All of us have elements of our past that we bring into marriage. We get married with baggage. Karen and I both brought huge amounts of baggage into our relationship, and it nearly ruined our marriage. We had problems from the beginning.
One of the biggest types of baggage you can bring into a marriage are iniquities. In describing these, Exodus says the Lord punishes children for the iniquities of their parents “to the third and the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7).
In the original Hebrew, “iniquity” comes from the word avon, which means to bend or twist. Like a tree that grows sideways because of the strength of the prevailing winds, iniquity means a bent toward a sin or negative behavior.
Growing up, if you’re exposed to a certain behavior from your parents or grandparents like racism, chauvinism, pride or greed, then the acorn won’t fall far from the tree, as the saying goes. Most of us end up a lot like our parents. It’s easy to bring those iniquities into our marriages.
But that doesn’t have to be the case, because iniquities can be broken. Here’s how you do it.
You have to confess. I grew up in a chauvinist household, so I learned to be a chauvinist. In order to let go of that baggage, I had to admit it wasn’t just my parents’ problem. It was my problem, too. I confessed my iniquity.
You have to forgive your parents. They may have handed you baggage, but it’s probably because someone handed them worse baggage. In the case of both my parents and Karen’s parents, I’m amazed they ended up being such good people despite what was dealt to them. Don’t judge your parents. Forgive them. You’ll never be free without forgiveness.
You have to give the “bent” area of your life to Jesus. This is so critical. Go to Jesus and say, “Lord, this area of my life is bent because of what I was exposed to. I make you Lord of this area. I’m asking You to disciple me.” The Holy Spirit will help you break these iniquities so you don’t pass them along to your own children.
Then you have to break them. Do this verbally. Say, “I break this iniquity over me and my life and over all of my family, my children and my grandchildren, from this point forward. In the name of Jesus, let me be the end of this iniquity.”
The “prevailing winds” of your upbringing and your family culture may have bent you in a certain direction, but that doesn’t mean the next generation has to grow the same way. Break your iniquities and let go of that baggage before it impacts your marriage.
He promises to bear our burdens, so give your baggage to God. Your spouse and your children, and their children, will thank you.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today