Some people can’t be fully honest about their testimonies because they implicate the less-repentant people around them. Regardless of the spiritual condition of beloved family members, they are, indeed beloved, and are worthy of all the honor bestowed on them by this position.
I have a family member who is generously tolerant of my family’s Christianity. He is immersed in a culture that is highly entertained with an interesting mix of born again and hard-for-me-to-swallow, crude jokes. He carelessly told me a joke recently that mocked my position on a moral issue. His belittlement of my position, tossed out nonchalantly, left me speechless.
It never occurred to me that people actually joked about this. My heart was crushed, but my jaw was firm. My silence said a lot as he verbally backed out of the awkward moment. The harder realization was that I knew that this moment of constratsting ideologies would, in itself, become a joke, shared over beers, and would result in roars of laughter from his friends.
I once was frank about his noble juggling of such a wide family member moral continuum. I said “Hey, just so you know, I know that you sit around the bar and tell jokes about your homeschooling, home birthing, born again Christian relative in New Jersey and her 5 kids. It must make for some good laughs.” It is the only time I have seen him speechless.
I would love to be in a position of heartfelt tolerance and acceptance of the culture in which I was raised. But I can’t.
Even now, the random moral code shared by some people confuses me. Life on the other side of the tracks was not fun. I feel like, as a little girl, I crawled up out of a raging sea onto a little deserted island of safety, called Jesus. I did this at an early age and remain firmly seated there. He graciously extended His hand and I have held on with dear life, since then.
This is not about taking the high moral ground. Most of the time, my sincere adoration and love for my extended family members overshadows these hard moments when our worlds clash. My extended family has given to me generously of themselves. Still, many people understand how hard it is to swim against the tide of society, especially when blood is thicker than water, and your choices are foreign and enigmatic to others.
Moral compasses were once part of the legacies that we left our children, and their children. These compasses are best when they are given second hand. When one was not left for you, it can be challenging to compensate on your own. Ironically, life doesn't always have fewer knocks, even if we decide painstakingly to avoid life choices that increase the likelihood of misery. If it could make the tabloids, I usually don’t do it. Check my closet and you will see it void of skeletons. But I have wrestled with my share of darkness, nonetheless.
Not all trials were tied into my choices. This is the case for many of us. Even when we live, avoiding minefields, they sometimes blow. God is good, always, regardless of these missteps, and He does amazing things with the things that harm us. He molds our characters and makes us stronger. He is always is there. But we sometimes sport bruises, here and there, because we were pummeled.
In John 16:33, Jesus told us, ""I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." He was right. There have been troubles. He was also right that He has overcome the world! This promised peace really comes in handy when you face those mountains and giants that threaten to take you out.
The ironic thing is that life has not had fewer knocks, having decided to eliminate some of the life choices that increased the likelihood of misery.
God has blessed me with a cell phone’s contact list full of incredible women of God. I have a history of texts from an army’s worth or mountain moving, world changing, frontline-advancing, spirit-filled, Jesus-loving ladies. This is what many of them have in common; they have taken a pounding from life.
Praise God, they are all standing. And still are advancing. The enemy has not come against them for just the threat they are to him. He has come against them because they have drawn a line in the sand for their entire family lines and have told him “thus far and no more.”
This is when the enemy engages. When our bad days spill into chaos and confusion and require passionate prayers for help, it is not our imaginations that we are embroiled in warfare. If there are kids in your home, the warfare is for them, and their children, and your siblings who are still on earth. When you dig your heals in the sand and refuse to let the enemy take out another generation that he has determined is his, then a life-long walk in the park is unlikely.
When our bad days spill into chaos and confusion and require passionate prayers for help, it is not our imaginations that we are embroiled in warfare.
You know what she did? She and her husband went and adopted a bunch of kids whose family histories have so many skeletons that they are falling out of the closet and the closet door no longer closes. These precious and beautiful children are safe under her arms as she reads to them at night and tucks them into their beds. The beds are at various heights and are configured like a playscape to fit all of them in the small bedroom. Her now-adult biological kids provide live guitar melodies in the family room as these sweeties are falling asleep. True story.
When she and her husband began their good work, their poundings from life increased. Coincidence?
Deuteronomy is very clear that generational curses exist. Psychology and sociology document this, but present the information in the form of genetic research. Jesus’ death on the cross provides the means to break these curses. I assert vehemently that we need to apply His work on the cross and the shedding of His blood to break the sin and iniquity off of our family lines. (See Blessing or Curse, You Choose by Derek Prince.)
When iniquity, which is “moral crookedness” or “walking awry,” is removed from our lives, then the process of righteousness begins. Freedom is said to have two steps; first you gain your freedom, then you need to keep it. Oftentimes, keeping it can be just as big of a battle. This is when temptation, adversity and discouragement can overwhelm us. Praise God, we are not left alone through any of this.
Freedom is said to have two steps; first you gain your freedom, then you need to keep it.
God will help us with that when we call out to Him for help in these areas, too. He wants to shore us up, 360 degree coverage, 24/7. He wants you to be victorious. He knows better than we do that we are connected to other people, and our fight is for them, too.
God wants to shore us up, 360 degree coverage, 24/7. He wants you to be victorious.
As a mother of five, I can say that one bad apple can spoil the whole basket. One grumpy teenager can take out the morale of a whole Sunday morning kitchen of bagel-eating family members. Sometimes they go down like dominoes. “Can one of you be strong enough to not have your good mood be taken out by your sibling?” I have said it more than once. When I look around at adult friends, I see that the struggle can continue throughout life.
God knows which family iniquities are deeply engrained in generations and are keeping peace in your home and lives at bay. These issues seldom go away on their own. If they have spiritual roots, there will be battles. The bigger the stronghold, the bigger the fight.
Not all sin takes place in bars and Vegas.
In some cases, one family member is left to spiritually fight for his or her whole clan. Prayer is essential for these lone warriors. Make yourself known to those around you who can pray for you. It is an honor to be given the responsibility to stand in the gap for your family, even for those who have yet to be. We are supposed to help each other out, especially when the church is our only spiritual family. God will give us the prayer support that we need, but we may need to seek it.
Do you sometimes finally get the strength to stand up again, then take a breath, then get a phone call with bad news? Take another breath and cast your cares on Him. (See I Peter 5:7) It may be that there is a battle ahead, but God will equip you to fight the fight when He is asking you to engage in it. Psalm 145:13 says, “The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.” You can do this, with His help, guidance and love. This is not just for you. Look up in the sky the next time you can see the stars and remember Abraham. You are doing this for all of the people who come after you, too. It is all worth it.