(Adapted from Jimmy’s newest book, When Life Hurts)
When I speak to married couples, I often ask two rhetorical questions. The first is this: “How many of you have spent your adult lives struggling to overcome the problems of your past?”
Most people nod in agreement. We can all relate.
Then I ask the second question. “How many of you would like your children and grandchildren to grow up without having to deal with those problems?”
This is when everyone raises their hands. We all want our children and their children to have a better life than we’ve had. But for that to happen, we have to make hard choices. We have to deal with the sinful patterns of our own lives.
Parents pass on negative patterns of behavior to us: addictions, violence, anger, emotional withdrawal, financial habits, and even abuse. Without thinking, we tend to treat our spouses the same way our parents treated each other—or the way our parents treated us.
Your attitude toward your spouse is likely a similar attitude to what you experienced from your parents as a child.
And while it’s easy to blame our parents for these problems, it’s also important to acknowledge that the sinful patterns we develop as adults still result from our own choices. There comes a time when we must take responsibility for our actions and deal with these problems like adults.
David provides a good example for us in Psalm 51, which he wrote after being caught in adultery with Bathsheba. He owns up to this moral failure: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me,” he prays to God. “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:3–4).
Freedom from eating disorders, alcoholism, sexual addiction, depression, or any other issue does not arrive through blaming others or pointing fingers. Blame transfer often makes the problem worse. It’s how bondage carries over to future generations.
To find freedom, we must acknowledge our poor life choices and then take steps to break the cycle of sin. Later in Psalm 51, David prays, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). He is ready to change his future, and asks God for help.
Even the fact that you are reading this devotional indicates that you are in a similar place: ready to end the painful legacy of your past, ready to provide a better future for the generations to come.
When you start by taking responsibility for your actions, you open yourself up to God’s healing process. As the Lord did with David, He will come alongside you, giving you His healing and supernatural strength to break the damaging cycle of sin and dysfunction.