When I looked up the definition of legacy in Webster's dictionary, the first definition was in regards to receiving a gift of monetary value. Interesting, because I am quite certain that in God's idea of us leaving a legacy, He had in mind the second definition of ancestors passing on to future generations, the knowledge and foresight they had been given. After all, what do we find in Deuteronomy 6:4-8?
- Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your hear. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they be as frontlets between your eyes."
How would you answer these two important questions from your childhood:
1. Was I loved?
2. Could I have my own way?
The combination of the answers you have to these two questions can have more than likely had a profound effect on your life. I am currently reading Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel and he speaks of three inner needs that every child desires to have met:
- A Significant Purpose
- A Sincere Love
- A Strong Hope
Read Ephesians 4:29-5:1 What words seem significant to you from these verses?
Paul is writing in context about the shedding of your old self and the putting on of the new self; which is in the likeness of God. Here in these verses he encourages us to "let all bitterness....be put away from you" and to "forgive just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."
Bitterness is a steady harboring that poisons the whole inner man. It will rob you of joy and wreak havoc in homes. Instead in Psalm 133:1, we are encouraged to dwell in unity. When evaluating our legacy, an array of emotions can surface, but we must remember to filter them through the lens of Truth and not act on them alone. Harboring bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit who dwells in our heart and we lose the joy of our salvation. It also grieves the Son of God who gave His life for us and our Heavenly Father who loves us and desires us to be walking a life that honors and pleases Him.
Unforgiveness is Satan's playground, and too often Christians turn it into a battleground. Satan wants a foothold because he desires to use that which may be a shortcoming in our family legacy as a stumbling block to our faith. God wants us to forgive with an attitude that is gracious.
- Forgiveness is choosing to deny a transgression (name it) the power to adversely affect my relationship with the transgressor (name him/her).
Read Colossians 3:12-15. We are reminded that we are chosen and must put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We must bear with one another and forgive, for love is the perfect bond of unity. Then we are encouraged to let the peace of Christ rule (or umpire every circumstance in life) in our heart.
Forgiveness and gratefulness alone are an extraordinary witness to the work of God in our lives when it comes to overcoming difficult circumstances that we did not choose for ourselves. You have been carefully watched over by God and He will give you the ability to live that honors Him, regardless of what you bring along with you.