Saturday, March 3, 2012

Are You Wearing Hand Me Downs?

What's your take on hand me downs? Sometimes it's great when you get passed a cool pair of jeans from your sister, but many times what's being passed down just doesn't seem to fit very well. Many times there is something we just can't wait to wear. We know it's going to fit perfect! But then again, sometimes it's best to skip the hand me downs and purchase new items that fit us.

Today we have resale shops of all kinds where you can find great buys. Little items you have been searching for that will make that outfit perfect. We too have stores that are high priced with items we know we shouldn't place on our credit card. I think the key is knowing what's right for us and what's totally wrong helps us when searching for that new bag. It's not so much the bag, but what we add to it.

Sometimes those items we get passed down are very costly. Even for the one wearing them brand new. Have you ever been given a bag of clothes and you open the bag and a smell comes waffering up catching us off guard? We are in anticipation as we see what we are about to receive, but once that bag is opened, the surprise leaves us feeling empty.

Generational sins is something for us to consider. Do we really reap the sins of our fathers? Those sins of our grandmothers from years past?

What parents do in moderation, children will do in excess. We can't live by the motto, "Do as I say, not as I do". The choices we make today will effect those around us. Sometimes for years to come. Just that one choice we think won't matter much brings calamity and sorrow to those who reap what we have sown.

In studying generational sins there is something important for us to remember. How we live effects those around us. Plain and simple. Many of you, just as me, who have come from alcoholic homes know the impact this left on you. If you have come from an abusive home, the scars remain evident.

I was not raised in a Christian home. I was taught right from wrong, but many of those right things I learned, really weren't right at all. It wasn't okay to have sex before marriage. It wasn't okay to go out drinking with the girls. It wasn't okay to live with that boy before marriage. It wasn't okay to do whatever I wanted as long as no one else got hurt. I can tell you, these were decisions I made that in my mind were right. In these very choices my children now reap those effects.

I now know those decisions I made were not correct. If I'm honest, I knew that before I ever did them. I was just leaning on the decisions and the teachings of my family who said they were okay. I still carry the scars from my choices as a young person. Praise the Lord for God's grace. He has taken my past and removed each sin. He washed me clean and renewed me. Even through His grace, those scars still remain. He took the sin away, but the reaping of my actions still remain.

As a Christian and through growth I make better choices today. I am more focused on the outcome of my decisions. I know they effect more than just me. But each and every day I make poor choices when I am focused on my flesh. It is a daily battle between my flesh and my walk with Christ.

We can't always fall back on the decisions of our parents. There comes a point where we can no longer blame anyone for our choices except ourselves. We must learn to be accountable for our choices. Too many times we place blame on others, when in fact, it was our choice.

I see my children make some of the mistakes I made when I was young. It's hard for a mother to see this and not be able to do anything. Let me correct that. I may not be able to make them see, but I can pray for the Lord to show them. I believe He will. Sometimes we just gotta learn on our own. I have taught my children, a mistake isn't a mistake if we can walk away and learn from it. Life lessons are powerful, but wouldn't it be nice to just listen to the Lord and follow Him, instead of ignoring Him and doing as we wish?

After I became a Christian I began teaching my children morals and virtues that came from the Word of God. I too taught them from my own life lessons. Yes, I was that parent who shared my mistakes. I never hide things from my children. I wanted them to see how my mistakes left a mark on me and how my life would have been if I had made better choices. Our choices are everything. One choice leads to another and another. If we are making poor choices we are in a vicious cycle.

We have a choice in how we raise our children. In how we live our lives. When we make wise choices those blessings fall upon those near us. Oh, how I wish I could go back and make things right, but I cannot go back. I can take those choices and learn from them. I can make better decisions today. I want to leave blessings for my grandchildren. I want to be that Nana they look up to. One in which they say, "I wanna be like Nana". I want my children to be proud of the mother they have. The mom who hasn't always made perfect choices, but one who knows there is something much greater than this life we have here on earth.

That brings us to ask, "What impact am I making on those around me?" When we focus on God, when we live out our faith, we make a lasting impact for generations to come. Our impact carries great importance. When we focus on self, and live a life that is out of character for what God has for us, that impact is lasting too. In fact, that impact is harder and it can take years, generations even, to overcome.

Our actions carry an echo. That echo travels far and wide. So, shouldn't we be more concerned with the fingerprints we leave behind?

"Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation."
2 Corinthians 4:16-19

"As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was not good among his people, behold he will die for his iniquity. Yet you say, Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity? When the son has practiced justice and righteousness and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, not will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself."
Ezekiel 18:18-20

"Father shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall their sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin."
Deuteronomy 24:16

We have verses pointing toward our own responsibility for our own sins. The actions we make are in the end our own. We cannot blame another for the choices we have made. This is why we choose to walk with wise and to surround ourselves with others looking to the Lord for guidance. I know this now, but when I was younger I didn't live for the Lord. I lived for the moment. We must break our generational sins and live in such a way that our lives leave behind the good of Christ that touches generations to come.

The Israelites are a great example to us in living for God and living for self. They would follow and then they would leave, trying to make the way on their own. God brought great blessings to them and He also punished them for the choices they made. In some way each and every choice we make effects those around us. They walked in the dessert for forty years. They had the promise land before them. Some were allowed to enter and others were not. May we humble our hearts and search God for each step we make. For that step we take is just as important to those who will follow.

"If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and it to us-a land which flows with milk and honey."
Numbers 14:8

May we be careful of the hand me downs we bag up and hand to another. It might be best if they were just tossed away. If you are wearing hand me downs that just don't fit, don't keep wearing them. Sometimes it's best not to even open the bag. Praise God, we can begin new. In Him we can find restoration and freedom. We can walk in new shoes on a new path filled with promise and joy.


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