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Breaking parental/generational habits

It is a well known phenomenon is that parents often pass on to their children character traits or habits which they, too, may pass on to their children. Those who are active alcoholics or short-tempered are likely to see their children grow up to imitate them. Cigarette smokers, regardless of repeated pleas to their children are much more likely to take up smoking as well.

What we may not realize is that this has been the case from the beginning. Abraham, the father of faith, lied about Sarah his wife, not just once but twice (Gen 12 and 20). Is it any wonder that his son Isaac did the same thing (Gen 26)? We also see Isaac and Rebekah showing favoritism for their children: Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah, Jacob.  We then see this same favoritism not just manifested with Jacob toward his wives (He loved Rachel and hated Leah) and then showed favoritism toward Joseph.

Breaking habits learned from our parents and/or the culture of the world can be a difficult thing to do. I would suggest a couple of things to make sure that they (the habits) get broken. It comes from 1 Peter 1:14 and verse 18.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, ….knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold.

Do you see it?  “former ignorance” and “futile ways inherited from your fathers”? These are things that come from our past life. Ways that come from our background, either our fathers (presumably not Christians) or the world in general. We learn what we have been taught and I would suggest that we need to unlearn what we have learned. Even in this context  of Peter there are some things that will help:

v. 13 prepare your minds for action, be sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace,

v. 14 as obedient children don’t conform

v. 15 be Holy

v17 conduct your life with fear (respect) of God

Chapter 2 will start with the need for us to long for the pure milk of the word. Reverting back to being babies and this time growing bodies that are nourished with pure spiritual milk that will help us to be the people of God that we are supposed to be and the examples he calls us to be so that we can be that spiritual house, royal priesthood before God.

If all of this is not clear enough, let me say it this way. READ YOUR BIBLE and don’t just read it but DO IT. We should not be hearers only but doers of the word (if you have followed this blog, you have read that in our study on James).

Still more important though is that we need to realize, if we are parents, we bear a huge responsibility to train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. If we tell them to read their Bibles, do they see us model it. If we tell them to pray, do we model it for them or is it a case of “Do as I say and not as I do”? (Mt 23:1-2)  Yes, the children still should but realize you help them and make it easier to follow God when you first follow God.  You were their first authority in their young lives and if you point it out to them that they should follow God because you follow God, then they are more likely to make that important transition themselves.

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