Mom, Dad, and Uzziah

January 17, 2024
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2 Chronicles 27:2 says, “He (Jotham) did right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah had done; however he did not enter the temple of the LORD.”  

For context, Uzziah, Jotham’s dad, did wrong by illicitly entering the temple of the LORD. In Jotham’s evaluation of what he needed to walk in God’s fullness, he recognized that while a lot of his dad was great, he wasn’t right about everything. So Jotham took from his dad what was great and rejected what wasn’t great.  

If we are going to walk in God’s fullness, then we must accept how much the generational line into which we were born affects our vitality. It can be frustrating how affected we are by our parents and grandparents. But the ways your mom, dad, and other adults raised you have tremendous impact on your vitality. The good stuff that was baked into you can be really good. And the bad stuff can be really bad. 

Through Jotham we have already learned that to have a strong life we need to order three key elements according to the LORD – BE, BUILD, and FIGHT. Now, we are digging into various influences affecting our BE. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just be our own person, nourished on good things and left alone by the bad?! Nope. Today we dig into how generational issues affect us and how we can be freed.  

Obviously, each of us receives DNA from our moms and dads. But we also inherit Adam’s sinful nature from our parents, for we are born sinners.  And the shape of our personalities is also dramatically affected as can be behaviors and tendencies. For example, “Substance abuse also appears to be highly transmissible from one generation to the next.”1 And,  

Children who grow up in aggressive families are more likely to be aggressive in the families they create as adults. Intergenerational transmission, as this phenomenon is known, refers to experiencing aggression in one’s family of origin—either witnessing aggression between one’s parents or directly receiving aggression from one’s parents—as a risk factor for future aggression toward intimate partners or one’s own children.2  

Unfortunately, identifying one’s generational issues can be challenging.  

Identifying the bad stuff passed on to you from your mom and dad can be challenging because it is all you have ever known. To you, it is normal. In fact, identifying your generational issues can be like hearing your own accent! 

So how can we discern what are our issues?    

One “easy” way to identify your issues is to get married! Your spouse did not grow up in your family so what is “normal” for you can be exceptionally not normal to them. Spouses would be very wise to listen to their partner’s insights about what they see in the other’s family. Be gentle. When sharing observations about your spouse’s family lather up the truth you are about to say with a lot of grace and love! Pointing out family issues in others can get super sensitive.  

Another way to identify your generational issues is by using Scripture as your standard for life. Run your family of origin through the grid of biblical truth about life and you may be surprised at what the Holy Spirit will show you.  

This is what Jotham did. 

In Exodus 30:7, God our Father establishes priests as those responsible for burning incense in the Temple, “Aaron (the first priest through whom Yahweh establishes the priesthood) shall burn fragrant incense on it (the altar); he shall burn it every morning when he trims the lamps.” According to Scripture, burning incense in the Temple was the priest’s job. But 2 Chronicles 26:19 says King Uzziah entered the Temple and burned incense, enraging the priests. Consequently, God struck him with leprosy. Interestingly, 2 Chronicles 26:16 reveals that Uzziah did so because of pride.  

The sin of pride was strong in Jotham’s dad. But Jotham applied God’s word to his father’s actions, saw the potential for “intergenerational transmission,” and chose to reject this aspect of his dad. Read 2 Chronicles 27:2 again, “He (Jotham) did right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah had done; however he did not enter the temple of the LORD.”  

So, what does the Holy Spirit reveal to you as you apply the standard of Scripture to your family of origin?  

  • Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” But you were raised in a home of sarcasm or harshness. In the use of language maybe your mom or dad, or both, were wrong. 
  • Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and wealth.” But you were raised in a home that worshipped money and material possessions.  
  • Jesus speaks against the religious in Matthew 15:7-8, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: This people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.” You were raised in a religious family, regular church attenders, but experienced the superficiality of mom and dad’s faith. In their lack of authenticity, your mom or dad, or both, were wrong.  
  • Matthew 26:36-46 details the way in which Jesus processes His emotions in the Garden of Gethsemane. But you were trained by your mom, dad, or both in very unhealthy emotional patterns.  

The examples could go on to grace, mercy, laziness, lust, divorce, gluttony and more. Hopefully you are seeing the pattern. The only right standard for LIFE is the biblical standard. It is the filter by which we must allow the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus to identify our generational issues.  

This exercise is often exceedingly painful. Wounds caused by family members can easily be the deepest and widest. Violations of trust can take a lot of time to work through. Do not be in a hurry. Be in the pace of our Father.  

So, how does freedom from these identified issues work? 

First, freedom works by embracing our adoption. To give one’s life to Christ is to be adopted out of one’s old generational line into the lineage of the King (Galatians 4:4-7). Your Father so wanted you in His family that He paid your adoption price with the life of Jesus. That’s intense desire!  

To embrace your new family, a dethroning of one’s old family MUST happen. While your mom and dad are still your parents, they no longer have the same positional influence previously held. Only God the Father, Jesus the King, and the Holy Spirit reign in your life.  

Second, freedom works by abiding in specific truth. Jesus trains His disciples, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also love you; abide in My love” (John 15:9). Abiding in His kind of love, not the love of mom and dad or culture, was the corrective force strong enough to overcome generational perversions, misconceptions, and bad teachings about love. So, if you were raised in a judgmental family, you need to abide in grace. If you were raised in a materialistic family, you need to abide in the Holy Spirit. If you were raised in an angry home, you need to abide in mercy. Depending on the depth and width of the pain, this step may be one a person stays in for life.  

Freedom from generational issues requires abiding in specific truth, allowing the Holy Spirit to soak you in a new way of believing, seeing, feeling, and behaving. (Many things need to be said here about spiritual warfare in generational freedom but that will have to be for another blog.)  

Third, freedom works by surrounding yourself with healthy people who live in the overflow of God’s love. As we have seen, and you have experienced, relationships are powerful. Unhealthy relationships with moms or dads need to be replaced by healthy relationships with others in the Kingdom. In these new relationships we openly share our journeys and listen to and support others in their journeys. While oftentimes trust has been significantly damaged, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to safe people. Be careful who you let in your heart. Establish appropriate boundaries that, as much as possible, safeguard against the wrong people while letting in the right people!  

Lastly, freedom works by engaging in one’s new mission. Regardless of the degree of generational pain one has experienced, God our Father has incredible, deep, meaningful, Kingdom work to be done. Remember, a strong life comes when we order our BE, BUILD, and FIGHT, according to the LORD. Together we lock arms to reach others trapped in their generational darkness, offering them the same hope we now enjoy.  

Jotham gives us a clear example of how “intergenerational transmission” can pollute our present vitality. All parents are on the spectrum from complete failure to loving and faithful. Regardless of where yours were/are, we are dramatically affected by being their children. Like Jotham, we cannot experience the fullness of BEing who our Father created us to be apart from appropriately healing from their parenting.  

BEing in the OVERFLOW happens when we let Father, Son, and Holy Spirit go first in defining and declaring who we are!  

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