I am a Marriage and Family Therapist by profession, which means that I study family patterns and relationships for a living. The research out there is fascinating to me and I can’t get enough of it.
Though relationships and human behavior is one of my loves to fill my bottomless nerdy hunger, it’s not the only thing I love to study.
I have found the Bible fascinating as well. It’s incredible to do studies on the archaeological findings that back up the Bible, or the logical proof of God, I find it fun to look up the original meanings of the text, and the context.
What has really been fun for me is to take the scientific conclusions in the secular world and compare it to the truths that I find written in the sacred Word of God and see what I find. Recently I did this on generational patterns.
In the world of social sciences there is something called a genogram. Many people know what this is, and some do not. A brief explanation of the genogram is that it is a “family map” of patterns that have been passed from one generation to the next, for a minimum of three generations. Usually you can track the patterns much further when the information is available.
In a genogram we can track patterns of relational disruptions, various abuses, mental illness, poverty, addiction, and so on. We can also track positive strengths such as fidelity, relational successes, emotional availability and overcoming obstacles.
The first time I did a genogram for myself, so much about made sense about who I am. It was almost healing for me to see my story and the story that led to my story on paper.
Science has somewhat explained this phenomenon. We have all heard the nature vs. nurture debate, but with today’s science they have discovered proof to back up both. Genetic testing supports that certain behaviors we do changes an individual’s genetic make-up.
For example someone who has lived through a severe trauma will have a change that takes place after the trauma on a genetic level, when they have children the new genetic vulnerabilities are passed on to the children.
It’s not just trauma that does this, any behavior can impact an individual at a genetic level both in a positive and negative way. Even a college education will change the genetic code.
What is interesting is that the Bible explained what research is confirming years before we had the ability to confirm it.
We were created sinless, meaning with DNA that did not have sin in it. Once the fall happened, our genetic code changed, and so it became natural to rebel against God.
Romans 5 and Romans 7:21-25 are just two of the passages where we find support for this. But that is not where the Scriptural support ends. In Exodus 20:6, Exodus 34:7and Deuteronomy 7:9 we see the parallel of patterns both good and bad being passed from generation to generation.
Even a brief study of the patriarchs of the Bible reveals patterns of passive men, deceit, favoritism, and sibling rivalry.
Scientists agree the passing of patterns happens on a behavioral and a genetic level. I would include in that list that the patterns are passed down on a spiritual level as well, but I don’t have room to go into that at this time.
Here is the good news. We are not slaves to the past, or to our generational patterns. Yes, we are vulnerable to those patterns, but we don’t have to stay there.
In Isaiah 53 it says, “He (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.”
This is the message of the cross. This is what Good Friday and Easter Sunday are all about. Because of our DNA, we are all the same kind of messed up, just different versions of it. Romans 3:23-26 says we all get it wrong, and we all get it wrong on the exact same level of wrong. Not one of us is in higher standing because of our works, but if we choose the healing it is there for us. This Easter Season may you remember the significance of what we celebrate, and may you receive a fresh understanding of what it all means.
If you have questions about the message of the cross, or about family patterns, Olive Chapel is here to help you walk through those questions. Unfortunately we are not meeting at this time due to the Coronavirus, however if you call and leave a message, someone can get back to you. Our number is 574-654-3615.