A Personal Story
I became a Christian at the age of twelve. Shortly thereafter I received a powerful and distinct call of God on my life. After this most profound and life changing event, my journey went in numerous directions. My early years were focused on surviving the educational system and preparing for a baseball/ministry career. As with most young people, I had a limited concept of my future, or how to achieve my lofty goals. I had little or no guidance in the decisions I made.
By the grace and mercy of God, I was ultimately able to complete my college education and graduate studies, and I developed a modicum of success by the standards of the world and the Church. Still, within my heart, I carried a deep need for connectedness, for belonging, for understanding who I was. Nagging questions remained, the chief of which was, “Why did I do certain things that were directly opposed to what I knew was best for me.”
For example, I did not quite understand why certain temptations were virtually overpowering for me. It was more than just hormones that came upon me in the difficult area of sensual desires. This affected my various desires, hopes and dreams, and even the way I responded to stress.
In my psychology studies, I recognized that most of the patterns I had learned came from my family of origin. Yet, some of the patterns seemed to come from somewhere beyond my family life. These issues seemed unexplainable and diabolical, and I had little ability to overcome them. My faith in the Lord and His Word was strong, yet the struggles were so difficult, and so I often failed.
God has created us to be overcomers, yet, most Christians are, as the scriptures teach, broken reeds and burning flax.
But God’s overcoming power is available to all!
Christ has not discarded His children! In fact, God has embraced His chosen ones bringing them into the fullness of the kingdom of His dear Son, into the kingdom of light and love.
As a young man, I searched in several directions for answers to how the patterns of my life, both good and bad, were developed. This became a search to understand myself so that I could better understand others and their search for wholeness and completeness in God.
I reviewed philosophy. I explored psychology in depth. I studied religion, and inquired into church life.
I began to seek the Lord with a diligent heart. My search finally brought me to the discovery of biblical principles that, when properly applied through knowledge, wisdom and the power of God, brought release. These principles have given me hope for breakthrough and movement toward the position of restoration of relationships in my family and with the Lord.
Up the Family Tree
A fairly well-known psychiatrist, Salvador Minuchin, developed a theory for the development of psychological problems that he called the multi-generational family transmission system of psychopathology. What a mouthful!
In simplified form, Minuchin observed (and many scientists have confirmed) that the patterns of family life are learned, including communication style, specific problems, belief systems and attitudes toward themselves and others. These patterns are transmitted via the communication process and modeling.
Over generations, symptoms including the pathological or dysfunctional aspects of personality, behavior, thoughts, beliefs and attitudes are also transmitted from generation to generation. Minuchin and others discovered that the family pattern, whether functional or dysfunctional, are observed in a family’s tree over 3 to 4 generations.
In Exodus 20, Exodus 34, and many other places throughout the Word of God, it says that the sins (or iniquity, to be defined later) of the father (generations) are transmitted unto the 3rd and 4th generation to those who hate God.
“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, as a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,” (Exodus 20:5).
In my family, I have observed some interesting patterns of behavior that are clearly outlined in my family tree. In family counseling, therapists frequently utilize a tool called a “genogram” to outline the history of a family. In the book, I Want to Be Like You, Dad, a genogram of my family is provided, and much more on my family for your amusement. In my next blog, I will summarize some of the patterns found in my family, and how they were dynamically transferred to me and beyond.
Leave your questions and comments… would love to hear from you.
Until next time… Dr. Stan Get your copy at www.booksbyvision.com