about what brought us into bondage. This might very well involve the wrongs committed by our parents and family. It's all right to express our anger and regret over what's been done to us. We have a right to hold others accountable and grieve over the negative effects they've had on our lives. That is part of the real picture. It's not all right to use this as an excuse for our wrong choices or for staying in bondage. They may be partly responsible for bringing us to this place. We're responsible for moving on to a better place for ourselves and our children.
Past generations helped create our present circumstances; our confessions can free us for a better future.