Unpacking Our “Ancestral Baggage”

By Charles R. Swindoll

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Genesis 25:19–21; 24–28

“Tell me about your parents and your family.” This question is asked by diagnostic physicians who are doing a workup on our physical health. It's also a question asked by psychologists as they assist us in understanding our mental and emotional battles. The same question also needs to be asked of couples planning to marry and by pastors who counsel parishioners struggling to find solutions to long-standing, troubling habits that are detrimental to their walk with Christ. All of us must admit that there is a direct linkage between the people we have become and the lives of those who formed our heritage—for good and for ill.

In light of all this, it should not come as a surprise to parents who desire to know their children fully that tracing their way back through ancestral roots is important. This helps us understand why certain character traits remain so deeply embedded in our offspring. We know that as a whole we are all sinful and in need of salvation. But we often fail to consider that our child bears the specific “bents” of his or her father, grandfather, and even great-grandfather.

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