Skip to main content

Break the Cycle


Our Narrative Lectionary reading for this upcoming Sunday is from 2 Kings 22:1-10.  Josiah becomes king at 8 years old.  After generations of terribly abusive kings, he decides to reform the temple and bring the people back to worship.  He fixes the temple and re-institutes the teachings of Moses. 

Two major truths stood out to me this week.
1.) We are not captive to inheriting the sins of our father

Scriptures tell us that the sins of our parents visit even the 3rd and 4th generations.  This idea is seen first in Exodus 20 with the 10 commandments.  We often forget the end of the statement though.  Exodus 20:5-6 tells us that our sins may visit 3 or 4 generations, but God's love visits thousands of generations. 

I come from a family of alcoholics, and I have a unique understanding of how alcoholism can pass from one generation to the next.  As I have explored that, I have seen how many of our parents habits become our own.  We inherit their temper, their conflict avoidance, their shallow emotions, anger, or whatever other burdens they may carry on into their own adulthood.  The thing is, we don't have to. We can learn new patterns. Change what you don't like.  God's love can free us. 

Side note: Ezekiel 18 clarifies that it is not God punishing generations, for God's justice is aimed at the individual.  But God does not deny that our parents way of living does impact us.  The hope of the gospel is that God can set us free from this cycle.  We are no longer captive to our sins. 



2.) Part of the journey is to receive feedback and apply it with humility

Josiah started this journey with a simple action, cleaning out the temple.  Upon cleaning it though, he discovered the book of Moses.  The book explained how to worship God and holidays to celebrate.  Josiah realized they were doing it all wrong.  It would have been easy to hide or ignore the book, but instead he instituted change. 

When we discover toxic patterns from our parents we can hide them, or ignore them, or we can do the hard work of rehab.  That work begins with recognizing the problem and being humble enough to  accept it. 

Many of our inherited patterns are so normalized for us that we could never defeat them without feedback from others.  As iron sharpens iron, so we sharpen one another (Proverbs 27:17; Romans 15:1-2; Ephesians 4:25).


May each of you be blessed by people willing to give you difficult feedback.  May you have ears to hear and eyes to see.  May God give you strength to break the cycle, and free you from any negative pattern you inherited from your family.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Divine | Shame | Humans

Shame is often the only thing between our creator and us. Our reading this week is from Job 14:5-6: A person’s days are determined;      you have decreed the number of his months      and have set limits he cannot exceed. So look away from him and let him alone,      till he has put in his time like a hired laborer. Job is struggling with shame and judgement.  He is wondering why God is spending time paying attention to him, a tiny speck in the great universe, a blink of an eye in all eternity.  Why would God waste time casting a glance at us, let alone fostering us, raising us, and disciplining us?  He cries out "Why won't God just let us be, to live out our miserable existence?" A friend shared a post with me on Facebook this week.  It was a video of her dog who had stolen her donut.  The dog had been under the bed for two hours before she started the video.  The video begins with a clear view of the dog and the uneaten donut under the bed.  The dog casts glances from s

Justice & Privilege

The narrative lectionary reading for this week begins a 5 week series on the book of Job.  We focus on Job 1:1-12.  This first section sets the background for the parable.  It is important to note that this is clearly a parable, not a historical text.  This means we must look beyond the described events and towards a deeper meaning within the text.   The story goes like this: ___ There was once a man who thought he was good, an upright citizen, a religiously devout man.  He made good choices and avoided all forms of evil.  He was so pious that he made sacrifices in the name of his family members in case they had unknowingly sinned.  He had great wealth and privilege, and so this was evidence of his goodness.   God was so pleased with this great man, named Job, that he bragged about him to the accuser.  The accuser objected "Of course Job is good, you have provided him with wealth, power, and protection. He would curse you if he was not so privileged."  At this, God takes the

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t