Our Family Of Origin – Part 2
“The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: Do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8 NLT).
The Consequences of Sin
We examined this very topic in great detail earlier in this book. But now, at this point — where our journey is moving from general to personal – each of us has to look at ourselves in the mirror and consider sin through the lens of our own lives.
The fall in the garden meant that the fellowship with God had been broken, and the original plan for mankind was forever lost. Adam and Eve would now begin to seek to fill that void improperly, continually heeding other enticements. They would also no longer have the resources necessary to make their relationship work because those resources were based directly on their union with God.
Sin would leave a plague and bring pain to the family system from there on out. While not a popular teaching, God did in fact place a curse on the gender roles as consequences of the disobedience of Adam and Eve.
- The male was cursed to work the fields, which meant he would bear the burden of responsibility for working and financially supporting his family. This sense of responsibility would extend to more than just the material needs of the family. He would ultimately be responsible for creating an environment where all of their needs could be met: Spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical, and social.
- The female was cursed to painful childbearing, and her now fallen nature would “desire” the love of her husband but would simultaneously resent his authority over her. As a result, she would place expectations on her male counterpart as a measurement of his “worthiness” to lead, and she would take the reins if he didn’t measure up.
The irony of the two curses is that they portray the very heart of the breakdown we see occurring in many family systems in the twentieth and twenty-first century society that we’ve all lived in. The husband rebels against his gender role by being irresponsible and abandoning his family, or just the opposite, by working and being away from the family too much. The wife rebels against her gender role by trying to gain power over her husband, or by expecting him to ideally meet all her needs, or both.
As a result, children would inherit a fallen sin nature and be born in the world separated from God. As we’ve studied throughout this book (specifically in our key passage from Deuteronomy 5), the consequences of sin always extend to future generations. We inherited the curse of sin. Furthermore, we inherited the damage attached to the consequences of sin. This effect is called “toxic shame.”
This means we cannot possibly get it right or live without negative results, simply because we are human. And our parents couldn’t have either!
The Most Profound Paradox
You know by now how much I thoroughly enjoy examining things through the perspective of paradox — two seemingly opposite or self-contradictory statements that, when further explored, carry greater substance than either statement would if standing alone. As we look at and seek to understand our own family systems, we must be consciously aware of the two juxtaposed realities:
- Man’s fallen nature, inborn with the curse of sin.
- God’s redemption, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
As each of us are able to deepen our understanding of the co-existent tension of these two realities, we will gain an entirely new perspective of:
- The beauty of how God perceives and loves us as His children.
- The humble view God wants us to have of ourselves.
- The heart of grace and mercy we extend to others.
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