"I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me." Exodus 20:5 NLT
Thoughts for Today
When we are struggling with life-controlling problems, one of the most damaging delusions we entertain is that our problems are not hurting anyone other than ourselves. On the contrary, one person's problems affect a network of personal relationships. The closer the relationship, the greater the impact. For example, our misbehavior may only slightly affect our job performance, but it may devastate our immediate family. This is known as the domino effect.
If a husband is too involved at work, this may trigger conflict with his wife. The parents' preoccupation with their own issues, in turn, may cause one child to misbehave at school and another to turn to an eating disorder. As this happens again and again, relationships are destroyed.
We use the term family system to describe the attitudes and patterns by which families operate. When one member of the family system has a problem, the others will deal with the problem according to the pattern they have learned. Each family member is an element in the whole, affecting and being affected by the system.
We can become more effective in helping ourselves and others when we understand that all of us are affected by a system of relationships that extends into past generations and that our actions will also impact future generations.
Father, help me to better understand this bigger picture of how my behavior can have long-lasting ripple effects on those around me. Help me make the changes that will turn my influence from negative to positive. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from…
Living Free by Jimmy Ray Lee, D. Min. and Dan Strickland, M. Div. This updated version is presented in two parts. It offers information for anyone who either has a life-controlling problem or has a loved one with a life-controlling problem:
Part 1: Learning to Live Free
- Defining Life-Controlling Problems
- Mastered and Trapped by Issues
- Walls of Protection
- Family Influences
- Helping or Harming?
Part 2: Helping Others to Live Free through Small Groups
- The Small Group Strategy
- Effective Facilitation and Communication
- Launching a Living Free Ministry
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