How do you Handle Dealing with Generational Sin?

We have a little more serious topic for today but one that’s really, really important and one that I would say, actually, we get asked more than almost anything at some level, and that’s what do you do when you run into the collision of generational sin? This is a phrase we toss out a lot, especially in the Christian tradition. I’m interested to hear how Jeremy defines it and what he says. But in general, no, you’re not alone with this question. We get this a lot. We’ve wrestled through this a lot, on basically, what do you do when your family legacy and impact is not only affecting you, but is in you? It actually is a part of you that you yourself are living out and you’re seeing it starting to have ramifications on your own family, your marriage and yourself. So, yeah, Jeremy, how would you talk about this one?

Yeah, I want to speak specifically to those of you who come from a very broken background. When you look upstream in your family line, there’s not a lot there that you’re hoping to continue or to pass down because there was just so much devastation, so much brokenness and a couple of things I really want to encourage you guys with. Number one is be very careful absolutely never to compare your family currently with families who have been really following the Lord with faithfulness for generations, because you’re on a different project. You’re trying to rescue or redeem your family line and the father loves your family and the father wants you to rescue that family line. But one way I think about this a lot is like in baseball, you’re starting from home plate and you’re looking at families that are starting from third base, right?

And you’re like, why am I feeling so behind everyone else? And you guys, it took probably generations for that brokenness to sort of accumulate, it’s probably going to take some generations to come fully out of it. Now in the gospel, there are so many resources for us to overcome generational sin rapidly. But at the same time when you play any kind of comparison game, and I think this is why this is one of the 10 Commandments do not envy what another family has, envy their house, do not envy their culture. Be inspired by their culture, be inspired by what you see other families do but realize that you’re in a family line and you’re going to in your generation pull up, take where you started and level up from there.

And that when you compare, compare to your family where it started, not from where another family started because they could be really experiencing the blessing that came from many generations. This is straight out of Exodus 34, one of the things that God said to Moses about his ways is that the way the world works really is that God lavishes just blessings on a thousand generations of those who love him but there is this curse that happens on three to four generations of those who really are his enemies. Now in the gospel, Jesus overcame the curse that is described in Exodus 34, but the effects of that, the way the world works, all of us know what happens to children when they grew up in homes that are deeply broken by things like alcoholism or abuse. It’s very difficult to assume that that person is starting from the same place as somebody who’s coming from a family that’s really leaning hard into God’s ways in scripture.

So just don’t compare yourself to those people and be encouraged you guys, that you can really see enormous change in your generation, but give your family time to fully be restored and recover and redeemed from the sins of previous generations. And don’t get discouraged because we’re all working on a multi-generational project to save our families. This is what God promised Abraham is that all the families of the earth will be blessed through you. And so, we want to see our family line come out of whatever and praise God if he’s got a hold of you and in your generation you’re going to pull your family back towards the father, that is an incredible thing to do. And you need to be super encouraged and excited about the journey you’re on and your family’s on and what you’re accomplishing but do not get discouraged by looking around at where other families are at. What you’re doing is so important for the future of your family, for your children, for your grandchildren, for the generations.

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