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Post  Admin on Mon 19 Sep 2011, 6:19 pm

{Susannah's Grace - Healing Insights} Families & Recovery 09/16/11

God: "I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive
iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the
sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.” Exodus 23, also Numbers 14, Exodus 20 (Ten Commandments) , Deuteronomy 6.

The Scripture passage above is part of Moses' experience with The LORD God on Mount Sinai, when The Ten Commandments were given to him.

To understand this, in context (in its meaning within its passage), we need to read more...

Then the Lord came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh. The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out,
“Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity,

rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth

generations.” Moses immediately threw himself to the ground and worshiped. And he said, “O Lord, if it is true that I have found favor with you,
then please travel with us. Yes, this is a

stubborn and rebellious
people, but please forgive our iniquity and our sins. Claim us as your
own special possession.”

Why is the entire context important? We see more of the context (entirety) of what God was saying to Moses. It is very & highly important to read Scripture 'in context', to grasp
the full meaning of what God is saying. It is best done by reading the chapter as a whole, and not isolating a verse by itself...this leads to misunderstanding. Proper Biblical
Interpretation, as with any book, is valuable!

As regards families, and recovery, many of us grew up in, or are now in, families that have issues. Some issues are resolvable, others have been passed down
generationally and are very firmly set, as in concrete. These issues create dysfunction, are destructive, and complicate relationships - with God and with others. Issues
are those things that do not change, and are held onto, and continued despite any awareness of their toxicity.

Those of us who have found healing through recovery can attest to the frustrations of communication with others who have not chosen healing through recovery, but
we have found strength and encouragement from God!

God is a compassionate and merciful God. Since He created us, He knows us, completely. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses (see 2 Corinthians 10:13), He alone
knows us to the very depths of our hearts -- where our emotions reside...including bitterness (root), resentment, hurt, rejection, fear, anger, love, joy, peace, etc.

But God is also just, which means He doesn't give free passes to bad / wrong behavior. He DOES forgive and understand, but He also holds us accountable for our choices.

As the psalmist says, in Psalm 103, He forgets our sins - but the consequences of our choices can go on indefinitely, especially and most particularly when we refuse
to make changes - keeping our negative attitudes, feelings, and/or behaviors. Momentary wrong choices don't necessarily wreak havoc long-term, only choices that
we make that we refuse to change! And it is those refusals that affect our descendents! !

As God says to Moses, He holds us accountable for our unrepented from wrong choices (consequences) , which means generationally to even our great-grandchildren !

Stop! You might be thinking, or saying right now. Is that correct? According to God's Word, it is correct.

How many of us come from families that have generational tendencies towards unwise behavior? Drinking, drugs, adultery, incest, pornography, lying, cheating,
stealing, laziness, codependency, criticism, pride, fear, arrogance, selfishness. ...all these and others are characteristics of negative behavior that gets passed down
from one generation to another. The reasons for the generational tendencies are varied, some are inherited while others are learned, but the tendencies do get
passed on!

We can learn a bit of
generational tendencies from Jesus. In His rebuke of the Pharisees, He
says that one generation of Pharisees (hard hearted self- centered
religious leaders) creates the next generation to be twice as bad as the original, in Matthew 23.

What are the tendencies in your family - mother's side, father's side?

Are they positive behaviors that create a legacy? Or are they negative behaviors that create shame and/or guilt?

Families are supposed to be havens of acceptance, love, honesty, and trust. Yet many of us have encountered just the opposite in our family systems....negativi ty
that just seems to go on with each subsequent generation.
Worse yet, if one of us 'grows up', accepts responsibility for their choices, heals, and 'recovers' (aka recovery)... .the others in the family will most often resent
their changes. Those changes force the others to look at themselves and their lack of responsibility for negative choices that they allow to continue. Note:
a dysfunctional family system does not allow change in others - it creates an atmosphere of continuity so that there is no accountability. Some of this is due
to shame (sense of worthlessness) , some is due to guilt (sense of wrongdoing). ...but ALL is due to denial - a refusal to see things as they really are, which
when it happens (reality), growth & healing happens. So in a dysfunctional family, growth & healing don't happen.

Dysfunctional families deny the truth because they like being in the state they are in - it is comfortable. It's also horribly destructive but since change triggers
great fear (along with the shame and guilt), change is avoided at any or all costs.

One of the greatest costs of a dysfunctional family/system are those who have found healing & recovery, those who have 'grown up' from the dysfunction to

find a functional way of thinking, feeling, and living.

But after several generations of dysfunction, change is like a concrete wall -- it is rigid and inflexible.

Those who have conquered (walked through) their fears, shame, and guilt have found freedom. But those still mired in the dysfunctional thinking, feeling,
and behaviors are still in bondage to 'the old ways', and they will resist change.

Often they will spread malicious gossip about the one that's done recovery work (faith, codependency) , so to invalidate them and make themselves look
good, perfect, and right. They will also avoid reality, that is stay in denial of the truth, and will lie to keep the status quo - for it is comfortable.

They can/will say mean-spirited and hurtful things to the one who's recovered, and grown up, as much as is necessary to stay in their comfort zone.

This pattern of behavior is also common for those of faith who refuse to give up whatever 'sin' or 'toxic behavior' they've adopted, that has complicated

and compromised their faith.

What to do if you are the one in recovery, the one who is healing?

If you are a person of faith, read your Bible and pray daily for God's wisdom, strength, and encouragement. Dysfunctional people will undermine and invaliadate
you on a regular basis. You need God's help and presence as you walk through this valley, Psalm 23:4.

Stand up for yourself, which is called being assertive. Do not lower yourself to saying mean and/or hurtful things. Instead, work through the deep deep wounds in
your heart that have come from the verbal, emotional, even spiritual abuse that has come from those still in the negative attitudes and behaviors. Wounds
such as shame, humiliation, hurt. Even though your family says that they love you, their actions say that they are concerned with themselves and their
comfort zones of dysfunctional attitudes, feelings, and behaviors.

Find a person or group that will encourage you as you maintain your healing self while encountering those still choosing diseased thoughts, feelings,
and behaviors.

Seek to understand the reasons for the dysfunction --- examine your family trees, and note negative people or negative attitudes or behaviors... it is likely
those have been passed down.

Ask God to forgive the sins of those who have passed on, stand in the gap for the descendents to find freedom from the dysfunction. Ask God to forgive
your sins, your mistakes as you learn to manage your hurt while also managing to assert yourself with those who are living for self (staying in denial
and in dysfunctional attitudes, feelings, behaviors).

Have the attitude that you will 'break the chain' of negativity at least for yourself...perhaps others will follow you into/through recovery, but it is not your
ability to make that happen. You are only accountable for yourself.

Those who have chosen to stay in the dysfunctional attitudes, feelings, and behaviors have put self first, and they'll say things, even do things, that
are hurtful. They are transferring their pain to you, or trying to do so. Don't take on their hurt, but do your best to communicate your hurt at the
things said or actions taken. Use 'I feel' statements, such as 'I feel hurt when I am called names or said to be a liar', or 'I feel hurt when I hear the
negative comments made about me behind my back while I am told I am loved - such contradictions are very hurtful to me'.

If you would like more specific answers or help, feel free to email me - as a counselor, I have worked with people going through such a recovery
process, and I've gone through the recovery myself (beginning over 20 years ago). I can give you practical helpful information to encourage you
in your healing, recovery process.

Most of all, stick with God. He knows truly what is happening, He is your best resource and best friend!

Much love in Christ,
Gretchen Offord

Founder/Counselor, Susannah's Grace Counseling

Copyright 2011, Gretchen Offord, The Acts 1711 Project/Susannah' s Grace Counseling, Shasta Lake, CA. All rights reserved however permission is granted
to forward this article without any changes made to it.
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