As I’ve been facilitating the violence prevention class with a group of women from the Vicente Guerrero Covenant Church, I’ve heard several sad stories of generations of violence among families. In the course, we talk about the cycle of violence and how hard it is to break that cycle, that ultimately Christ alone is the one who can help bring transformation to our broken relationships. Many of the women are first generation Christians and are seeking to build families according to the values of the Kingdom of God: love, peace, forgiveness. It’s certainly not an easy road for them, but by God’s grace they are becoming peacemakers in their families.
I’ve been reflecting on God’s words of blessing and curse on the generations that are repeated often in the Old Testament. For example, when God gives the Ten Commandments, he says: “for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Ex. 20:5b-6).
I have seen how the consequences of sin can affect generations of families, but I have also seen God’s amazing love shown to many generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. This Word fills me with hope for these new Christians and for the future generations of their families.
I also praise God for his faithfulness to my ancestors – to the many generations of Christians in my family. Every time I tell people here that my great-grandfather was a missionary to Alaska and all my grandparents are faithful followers of Jesus, as well as my parents and my husband’s family, I lift up a prayer of gratitude for God’s faithfulness to the generations. Pray that even as we are far from a perfect family, God may use us and the influence of our ancestors to model grace, respect, love and honor for God and each other.