Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you…..
I’m quite fond of that saying right along with another favorite of mine, never follow your own advice. That can sound a bit amusing on the surface, until you understand the reason being, it’s usually far wiser to follow the Lord’s advice than your own.
First let me say, I’m a big fan of repentance, metanoia. In my mind, you take whatever it is that troubles you, set it at the foot of the cross, and receive forgiveness, mercy, wisdom, and peace of mind. From my end of things, it is like, a total win-win. “In Christ there is no condemnation.” So I’m not thinking of repentance in terms of guilt and shame, because that debt has been paid in full. Jesus hung on the cross, “despising the shame,” on our behalf.
Repent easy and often. It’s even better for you than brushing your teeth.
Sometimes there can be some Godly sorrow, some grief, some regret, or perhaps not. Sometimes there is nothing but relief, order brought to your chaos, peace of mind, healing, for you and for others. Whether you call it repentance, sin, intercession for other people, or simply “the things that trouble you,” taking it to the Lord is always win-win.
So I’ve really been a bit baffled by some running about claiming, “it’s a sin to repent of sin that isn’t your sin.” Or, “it ain’t my shame!” Or perhaps, “I didn’t do it, so I’m not repenting of it!”
Reminds me a bit of children, “I’m not cleaning the bathroom, I didn’t mess it up.” Well too bad, because when we’re part of a family, we collectively pitch in, because some of that mess really is yours. I for instance, do not happen to hold dominion over the dust in the air, but I still wipe it off now and then. Okay so rarely, but I still do dust once in a while.
“It’s not my sin,” is not my mindset at all. I’m a big fan of taking anything and everything to the Lord, even those things I had no obvious hand in and couldn’t have stopped if I wanted to. Since the Lord has never held me in condemnation over my own sins, He’s certainly not going to condemn me for being distressed about someones else’s sin. In fact, another word for being distressed about sin impacting someone else is actually just called “caring.”
So generational curses, as any abuse survivor will tell you, impact us on down to the fourth and fifth generation. The iniquities of the father’s really are passed on down to the kids. God didn’t do that to us, it just is the way it is. We inherit more than just DNA from our families. If your grandfather built a house on sand and you now live in that house, well, fair or unfair, you now live in a house built on sand.
I know of no other way to break generational curses than to take it to the Lord in repentance. Lord, I want metanoia, change, I want the sins of the ancestors to end with me. If you have four generations destroyed by alcoholism than, Lord I repent of this disease. Help me to break this generational curse, heal me from the harm that has been inflicted, and help me to leave a new inheritance for my kids.
He is faithful to answer our prayers and there is big fruit to be found there. Those of us who can see our fore fathers (and mothers) for who they were, who can begin to understand, to empathize, and to intercede for them, help not only to heal ourselves, to let go of bitterness and unforgiveness, but to start to walk in a new direction.
Lord, I totally repent of those poor ancestors of mine that spent 40 years roaming around lost in the desert murmuring to themselves. I can totally relate. I am a murmurer too. Given the same conditions, I would be walking right in their very shoes. Help me to replace my cynicism, my complaining, my murmuring, with faith, with trust, with confidence in you….
I have been hugely, incredibly, amazingly, blessed by people who were big enough to intercede for me, big enough to care, big enough to express their Godly sorrow, their repentance for The Way Things Are. That’s how you spark healing. That’s how you reflect the love of Christ. He also had no hand in the sins of the world but He took them ALL upon himself anyway, and He gave His very life for us.
The Good Samaritan did not see a man laying in a ditch and promptly declare, I had no direct hand in this sin, so……not my problem. A priest and a Levite did exactly that. They said, not my problem.
We who express some Godly sorrow and repentance for things like poverty, crime victims, child abuse, addiction, injustice, and racism, are interested in reaching out to those who may have suffered these things, interested in promoting healing, interested in restoring them to their rightful inheritance, to the peace, joy, and power, to be found in Christ Jesus. Oh yeah, the power to be found in Him.
He gave His very life for us. In reflecting that great act of sacrificial love out to others, all we have to give up is some pride. Grace just works miracles.
There’s another reason why we repent of the sins of our ancestors, to empathize, to learn to judge them fairly, to come to perceive them with neither arrogance nor shame, but with understanding and compassion. As the old saying goes, “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” We don’t honor our mother and father (or our great, great grand parents) simply to make them feel better about themselves, that commandment has far-reaching implications for the well-being of a society, of a community as a whole. For our own peace and well being as individuals, too.
I’ve been following the church’s efforts on racial reconciliation, everything from Russell Moore and the Southern Baptists to Thabiti Anyabwile. There are some really wise people out there, firmly rooted in biblical truth, who are cutting across the convoluted wasteland of our politics and speaking the truth, speaking the love of Christ to one another.
And there are a handful who are not. There are some trapped in politics, arrogance, pride, shame, all over my twitter feed. They are raging about everything from the #Metoo campaign to racial reconciliation. Here’s what I’m going to say about that, if you can’t empathize with your brother and sister’s pain, you can’t love them. How you judge others is going to be used to judge you in exactly the same way. If you can’t love people in the Body of Christ who are hurting because of abuse, because of racism, because if injustice, than you are cutting your own self off from the Father’s compassion for you.
That’s not me, that’s biblical. That’s Jesus speaking. Just saying.
We aren’t really commanded to fix anything, or to make it right, or to wallow in guilt, we’re simply commanded to love one another. A big part of loving people simply involves listening to them and empathizing with their story, and in that process of listening in love, it is the Lord who restores, who heals.
So, to the Tweeting twits of the Not-My-Job-Church, I beg you to reconsider and to ponder what Jesus really said.