Like Father, Like Son, Take 2

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, "She is my sister." He was afraid to say, "She is my wife." He thought, "They will kill me to get her, because she is so beautiful."

Genesis 26:7

Genesis records two incidents in which Abraham misrepresented the identity of his wife, Sarah, claiming that she was his sister (Gen. 12:10-20; 20:1-18). This half-truth was a result of Abraham's fear that Sarah's beauty would incite strangers to kill him and take her.

In Genesis 26, Isaac did the same thing his father had done, and for the same reason. Not only was Isaac being dishonest, but also he was risking Rebekah's virtue to save his own hide. Beyond this, it's clear that his exemplary faith in God had slipped, with fear taking its place.

This kind of situation occurs again and again. Children imitate their parents, even the things in their parents did that they dislike. My father, for example, had a difficult time expressing his anger, keeping it inside until it exploded in a fit of rage. I hated this when I was a child, even though my father never did anything abusive to me. His yelling was scary enough for me. Of course, wouldn't you know it? When I got married, I found it natural to express my anger with my wife in the same mode as my father. God has had plenty to work on in me, so that I might be able to express my anger in healthy ways.

Paying attention to our family "stuff" can help us know where we need healing in our souls and in our relationships. God will lead us to wholeness if we open our hearts and lives to him honestly and humbly.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever done things that your parents did, even though these very things distressed you when you were young? Have you opened your heart to the Lord for his healing of family hurts and habits?

PRAYER: Dear Father, even as Isaac imitated the unsavory parts of Abraham's behavior, we often do the same. Dishonest parents end up with dishonest children. Alcoholic parents have alcoholic children. And so it goes, on and on.

But you, Lord, can heal our brokenness. You can set us free from the generational bondage that keeps us from being the people you have created and saved us to be. Thank you for caring, not just about our future salvation, but also about our wholeness in this life.

Help me, gracious God, to imitate all of the wonderful things I saw in my father. At the same time, help me to live in freedom from that which was a result of his own brokenness and sin. By your Spirit, create in me a new, clean, and whole heart. Help me to live out this wholeness in every part of life, especially in my relationships with my own family. Amen.