Welcome back to the Breaking Free online Bible study. We are discussing week four in our Bible Cafe™ small groups. For many of you, this may be a challenging week to move some big boulders. If the boulder is too big and causes you discomfort, seek help from your Christian counselor or pastor. Beth Moore wisely shares this advice for her Breaking Free readers.

As Beth Moore writes, “Even Jesus had a blend of the negative and positive in His lineage.” This reminds me that perfection is lacking on this side of eternity. I enjoy reading Bible stories about Jesus’ earthly family. Like us, He has parents, siblings, cousins, and grandparents. A blend of personalities, strengths, and generational weaknesses.

When I look back at my family line, I inherited some attitudes about God from my grandparents. One grandmother taught me to fear God and that He would punish me. She taught me the religious habit of not eating meat on Friday. But this same grandma would read Tarot Cards over me and predict my future. Religion confused me as a child. Another grandmother taught me to serve others, as she baked pies for her church and volunteered when they needed help. Both grandmothers loved the Lord while my grandfathers were both unbelievers.

This week we completed a diagram of our family generations’ positive and negative influences. When I completed the diagram I saw how my grandmothers taught me creativity, hospitality, and serving others.

As modern Christians, we might struggle with the boundary stone of the Ten Commandments. What would be the benefit of anchoring ourselves to God’s Commands? This will depend on your denomination as some believe the 10 Commands are past tense, while others believe in the value today.  In the New Testament Jesus narrowed this to two commands:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 36-40 NIV

When we love the Lord and love people, these 10 commands become a boundary stone that honors that love. It’s a beautiful place to stay inside the will of God.

Turn your Bible to 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 NIV: (Paul says) “Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, so that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” How does forgiveness turn the table on Satan’s schemes?

Unforgiveness can result in a pity party and worldview mindset that celebrates victimhood. Jesus demonstrates forgiveness at the cross. Flip the script on Satan and forgive everyone. I keep a gratitude journal AND a forgiveness journal. A record of the opportunities I have been given to show mercy, grace, and kindness when it’s undeserved. Just like Jesus did for me.

According to Ezekiel 18:14, 31 “a new heart and a new spirit” break the chain of destructive behavior. We pursue a new heart as we make time to KNOW JESUS. Let’s leave the unforgiveness generation behind us and teach our children and grandchildren the value of loving people through the heart of Jesus.

Read Isaiah 61:3 NIV: The captives set free …” will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” How do you feel about displaying the splendor of the Lord?  I see the splendor in my friends and the Light of Christ in their eyes. It is a beautiful sight to see!

We also carry a fragrance. Turn your Bible to 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 HCSB: For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life.  

Are you allowing Satan to cripple your testimony, or are you walking in freedom as a captive set free? Let your Light shine and carry the fragrance of one who is chosen, beloved, and saved. Learn to see yourself and other people as Jesus sees them. Let us stop living through the worldview lens.

As a woman who knows Jesus, believes in God, and walks with the Spirit, what impact will you have on the next generation? The impact of authentic Christ-like love.

Be blessed.

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.