Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Third Generation

I am a third generation Canadian. My Grandfather having been born in Montreal and his father having been born in Scotland. In terms of time as related to other cultures and countries it is insignificant, as it only spans 125 years.
Unable to fully comprehend the magnitude of the journey that these men and families of that day undertook to leave their homelands and travel across a sea to a new, raw and ---- existence I can only speculatively reflect on their motivations. What could drive a man to attempt such a drastic relocation?

In this day and age, such relocation's are common occurrences, run-of-the-mill and widely accepted as opportunities are created in other countries. The largest difference being the modes of communication which now exist allowing people to fully anticipate every aspect of the new culture they are moving into, as well as allowing for continued and immediate communication with loved ones around the world.
But what of those olden times??

The other half of my heritage is founded upon the Mennonite relocation from Germany and Southern Russia (to the best of my knowledge). These men and their families fled the Bolshevik revolution and extreme poverty with basically their lives.

This is my heritage.

It is hard to imagine that events which transpired over 100 years ago can have an effect on a current generation, thrice removed, especially as individuals. However, what I have discovered is that a mindset has been imposed and transferred from each subsequent generation.

Growing up with a predominantly Mennonite religious influence means that there exists a stoicism and a reserve to my religious expressions as a result of being raised in an environment which frowned upon charismatic or even any emotional show of affection in worship.

Exodus 34:6b-7, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsufferring, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the father's upon the children and the children's children to the third and fourth generations."

Now being a third generation occupant of this Biblical revelation I could be dismayed with what God states as truth here. I believe that certain aspects of my inherited legacy are fraught with an inherent misrepresentation and therefore are sinful in nature. With this in view the preceding verse has some very negative connotations, in fact, I could look at my future as dismal.

As I reflect upon my third generation legacy and stance I can only speculate on what has transpired in prior generations and the implications of those decisions and actions which have resulted in myself being in this current place. As I grow older I understand more of who I am as a consequence of the preceding fatherhood's. Each father has passed on to a son certain inherent characteristics, idiosyncrasies, attitudes and behaviours.
God, in the wisdom that only God has, understands and acknowledges this flaw or attribute of fatherhood. The verse is not an arbitrary judgement from God, it is a reality, and regardless of certain liberal factions declaring the opposite there are dire consequences to ignoring the obvious positive and negative implications of fatherhood. Children are always the first and last to suffer. What may be seen as a little pain now will be the sting that poisons the children. There are aspects of being a child which involve a repetition of a father's actions. A legacy achieved through imitation; heritage by means; repeating the motivating cause of a father's behaviour.

This is not an absolution of personal responsibility. Each individual will be held accountable for their actions. Romans 9:15, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." Isaiah 27:11, "It is a people of no understanding; Therefore He that made them will not have mercy on them, and He that formed them will show them no favour." Neither an abject misery, poverty and wretchedness nor a gracious, rich and felicitous upbringing guarantee an inheritance. The influence of a father neither negates nor insures the impoverishment or prosperity of a child, physically, mentally, or spiritually. However that influence can be a debilitating or liberating power in the life of a child.

Influencing God or earning merit points with God is not a consequence of having been children. Sovereign grace means that it is at God's pleasure and purpose to mete out judgement and salvation. God is not influenced by anything outside Himself, we cannot cry 'foul' because of our childhood, anymore than we cannot justify our abdication in this life after we have knowledge of who we are.

Deuteronomy 24:16, "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers, a person shall be put to death for his own sin." 

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.—William James (psychologist, professor, writer)

"The greatest gift you can give your people is your personal holiness."—Robert Murray McCheyne (Scottish preacher, pastor, poet)

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