Families pass down patterns of sin from one generation to the next. These patterns of sin include anger, impatience, unkindness, immorality, rudeness, addictions, worry, etc... Each of these causes tremendous pain and destruction in the lives of those living under these generational patterns. In this blog, let's focus on breaking the generational pattern of anger with the power of grace.
Maybe you grew up in a family where the generational pattern of anger was at work. Everyday you lived in fear of an angry parent. You were the object of your parent's verbal or physical anger. Your parent shouted at you, slandered you, and\or hit you.
Maybe your parent was a perfectionist. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how good you did, it was never good enough. You lived in constant fear of the wrath of your parent.
You were the object of your parent's constant criticism.
Your parent's anger was triggered by your imperfections, large or small. These imperfections sent your parent off into fits of anger and rage. As a result, you walked on egg-shells, careful not to do anything to set-off this parent. Yet, no mattered how hard you tried, the anger kept coming.
This was your life...everyday. You lived in constant fear of your parent's anger.
The damage it did in your life is painful. Your memories are painful.
You swore you would never be like this parent. You would be different. But you find yourself making those you love the objects of your anger...the objects of your wrath...the objects of your criticism. Consequently, you're passing to your family generation the same pattern of anger your parent passed to you. The same hurt, the same pain you felt is now being passed to those in your family.
You see it. You hate it. But you do not know what to do about it.
There is hope! There is grace!
God's power in our lives to break generational patterns of anger is grace. Grace is the opposite of anger. Grace is the unconditional love of God, the unmerited kindness of God, and the unlimited forgiveness of God to each of us in our sin...our imperfections...our failures. As you begin to receive God's grace, that is his unconditional love, unmerited kindness, and unlimited forgiveness, in your sin, imperfections, and failures, then you will begin to freely give to others what you have freely received from God. Just as you have become the object of God's grace, others will become the object of God's grace through you.
Once you understand the outpouring of God's grace to you in your sin, imperfections, and failures, then you will begin to pour out grace upon others in their sin, imperfections, and failures. Because, through grace, you will be empowered to respond to other people in their sin, imperfections, and failures, the same way God responds to you. Thus, through grace, breaking the pattern of anger that has existed in your family for years.
So let's dig a little deeper into God's grace.
For there to be grace, there must first be sin. If there were no sin, there would be no need for grace. For people to be held accountable for their sin, there must be a law. Law is a standard of behavior one is expected to live up to. If this law is not lived up to, then punishment is enforced.
Sin is not charged to anyone's account where there is no law.
For example, a person cannot be given a ticket for speeding on a certain road if a law has not been established dictating the speed limit for that road. Only when a speed limit has been established can a punishment be enforced for speeding.
God has a law. It is called the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments is the revelation of God's perfect holy character.
So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
Sin is breaking God's commandments.
Everyone who sins breaks the law.
1 John 3:4
We have all sinned by breaking God's commandments, his laws.
Now we know that whatever the law says it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
...all have sinned and fall short of the glory (perfect holiness) of God...
The perfect law of God reveals our imperfections, our failures, our sin. We are all guilty before God. Because of our guilt, we are under the penalty or punishment for sin, which is death.
So what does God do? He comes to us in grace. God's law and our sin enable him to make us the objects of his grace rather than objects of his wrath.
Romans 3:23-24 says:
...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are all justified (made innocent or perfect before God) freely by his grace (unconditional love, unmerited kindness, and unlimited forgiveness) through the redemption (payment for our sins) that came by Jesus Christ (his death, Jesus died in our place).
Rather than wrath, God freely and abundantly poured out grace on the entire human race through Jesus. All of God's wrath was poured out upon Jesus for us, rather than on us.
Think about it. All the anger, wrath, condemnation, and punishment that we deserved for our sins was graciously poured out upon Jesus by God. Jesus became the object of God's wrath for our sins and we have become the objects of God's grace in our sin. We receive his grace by faith,
Take a close look at these verses:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned...how much more did God's grace, and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ,
overflow to the many!
...to the praise of his glorious grace that he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood,the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished upon us with all wisdom and understanding.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins...we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when were dead in transgression - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is grace you have been saved...
Get rid of all bitterness, wrath and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to each other, *forgiving (giving grace to each other in their sins, imperfections, and failures) each other, just as in Christ
God *forgave (gave grace to us in our sins, imperfections, and failures) you.
*NOTE: These verses were written originally in the Greek language. The Greek word for forgiving and forgave in the above verses is charis. Charis is the Greek word for the English word grace each time it is used in the book of Ephesians. In the above verses, rather than using the English word grace, the translators used the words forgiving and forgave.
Do you see it? Just as God has freely lavished his grace upon us in our sins, imperfections, and failures, we are to freely lavish grace upon others in their sins, imperfections, and failures. As we make others the objects of our grace, rather than wrath, the pattern of anger will be broken in our families. Therefore, instead of passing down patterns of anger from one generation to the next, we will pass down grace, God's unconditional love, unmerited kindness, and unlimited forgiveness. And I can think of nothing better to pass down to future generations than God's grace freely and abundantly poured out upon us and overflowing to us through Jesus Christ!
So the next time someone's imperfections surface in your life, make them the object of your grace, rather than the object of your anger. As you consistently do this, God's grace will powerfully break the pattern of anger in your life and a new pattern of grace will be created.