There is a funny quote about family…”Family is like fudge, mostly sweet mixed with a few nuts!” You have to admit it’s true, every family has its nuts and its skeletons. The fascinating thing is that they are in every family…and most don’t like to admit it. Maybe there is a fear that the family secrets will make others gossip, or then bring shame to us. No, we don’t like to live in the shadows of embarrassment. But, what if this “nutty” behavior is actually a generational issue…and has been passed down through the family gene pool?
There is something about generational blessings and generational curses. You might not believe in this…but I do. A few years ago I heard about this comparison between two families…so I did a little digging on the internet. One of them was Jonathan Edwards, who was married to Sara in 1727. He was one of the colonies’ most respected and noted preachers. The Edwards were blessed with 11 kids, & every night Mr. Edwards was home, he would sit in his chair for one hour with his kids. They engaged in small talk, conversation, & he prayed blessing over his children every night.
In 1900, A.E. Winsup (an educator and pastor) tracked down 400 descendants of Mr. & Mrs. Edwards. There were 285 college grads, 300 preachers, 13 noted authors, 13 college presidents, 65 professors, 100 lawyers, 1 dean of a law school, 30 judges, 56 doctors, 1 dean of a medical school, 80 holders of office, 3 U.S. Senators, 1 Vice-President of the U.S., 1 Comptroller for the U.S. Treasury. His findings are astounding, especially when compared to a man known as Max Jukes. Jukes’ legacy came to the forefront when the family trees of 42 different men in the New York prison system traced back to him. Max Jukes’ descendants included:
7 murderers, 60 thieves, 50 women of debauchery, 130 other convicts. 310 paupers (with over 2,300 years lived in poorhouses), 400 who were physically wrecked by indulgent living. It was estimated that Max Juke’s descendants cost the state more than $1,250,000.
I have heard that at the age of 40 we should stop blaming our parents for our mistakes and failures. Getting to 40 is a long road. In the previous 20 years we have made most, if not all, of our major life choices. Well, what if the choices we made also came with the baggage that has come through our ancestry? Not through our parents, per se. What if the secrets we harbor are the same ones that came from our grandparents and their grandparents? When you live in a family full of lies, denial, sexual deviance, alcoholism, etc…it is very hard to separate yourself from it. You carry these secrets and behaviors to the next generation, and so on. Often we are blind to the behavior we exhibit. It doesn’t hurt to ask someone we feel safe with to give some feedback, and maybe open our eyes and hearts to change.
Is there hope? Definately! Can we change the course of the future? Yes! We can break these patterns, “curses”, and see a difference first in our immediate family and the ones to come. The first step is to humble ourselves before God and ask Him to reveal the truth. Then we go to His word and find the prayers and verses that deal with this subject…and start applying them to our own lives. We break the generational bonds and start anew with our own children. We can see amazing breakthrough for generations to come.
(This isn’t just an “easy solution” for an “easy problem”…this is hard work. My hope and prayer is that you don’t think that I am blaming any of you for bad parenting…we all have these generational issues to deal with. We all need prayer for victory…let’s start the dialogue…with each other and with God.)