JR. Forasteros - September 22, 2017


Empathy for the Devil

How do you resolve conflict? Chances are, however you approach a fight, you learned it from your family. Our families shape us for good and for ill. Herodias, the Evil Queen of Jesus’ day, illustrates for us the cost of generational sin. How can we overcome the sins we inherit from our families? And how can we leave a legacy of life for those who come after us?

From Series: "Empathy for the Devil"

We don't give the people we consider villains a second thought. They were born rotten, destined for evil from day one. But if we take another look at some of the most infamous villains of all time, we may find they're more human than we thought. We may see ourselves in their reflection. We might find we're walking the path of villainy - and once we see that, we can turn toward God's life!

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Anyone else ever have awkward family reunions? Growing up, my dad’s family got together every Thanksgiving at my grandpa’s church. We’d feast around 11 am, all my grandpa’s brothers and sisters and their descendants – usually some 150 of us. Sometime in the afternoon, a pickup football game would start outside and run basically until it was time for dinner around 5.

By the time I was in college, the reunion had shrunk (as reunions tend to). But my aunts and uncles and cousins all still gathered. And though the football game was a lot smaller, we still played. By the time I was in college, my little brother wasn’t so little anymore. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, including football. And it’s possible I was feeling a little self-conscious playing against him during this particular football game.

So when I tackled him to stop a touchdown one play, it’s possible I might have celebrated a little too hard.

My dad (who was also on the other team), told me to calm down, and when I refused, he decided to teach me a lesson on the next play. But he missed the tackle, I scored on him, and I doubled down on the trash talk and bad sportsmanship.

It was one of those moments when everyone could feel the tone of the game shift. It wasn’t about family having fun anymore. Suddenly, it was about two big egos both trying to be the biggest man on the field.

Needless to say, the game dissolved pretty quickly after that, and dinner was way more awkward than usual. At least for me.

That moment was emblematic for my dad and me because the real problem was how stubborn we both are. And it’s not just him and me. My brother is the same way, and so is my father’s father. In fact, if you look back through our family tree, it’s pretty clear there’s some kind of gene for hard-headedness that runs in the men in my family. And it’s caused plenty of problems a lot more severe than just a ruined football game.

Let’s talk about the sins we inherit from our families. The deep patterns of pain and brokenness we sometimes can’t even see because they just look normal to us.

How can we find freedom from those legacies of sin? More, how can we leave legacies of life and faithfulness for those who come after us?

Join us Sunday as we learn how to find freedom from generational sin.

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