Years ago, my mother used to say to me, “When you marry a man, you marry his family.” Meaning, with him come relationships with a bunch of other people. Their family becomes yours, and yours becomes theirs.
That’s very true, but on a deeper level it also means that the person you marry is a product of their family’s culture, traditions, habits, weaknesses, strengths, the good, the bad and the ugly of their past generations. That’s why we see certain patterns carried down through the generations of families: Things like addiction, divorce, strife, chronic depression, betrayal. What happens in one generation often repeats itself in the next.
Patterns of the past
Our family’s traits—both good and bad—live inside us and have shaped who we are. They continue to influence how we feel about life, marriage, family, money, even what we think about God. We’ve been programmed with thousands of messages. The problem is, most of our family’s messages go contrary to God’s ways. We may not even be aware that these messages are keeping us in bondage to sinful habit patterns. It’s no wonder we try, but can’t seem to live the abundant life.
The good news is: Once we come to Christ, the traits of our biological family no longer have to determine our future. We’re adopted into God’s Family. We’re Born Again, with a new beginning and a new inheritance.
To take hold of our new inheritance and cancel out the old one, to kick our past out of our present it’s necessary to go back and take a look at where we came from. Looking back can be painful, and somehow, putting our family under a microscope of scrutiny seems disloyal. Let me say this to reassure you. Most parents did the best they could, but the fact is, all families are flawed by the effects of sin in the world. Because of that, none of us escape without some negative baggage. But remember, because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we can get healed of our pasts and move forward into our future free. We don’t have to pass on to our children the old baggage we carried into adulthood.
Jesus said it very clearly in Matthew 10:37: “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” He didn’t mean, literally hate our parents, but hate their sinful habit patterns, and limiting culture we grew up with. He meant, let go all that negative baggage because now you’re a member of God’s family.
Take the time.
God wants to heal you, even more than you want it. Spend time with Him each day. He made you and He loves you. Bring your burdens, your wounds, the bruises life has inflicted on you. He’ll heal you, free you, and fill you with new life. “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matt. 11:28.
Take a minute to share: Think back to the family you grew up in. Was there any “baggage” you picked up that needed to, or still needs to be unpacked, in order to break free and live well?