Have you ever noticed patterns of behavior in your family? Maybe you find yourself saying, “I’m becoming my mom,” when you notice yourself acting or thinking like her. Or you notice you have the same quirks as your dad. You may even see your kids behaving like you. If you haven’t noticed before, I bet you will, now that you’re thinking about it.
We not only physically resemble our families, we often behaviorally resemble them. Our families shape and mold us.
This isn’t a new idea. It’s something that we’ve seen for thousands of years, all throughout Scripture. Read the book of Genesis and see for yourself.
Patterns of behavior are carried down from one generation to the next. This is exemplified in the story of Abraham and his descendants in Genesis 20 through 27.
Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife to spare his life. Abraham’s son, Isaac, did the same thing and lied about Rebekah being his wife. Then Isaac’s son, Jacob, lied to his father and cheated his brother Esau out of his birthright. Jacob’s sons sold their brother into slavery and deceived their father all because they were jealous.
In the three generations from Abraham to Jacob, we see a pattern of deceit, manipulation and lies. And this is just one pattern of behavior. Read deeper, and you’ll see more.
Patterns of sin and family dysfunction affect us all. The choice is ours whether or not we live in bondage to them, no matter the level of dysfunction.
How can you begin to explore the impact of the family you grew up in?
Using a valuable tool called a “genogram,” we can see patterns such as addiction, infidelity or financial struggles. We also can identify patterns of sobriety, faithfulness and financial stability. We can see where sin has had its grip, where strongholds have been broken and where victories have been experienced to the benefit of the whole family.
Perhaps the most striking example of overcoming family history is reflected in the genealogy of Christ.
We find two genealogies in the Gospels, showing us that even Jesus came from a line of sinful people. Through Jesus’ actions, teachings and His death on the cross, He rewrites the script. Jesus shows us that we can choose the path of righteousness He modeled. Genealogies reveal to us a pattern in the narrative of Scripture, the consistency of God’s faithfulness and our own sinfulness.
If you are interested in exploring the impact of the family you grew up in, Southeast Christian Church’s Care Ministry is hosting a Family of Origin Workshop beginning Thursday, Feb. 18. It is our hope that we can help you understand and break the chains of your past through the exploration of family patterns, generational sins, false narratives and more.
As you engage in this workshop, we hope that it that will help you explore the impact your family system has had in developing you into the person you are today and provide you with questions to consider and tools to work through so that you can visualize, re-author and redirect your story and your family’s story.
The Family of Origin workshop will be Thursdays, Feb. 18 through March 25, from 7:30 to 8:45p.m. at the Blankenbaker Campus. All are welcome, and childcare is provided. Register at www.southeastchristian.org/groups/oncampus/details/familyoforiginworkshop.
Jenna Rueff is a Care Ministry resident in Southeast’s 215 Residency Program.