I’ve been doing major work on myself for several years now. It has been like peeling an onion. I know I am a person like all people who has a will to do what I want to do. The Bible says we are all born with a "sinful nature." It appears as soon as we are old enough we begin exercising our choices to go our own way. Often I hear addicts say, "I have an addictive nature." Or I hear someone say, "anxiety attacks run in our family." Or just recently, "The hospital gave him diabetes, he didn’t have it before they gave him that pill!" Dr. Keith Ablow in his book, "Living the Truth," says all these things can be traced back to the first two decades of life. But before a person is too quick to blame anything on the family tree, it must be realized the patterns started prior to your own parents. No doubt negative patterns of how we relate to each other and how we survive in our home environments began several generations ago, possibly starting with Adam and Eve. After all, there was blaming, hiding, and even murder in the first family!! It makes me sad when I think about it. Preparing for a trip to where I grew up to visit family, I began to brace myself and my adult children for hurtful comments that I felt certain would be made because that is just the way it has always been. Shortly after warning my adult daughters to be prepared and them acknowledging how often those comments had cut them, I made a very hurthful comment to one of my daughters over a card game! This morning as I thought through all that I thought how often those who have gone before me must have heard similar comments growing up and basically caught the way to treat people who displease you at the moment. You cut them with your tongue, you shame them into submission. Those being treated this way learn to become people pleasers to avoid the harsh cutting, dehumanizing remarks that come when you don’t. It is an ugly pattern that has nothing to do with genetics and everything to do with the environment you lived in. These kinds of patterns have to be recognized, admitted and changed or the same destruction is visited on the next generations and to them it just feels like normal behavior because it is all they ever knew. God help us in a day of shattered and broken individuals who marry another wounded person and somehow think two damaged people will make a healthy couple and create a loving environment to raise the next generation. We are in serious trouble! Only the Lord forgiving and teaching us will lead us out of this destructive cycle.