So what did your parents pass down to you? I’m not talking about a family heirloom or a large monetary sum. I’m talking about what you emotionally inherited; what is passed down to us emotionally? What talents or gifts do you have that your parents also have or had? I’ve been doing this amazing Bible study by Beth Moore entitled The Patriarchs; Encountering The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I want to share with you what I gleamed from one particular part of the study.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the concept of “generational sins” or in other words “bad habits” that are passed down from one generation to the next and so on. Of course when you grow up with a parent that has a bad habit, lets say alcoholism or gambling, most of us strive to not turn into an adult with a similar addiction. Often our childhoods leave us with such deep scars and hurts that we say “I never want to be like my father/mother” and we focus on that idea so much that we begin to exclude everything else about that parent. In order to cope most people employ the popular emotional defense mechanism that goes something like this: “I want nothing from you, nothing to do with you and want to be nothing like you.” We may strive to be better than our parents, but to achieve this, I challenge you to examine this common defense mechanism and grow beyond it. Beth Moore in The Patriarchs talks about Genesis 26 in which Isaac is repeating some of his father Abraham’s sins. Due to a famine in the land he had to dig up some of the very same wells that his father had dug because the Philistines had filled them in. Isaac needed water, his father had already dug the wells, and the enemy had filled them in. Beth Moore asks the reader to apply this philosophically. She states the wells of refreshment that our parents passed down to us can be stopped up with “feelings of unworthiness, distance, disrespect and difference. An adult child stops up a well every time he/she throws out the positive inheritance with the negative.” Talk about throwing out the baby with the bath water! But don’t we often do that when we employ that common defense mechanism mentioned above? Do YOU want to be boiled down to the sum total of your sins? Meaning that you would only be described by your favorite sin? I know I sure don’t want to be thought of that way! But when we allow the hurt and anger from a parent to invade us to the point that we can see nothing good in them, that’s what we’re doing; we’re seeing them only as their sin or negative qualities. This is what the devil wants, he wants to rob you of positive inheritances from our parents. The devil wins when you allow anger a foothold in our heart that excludes the good qualities of your parent(s).
As Beth Moore wrote to her grown child: “Your parents strongholds do not equal your parents.”
It’s normal to say “I want nothing to do with ______sin or addiction.” But it’s healthy to recognize what our parents were gifted and blessed with, it doesn’t mean that they weren’t flawed people. Have you read the Bible? God uses some pretty flawed people to be his messengers. We can get a more accurate view of ourselves when we recognize the good characteristics of our parents and which ones we inherited from them. Then we can value the positive inheritance instead of defining ourselves and our parents by sins and mistakes made. You are not the sum total of the mistakes you have made and neither are your parents. The whole existence of mankind is made up of a lot of grey areas; don’t let your hurts paint people in broad brush strokes of black and white because it’s a disservice to them and to you!