We're Cooking on Gas!I spent the last month in Kenya. Now I’m in Minnesota.
In Kenya, my host frequently said, “We’re cooking on Gas!” to communicate that something good was happening.
Today, I said, “We’re cooking on Gas!” to tell my father that we were literally cooking on gas—a gas stove. He had no reason to laugh and he didn’t.
Two hours before this happened, Pastor John Mathews visited us (This Lutheran pastor gave my family a house on his church’s property when we had no where else to live. This man led my baby baptism).
Catching up was nice. During that time, I learned something about him. Pastor John Matthews is the president of the International Bonhoeffer Society (http://www.dbonhoeffer.org). This was cool because a group of friends and I read through The Cost of Discipleship, a book by Bonhoeffer, this last year. If you’re looking for a book that will kick your butt as hard as Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, read it. Additionally, I discovered that Pastor John had been a friend of Bonhoeffer’s best friend, Eberhard Bethge, before he passed away in 2000.
This man had been a friend of my family before I was even born, yet I didn’t know about his international prestige. I wonder what else I don’t know about people. I wonder what you don’t know about the people in your life—even your family.
Whenever I want to learn something about my family, I badger my father or mother. Sometimes the only way to get a story out of my father is by putting a drink into him (not an alcholic). Sowing and reaping.
My dad knows how to cook (on gas, wood and electricity). He knows how to cook really well. Sometimes my friends come to my house (while I’m not there) just to eat his food. Why is he a good cook? Simple. He grew up without his father.
Through the ceaseless badgering, I found out that my great grandpa (on my father’s side) was the Chief or “Maniakaren” of Kaliamkadu (a village near Jaffna in Sri Lanka). My grandpa, then, left this legacy and became a leader in the Sri Lankan Navy. My father was born, and my grandpa once again left his legacy (my father) behind, so my father grew up without a father. Then, his mother left him.
That’s why he had to learn how to cook. Who else would cook for him?
On the other side of my family line, I discovered that my great grandpa was an Anglican Priest, Church planter and Christian songwriter. This surprised me because my parents were Hindu until they came to America. My grandma ran away (from India) with my grandpa (a Hindu) and birthed my mother (in Sri Lanka). My mother went to India for the first time this last winter and met some of her cousins for the first time. The incredible thing about that trip is that almost all of her family in India is in the ministry (evangelists, pastors, church planters, etc.). In fact, she saw a whole town celebrating the people of my family because they had just finished translating the Bible into the town’s language. Also, churches are still singing songs that my great grandpa wrote.
When I became a born-again Christian and accepted my call to the ministry, I thought I was the first. Through a lot of badgering and research, I discovered I inherited a rich heritage of Christian ministry and village leadership.
Exodus 34:6-7 says, “And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, 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 fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.’”
This passage tells us that choices don’t affect individuals. Choices affect generations. This principle is neutral—it works for good and bad, like sowing and reaping (if you sow something good, you reap something good . . .).
People call these Generational Curses and Blessings.
Let me give you a personal example: my grandparents divorced, my parents divorced, so unless I change something, I’m going to divorce. You might hear someone saying, “My grandpa was a doctor, my father was doctor and I’ll be a doctor. It runs in the family.” I hear many families talk about generational blessings and curses, but I don’t think they realize it. It can be about humor, careers or horrid acts, such as molestation.
It’s a serious issue and unless someone does something to stop the cycle, it continues. Are their trends in your family that you have noticed? Have you ever wondered why certain things never work out for you? Have you ever said, “I’ll never do the things my parents have done.”? It could be that you are under the power of a generational curse.
There is a way out.
My Minnesota pastor says, “You can nurse the curse. Rehearse the curse, or you can Reverse the Curse!”
Nurse the curse: play the victim (“I’m just a product of my family”).
Rehearse the curse: play dead (“I’ll just keep on going with my life”).
To reverse the curse, Jesus gave us the way out:
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
People ask me why I have so much favor. Considering that there has been so much pain in my family, it’s a valid question. I have made a choice to not walk in the inheritance of my Hindu family (divorce, alcoholism, rage, etc.). I didn’t even choose to walk in the inheritance of my Great grandpa (the Anglican priest). I have denounced any ties I have to my family, and, through faith, received the promises of my Heavenly Father. Is this possible? Do I have the right to choose which family legacy I inherit? Yes.
At eight years of age, King Josiah did it.
“Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the ways of his father David.”
2 Kings 22:1-2
What does this prove? It proves that our biological fathers don’t dictate whose ways we walk in. David was not the biological father of Josiah, yet this eight-year-old king inherited his legacy. As Galatians says, we receive the promises of our fathers through faith. Like Josiah, I suggest that you choose to inherit the ways of your Heavenly Father and not your earthly one. Flesh births flesh. Spirit births Spirit. By walking in the Spirit, in all the ways of your Heavenly Father, you’ll find that all generational curses are reversed. God is totally capable of turning a curse into a blessing.
“Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.”
God loves you and wants you to walk in crazy blessings. Our Heavenly Father knows what He is doing, even if our earthly ones do not. Be careful to not curse your parents for the mistakes they have made, for Romans 12:14 says, “bless and do not curse.” All you have to do is denounce the curse and receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. You have to make the choice, though.
“’And you shall eat it as barley cakes; and bake it using fuel of human waste in their sight.’ Then the LORD said, ‘So shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, where I will drive them.’ So I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Indeed I have never defiled myself from youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable flesh ever come into my mouth.’ Then He said to me, ‘See, I am giving you cow dung instead of human waste, and you shall prepare your bread over it.’”
So, what are you cooking on? Because of the sins of our fathers, it might seem that we have to cook on “human waste,” but God is giving us a way out.
Stay tuned in for more articles on curses.