The other day I was talking to some of our foster kids’ great-grandmother. She was checking up on her great-grandchildren and asking how they were doing. We try to update her on all the good and also on some of the not-so-good things we are working with them on. We do this so she will be able to also address some of the negative behavior we see when she is with them from time to time. As I explained some of the behaviors we were seeing in her great-grandchildren she began to get worried and sad.
“That’s the same thing their mother and grandfather would do,” she told me with discouragement in her voice. You could tell she was seeing some similar patterns in her great-grandchildren that she had dealt with in the volatile relationships in her past. She talked to me for 30 minutes about everything from past drug abuse by their mother, pathological lying, and even bi-polar disorder.
I listened with an open heart and tried to reassure her that things were going to be different for her two great-grandchildren. We were in a marathon, not a sprint. At the end of our long conversation I ended it by saying, “Well, that’s why God put them here. We are here to break that cycle!”
As I got off the phone, I replayed what I said and it donned on me. “Yes, that’s why they are here. We are going to break the cycle. That’s what we do. That’s what Christ does.”
I was reminded of God’s words to Moses in Exodus about visiting the sins of the father to the 3rd and 4th generation, but pouring out his mercy to the 1000th generation. I was reminded of Christ’s genealogy and how it is filled with prostitutes, murders, Gentiles, and adulterers. I was reminded of the stories of Christ going to the meet the women at the well and going to the man possessed with a legion of demons.
I was encouraged to realize that we were indeed, through the changing power of the Gospel, going to break the cycle of generational sin in these kids lives. That Christ was not afraid of his family tree. That, through his sacrifice and resurrection, his genealogy is not a skeleton in the closet, but a testimony that generations of past sins are no match for the power of the new creation in Christ. That family history can be apart of your story, but through Christ it is no longer the main plot line.
I was encouraged to see in the story of the women at the well and the story of the man with a legion of demons that Christ did not back away from going to the unclean. At a time when most religious people of the day avoided the unholy and unclean so as not to taint themselves, Christ show us a new way. He shows us that holiness is on the move. That holiness and righteousness and the power to become a new creation in Christ is on the offensive. We don’t have to walk around protecting God’s glory from a more powerful opponent looking to taint it. No just the opposite. Whatever should stand in the way of the transforming power of Christ in the world should be put on notice. Christ declares to the unclean, the unholy, the broken, the sinful, those bound up in generations of sin, to me and to you, “I’m coming for you.”
So I was encouraged and I hope you are too. This isn’t something only for foster parents. This is the ministry of the Spirit in the lives of redeemed sinners. You are a new creation. Cycles of sin, yes even generations of sin, have met their match in power of the Cross and resurrection. So put the brokenness, the sin, and the discouragement in your own life and family on notice. Christ has come and the cycle is broken.
Side note: I don’t know if not flushing the toilet is a generational sin, but that cycle is about to be broken too.