I’m confident if I took the time to study my genogram closely I would discover a “generational curse” or two. I would most likely find emotional and behavioral patterns that were integrated into the psyche of my ancestry due to a multitude of things perpetrated by them as well as upon them. But, the truth is, I don’t have to look that far down the line to find those patterns. I have lived out hatred, anger, fear and depression in my own not too distant personal history.
It’s easy to justify vengeance. If I wanted, I could hold my vindictive grudges, lash out with hateful and angry words and actions, close myself off from others in fearful isolation or sink into my depressed pool of self-pity. And I could offer legitimate excuses while pointing my finger and blaming those who have hurt me.
Or I could let go of my reasons for bitterness by turning to Jesus!
Considering my own past, I am not surprised to find there are so many hateful, angry, fearful and depressed people. Our stories are different, yet they are the same. We are all the products of a chaotic world, and we have all contributed to the chaos.
The Apostle Paul advised in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (ESV). This means, as a follower of Christ, I am supposed to make sure I am neither a contributor to nor am influenced by the chaos. Though the hurts I have suffered at the hands and words of others may try to drive me to it, I am not to succumb to seeking vengeance. I am not to adopt any way of thinking that is contrary to how Jesus thinks.
Paul admonished, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21, ESV). To be able to apply this verse to my life my first inclination is to ask, “What is evil?” But I think the better question to ask is, “What is good?” Paul identified what he meant by good in the previous verse. He said, “…if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink...” (Romans 12:21, ESV). I think he was saying, "Let it go!"
Jesus has helped me let go of bitterness and, thus, my need for vengeance. I've noticed, as a result, I have been able to forgive and have learned to love my enemy. That's the power of letting go.