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I would like to share with you what I have found to be the single most important key to psychological health and development, which leads to multiple kinds of blessings in our life. It has to do with relationships with our parents.
Relationship with our parents is mentioned in two out of the Ten Commandments. That itself is an indication of its significance. One reference is positive; one negative.
Exodus 20:5 – I am YHVH your God, a jealous god, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children upon three and upon four generations to those who hate me.
Bad behavior (sin) will be transferred from a parental generation to that of the children, even until the third and fourth generation. This was not God’s intention, since the passage goes on to state that He will bless unto a thousand generations. God set up a mechanism of generational transfer in order to bless; but if it is misused, it will still have effect.
Visiting iniquity does not mean that God will punish a child for his parents’ sin. It means that the influence of destructive behavior will be carried on. A parent who is abusive, absent, or aberrant will hurt his children, who will in turn tend to hurt their children, and so on. We are morally responsible for our behavior, and our behavior affects those around us.
Reverse the Curse
We call this destructive generational influence a “curse.” However, it is possible to stop this negative transfer and restore the mechanism to its original positive purpose. Primarily there are three components to “reverse the curse”:
1. Repent: don’t continue the negative behavior. No matter what the influence around us, we can always choose to do the right thing. If your parents were violent (for example), you can choose not to be violent yourself
a. To change, one has to first identify the negative behavior and then decide not to do the same thing.
b. Sometimes the pattern is continued by doing the exact opposite. A person with violent parents can become overly passive. A woman who experienced sexual abuse, may become sexually unresponsive to her husband.
c. We decide not to continue the pattern, by not doing the same thing, and by not reacting in the opposite way. We choose to act in a healthy and ethical way in every situation, free from all past negative influence.
2. Forgive: release negative feelings toward our parents. No one had perfect parents. Some parents are much better than others, but no one is perfect. There is always something for which we need to forgive our parents.
a. God forgave us by grace through Yeshua’s atonement on the cross. We did not deserve to be forgiven. God expects us to forgive others in the same way. This forgiveness starts with our parents.
b. Forgiving parents is not easy because we are influenced by parents even in our mother’s womb; our very physical make-up is composed from the DNA of our parents. Our identity and personality are connected to theirs. We have to search deep inside to forgive them.
c. We remove all bitterness and resentment from our heart. Forgiveness is a one-way street. We forgive whether or not the other changes his behavior. This does not mean we trust them in everything, or continue to allow them to easily hurt us.
d. Trust is a two-way street and demands the participation of the other. If the person wants to build a cooperative relationship, that is preferred. However, even if not, we can remove unforgiveness in our heart towards them. In this way, we free ourselves from psychological bondage.
e. Forgiveness also means to forget. The negative event must not be “replayed” in our consciousness again and again. It may be in the memory bank of our mental computer, but it is deleted from any active appearance on the screen of our thoughts and imagination.
3. Proclamation: we also break curses by speaking positively and canceling their “legal” jurisdiction in our lives. Words have authority in the spiritual realm. We simply state, “I forgive my parents of all wrongs toward me; I break all curses and cancel any negative influence in my life, in the name of Messiah Yeshua.”
Next week, in Part 2, I will walk you through the positive second reference in the Ten Commandments concerning our relationship with our parents.