The Secret to Intergenerational Healing
Growing up we experience an array of emotions, many of which we fail to process the right way. The world pushes us to let go of these and move forward at such a fast pace that it results in us feeling empty, devoid and incomplete. This in turn keeps us from truly extending Christ-like empathy to others. Most of us are broken people looking for validation from other broken people, which causes us to fall into an unquenchable, vicious “self-love” cycle that we use to try and feel good about ourselves. Once we have exhausted that cycle, we then find ourselves back to square one, wanting more of what we can’t have.
These “self-love” cycles cause us to chase temporary high’s that cause deep and painful wounds that we often try to ignore or push away. But they are like buried seeds in our soul which grow and become huge dents in us that not only effect our own lives but are then passed on to the generations after us. Because I have experienced this in my own life, I have grown up with the idea that God too would end causing me the same kind of pain so, consequently I steered clear of Him all my life. It wasn’t until recently that I came across a theory very common to the non-Christian community called “Inner Healing”, also passed off as the concept of “self-love”.
Understanding Generational Patterns
The Old Testament, specifically in Exodus 34, talks about how punishments of previous sins committed by our ancestors will be passed on to the third and fourth generations, but it does not mention behavioral patterns that also get passed on from generation to generation. However, if you look a bit more deeply at the scriptures there are multiple examples that prove that these behavioral patterns existed. Let’s look at Jacob, the second son of Isaac, whose mother favored him and coaxed him to attempt to cheat his father by wrongfully obtaining Esau’s birthright. Years later, Jacob’s 12 sons cheated him by selling Jacob's most favored son Joseph to the Ishmaelites. The blatant sequential swindling with Jacob being the forbearer had to have left a mark only to be showcased through his children, which they most likely were unaware of.
Once I started my journey with God and made the efforts to study and get to know Him, I was finally able to find myself. When I realized that I was not a byproduct of my parents, I felt less helpless and started considering the high standard to which I am called. There was a shift in my spirit, and I understood I could learn to grow past the hurt I had been harboring. I was also able to forgive and understand /empathize with my loved ones more easily.
Galatians 5:17: “For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do.”
This verse confirms that we will always be subject to an inner conflict, and the reason for this is the difference or struggle between our Father’s Spirit indwelling in us (the Holy Spirit) and our fleshly desires within us. The more I fixate & meditate on this, the more I grow in my understanding that God knew what He was doing. He truly understands our emotions and craving to be loved and accepted.
When Paul said in Philippians 4:7 “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus”, he was not kidding...! There is a sort of peace that comes from acknowledging and accepting that I am not product of my ancestors' faults and slip-ups, but that I am made new because of what Jesus did. Understanding this made it so much easier for me to reclaim authority over my fleshly behavioral patterns that I had allowed to rule my life for so long. I studied and familiarized myself with intergenerational trauma by going back to the roots or the heart of the matter - the Bible (every human’s instruction manual). Doing this helped me to talk to my parents about emotional triggers and how to alter our immediate reaction to them. This led our family to do a little inner healing of our own.
Becoming more self-aware of our newfound identity resulted in a long overdue healing process from the inside-out. We see in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, the new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings new life]”. Although this verse is commonly believed to portray a new Christians stance as completely cleansed of any and all past sins, it does not mean that he would be exempted from the temptation of sin and the tendency to still fall.
The verse does not describe a believers’ practice but rather position. We have the hope that Christ continually sanctifies and transforms us. He understands us and our nature in which we were born. As soon as we take our baggage and emotions to Him, He is faithful and just and purifies us of all our downfalls.
No matter what we have been through, no matter what we are going through and no matter what hardships we will encounter, He is there for us, holding out His Hand for us to grab onto. Take everything to Him and He will give you rest. Proverbs 24:16 says “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again..”. We fight our battles from a place of victory.
Colossians 1:13-14: “For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption [because of His sacrifice, resulting in] the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty].”
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