Breaking the Cycle

Family of origin issues, weaknesses and sins are the toughest to be victorious over. These patterns of personality, thinking and behavior are usually part of a constellation of problems that cause us to be initially “poor in spirit” and see our need for a relationship with God. Yet later, they can also morph into habitual, repetitive, stubborn and besetting sins that make disciples feel powerless and doubt that they even have the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 1:18 states that we’ve been “redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to us from our forefathers by the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” In context, Peter refers to the Jewish empty way of life handed down from the forefathers through the ages: legalism, perfectionism and stubborn arrogance.

For us today this can also imply that we are empowered to break the cycle of family weaknesses that we have absorbed as children and are now imitating in our own marriages and families. Of course, the Bible is full of examples of family baggage being passed along through generations. (Not original sin, but baggage.) We all have our share of “excess baggage” that we are hauling around. It’s easier for others to see. We are the least objective about our own stuff. 1 Peter 1: 18 is a powerful promise that is seldom claimed to overcome family of origin problems. Claim this promise by faith and with perseverance you can break the cycle on any sin or familial pattern that dogs you.

One of the reasons we don’t break the cycle of family of origin issues is because of the false messages we pick up from the world. Satan plants these lies because that’s his job. We are led to believe lies such as, “he’s just a chip off the old block” or “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree” or “like father, like son”. People in the world quote these phrases like scripture. We cannot believe the world. We must be intentional, choosing to believe God’s word instead.

If your father was an alcoholic, do you have to be an alcoholic? If your mother was a worrier, do you have to be a worrier? If your one of your parents were unfaithful, do you feel destined or even fated to imitate their infidelity? If your dad exhibited fits of rage, do you

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have to yell and scream at your wife and children? When we believe these lies we often feel the powerful pull of the darkness, as our own light grows dim.

A serious paradigm shift is in order. Redeemed means purchased, saved or rescued. Jesus didn’t die and shed His precious blood so we could effortlessly go down the same slippery slope as our flawed parents. Jesus died to see us live victoriously, to see us become victorious over the patterns that we have absorbed, inherited and imitated. Seriously ask yourself the question: Have I simply rolled over and given in to family of origin issues or have I broken the cycle of sinful family patterns?

On December 4, 1977, I stood in the waters of baptism at the Heritage Chapel Church of Christ in Charleston, IL, and said, “Jesus is Lord.”

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I had been defeated by addiction and selfishness. I wanted to surrender my life over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ because I’d done a good job of messing my life up. I wanted to put the old me to death, once and for all. Yet, I had no idea the daily battle I would fight with the patterns I inherited from my forefathers, my parents. Those family issues that have been so stubborn are now finally dissolving after thirty three years.

You too can claim the promise of 1Peter 1:18 right now, today. Honestly examine yourself and ask God’s Holy Spirit to expose and dissolve your familial sins and patterns. You may have repented of some “big sins” like drunkenness, immorality and debauchery. Now may be the time that God is calling you to break the cycle, once and for all of family patterns, baggage and sins. Claim this great promise by faith and persevere to be “redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers.”

Now that you have a working knowledge of this concept of breaking free from your family weaknesses, patterns and sins………it is time for action: repentance so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. I have three suggestions to set you up for success. First, sit down with a dear brother/sister and take a solid ninety minutes to tell them the “story of your life (you think they already know your story, but they probably don’t). Second, ask them to help you find the family patterns where you need to break the cycle. Third, get busy with faith and action to break free from those family issues by having your friend hold you accountable for reaching some specific, defined goals. In conclusion, enjoy the thrill of victory as you finally claim the promise of being “redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers.”



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Brand lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife Teryl, son Keenan (16) and daughter Stephany (14). He has been a disciple thirty years and served in the ministry for eight years in Columbia,South Carolina, St. Louis and Boston.. He works in private practice as a Christian counselor, exexutive coach and wilderness coach. ( See www.greatherapy.com or www.thewildernesscoach.com .)

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