Our wonderful house guest from California was about to open my sight. Make me aware of why I have been pushed around in life. It was a significant insight, hence this most personal website article to date.
My father was raised by alcoholic parents. Because both were teachers through the depression years (1929-1942), they had plenty of money. So he grew up spoiled, adding to the enormous adjustment he faced when he got out on his own as a young adult.
Of course the biggest scar was the alcohol-dominated home in which he grew up.
Like you, I have read Exodus 20 which says God will “visit the sins of the parents on the children to the third and fourth generation (vs. 5). I used to wonder why God would take the initiative to punish the children two and three generations after the parents sinned. Years went by before I realized that sin has a life of its own and will have an impact, like gravity inevitably pulls things down. God did not have to water sin, fertilize sin, nourish it or push it – it would scar future generations as it naturally ran its course.
Back to our California friend. She was abused as a child by her mother. As she spoke to us in May, 2021 of what was in her mind as a child, she said, “I believed that I had done something wrong as a child to make my mother angry; I had failed in some way and I was responsible for her harshness toward me.” It took this saint many years to realize that she had been abused by her mother.
As she spoke to my wife and me, a light went on in my mind. My conclusion as a 76-year-old man is, “I also assumed my Dad was right when he was angry with me. When he spanked me. I lived in fear of him (beyond what a healthy, respectful relationship would be). It has taken me decades to come to the conclusion that it is very likely I was abused as a child.”
As I said, my Dad was an authoritative man. He expected instant and total obedience in a way that I now realize robbed me of the ability to stand up for myself. As a result, I have been pushed from church to church.
However, I had a better upbringing than my Dad did. And our two sons had a better upbringing than I did, and their Sons and Daughters are having a better upbringing that they did. Some problems – alcoholism in this case – take two, three or even four generations to cleanse out of a family.
While there have been many good and glorious things God has done for Marilyn and me through the years in local churches, I now see my past with more insight and from a different perspective. Thank you California friend.