One Who Finally Stands Up

Gary Wilkerson

How do you change the broken and dysfunctional destiny of your family? Has there been a history of various addictions in your family? How do you resist a family ‘legacy’ that has been one of abuse, difficulty, separation, segregation or strife? How is that family turned around?

On the other side, you may be saying, “Well, let me tune out now because I got a good family.” I want to ask you, “How does a really good family turn into a really great family that is a testimony to the things that God would have us live out together?”

My father grew up in a Christian home. His father was a pastor and denominational leader in Pennsylvania. The household he grew up in, as he expressed it to me, was extremely legalistic. His sisters had to wear long skirts. They weren’t allowed to have a washer and a dryer in their house because they believed that would cause sloth.

When my dad was a young pastor shepherding his flock, he realized that he was putting people under a legalistic weight. He decided that not only was he going to become free from that himself, but he was also going to preach to help people break free from that mentality.

He decided he was going to try to understand what the grace of God was really all about; and when he saw it in scripture, he began to rejoice. His heart began to grow wide open to the things of God, and he was like a new man just by learning that you don’t work to earn your salvation. You don’t fear. You don’t drive people to Christ out of fear.

I am so glad that my father broke free of that joyless, legalistic faith so that I could be raised in a household that understands the love of Jesus and the love and grace of God. My children and their children and their children’s children are going to thank God that they had a patriarch who was willing to break this chain. In generations to come, they’ll look back and say, “There was finally a man of God who stood up and said, ‘No more of this. Things are going to change with me in this family.’”

Maybe you will be the one who does this and breaks generations of pain or legalism or addiction for your family. God can accomplish this in your heart and your life.