I always teach people that if you want to know who you’ll be 10 years from now, list down the 5 people you spend the MOST time today—write down their strengths, their weaknesses, their passions, even their incomes—average them—and that’s who you’ll be 10 years from now.
Why does that happen? Because of the power of patterns.
The first persons that influenced you are your parents. That’s why the Bible talks about the reality of “Generational Sin” in Exodus 34:7. It says, “I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected–even children in the third and fourth generations.”
How does this generational sin work?
For example, when the husband is unfaithful to his wife, the children see his example. Living with a father that is unfaithful will influence them to repeat the same sin in their own lives. (I didn’t say define them. Justinfluence them.)
Do all children follow the sins of their parents? Of course not. It’s still a personal choice. But they do have very bad models.
But what if the father hides his sin from his children? Will they still be affected? I don’t believe one can hide it. We’re spiritual beings. Deep down, subconsciously, they already know.
But here’s the Good News: You can cut the effect of generational sin. What are the sins of your fathers and mothers? Cut the curse of generational sin in your life today. It should stop in YOUR generation. You can decide to stop passing onto your children the sin you inherited from your parents and grandparents. Come to God now and seek His power. He will transform what was meant to curse your family into a blessing.
How? Follow Jesus.
I was talking to a man whose mother was hopelessly addicted to gambling. She would lie to him, steal from him, and steal from other people, only so that she could gamble in a Casino. He felt so bad that his mother was like this. I told him, “You see the condition of your mother as a curse to you and your family. But trust in God that even this awful situation will turn out to be a blessing for your future. I don’t know how. But this part of your history will prepare you for your greater destiny.”
My friend is following Jesus with this whole heart. I believe he has cut the generational sin in his family.
This reminds me of the story of Margaret.
14 Years In Prison
Margaret was born a hunchback, dwarf, deformed, lame, and blind. And she didn’t have very good parents. Her parents, Parisio and Emilia, was so ashamed of her, they imprisoned her in a tiny cell far from their house. How long did she stay in that prison? 14 years.
One day, when her parents realized there was really no cure for her deformity, they simply abandoned her.
By God’s grace, a kindly priest came to know her and introduced God to her. And she gave her life to Jesus.
That was how she responded to her situation. Let me say this very important point again: Your past doesn’t define your future. Yes, your past influences, affects, and disturbs your future. But it doesn’t define your future. What defines your future is your RESPONSE to your past… And this was how Margaret responded to her horrific past: She followed Jesus.
She was able to go out of her prison and join the Dominican Third Order.
Here’s the massive blessing: Because of the suffering she went through, she understood the suffering of others. Because she was imprisoned for 14 years as a child, she knew what it meant to be imprisoned. She would visit prisoners and share God’s Love to them. Because she was physically deformed, she understood the sick. So she would visit hospitals and share God’s Love to the sick and dying.
Let me tell you the bigger miracle in her life. Despite all her suffering in the hands of her cruel parents, being locked up in prison for 14 long years, Margaret grew up to be a very happy woman. Her friends said that they never heard her complain about life. They never heard her complain about others. Discouragement was a word she did not know.
Because she followed Jesus, the curse of generational sin was cut in her life. Her past didn’t hold her prisoner. She was free—because she followed Jesus.
Because of this, the Catholic Church beatified her—and she is the patron saint of the crippled and unwanted. Her incorrupt body lies in the church in Castello, Italy.
Margaret’s past was not perfect. In fact, it was evil. But it prepared her for her purpose. As the Bible says, what was intended by the enemy to harm you, God will transform it for your good (see Genesis 50:20).
When you look at your past, especially when you look at all the suffering you went through, don’t be discouraged. Every detail of your history—both good and bad—will bring you closer to your destiny.
Let me say it again: Your past may not be perfect, but it was perfect for your purpose.
May your dreams come true,