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A Word with You - Feb. 9, 2009

  • 2009 Feb 09


Useless Hand-Me-Downs

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I had just finished presenting one of our outreach parenting seminars and I had talked near the end about how we tend to copy the ways that our parents raised us. Well, this man came and told me that he had noticed something a little different the first time his wife cooked a roast for him. I wondered where this was going. He said she cut off the ends of the roast! He said, "Well, that's strange," but he let it go. And then, after a few times, he said, "Honey, why do you do that?" And she said, "Well, my mother did it." He said, "Why did she do it?" She said, "I'm going to ask her." So she asked her mother and her mother said, "Well, my mother did it." She said, "Well, do you know why my grandmother did it?" The mother said, "Well, actually, while she was still alive I asked her one time." She said, "Yeah, I'll tell you why I cut off the ends of the beef. My pan was too short!" So, here are three generations doing what great-grandmother did long after the reason for doing it was history!

Now, it's too bad all the ways that we clone our parents aren't that harmless. Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Peter 1:18 which says, "You were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers...with the precious blood of Christ." All of us got some of those empty ways of life from our family. I mean, suddenly one day this baby arrives and your name is changed forever - suddenly you are daddy, you're mommy. You've got a new name! And you comb through that receiving blanket looking for the instruction book that comes with the baby, right - on how to parent! After all there's an instruction book for cars, and for appliances, surely there's one for life's most important job! Sorry!

There's the tendency to unconsciously revert to the way mom or dad did it. Even if it was something that had hurt us, that aggravated us, something we really disliked. Suddenly you're hearing the echo of a parent, you're saying things you thought you would never say, you're doing things you said you would never do. I call it 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, to be a work-a-holic, a nag. Or 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. And 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. This is a hopeless cycle of despair and hurt except for those liberating words, "You were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you with the precious blood of Christ." You don't have to be that way anymore. When Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross He was covering those family sins too. The shedding of His blood broke the power of that sin. If you've trusted 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:

  1. First, do what you're doing right now - face it as a sin against God, no excuses!
  2. Confess it to Him as a sin.
  3. 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.
  4. And then turn the other way. Make a conscious effort to do it the right way today.

These destructive hand-me-downs are often ignored, they're 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!"

Copyright © 2008 Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.

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