Climbing Out of the Family Tree

Have you ever been frustrated to see an irritating trait from one of your parents make an appearance in your own character?

Have you been startled when one of your own weaknesses rears its ugly head in your child?

Not me. Nope. Never happened.


Maybe it has.

Last night I caught an episode of Gene Simmon’s reality show (Gene is the lead singer of the band KISS).

It was a fascinating episode for many reasons. Gene and his girlfriend of twenty-eight years are the poster children for a hedonistic lifestyle. She was a Playboy centerfold. He made a fortune on rock and roll (and denied himself no pleasure along the way – although he reportedly does not drink.)

The couple has two grown children and now, they are both feeling some emptiness in connection with their lifestyle. They have looks, money, health, family, fame, and status but still

she’s always wanted him to marry her

he’s confessed to having cheated on her repeatedly and lying to her to cover it

their children are deeply affected by his infidelities and deception.

In an attempt to repair their relationship before their wedding, they attended a marriage boot camp.

While I don’t think the camp was run by Christians, their healing came down to some pretty Biblical concepts: confession and forgiveness.

Admit the truth. Face the truth. Forgive so you can move on.

At one point, Gene Simmons, womanizer, mighty rock star, man of great wealth and achievement weeps to realize that while he set out to be different from his father, he is, in fact, just like him.

We’ve all been there (if we haven’t, we’re deluded).

Since the Garden of Eden, each human child has had the task, whether conscious or subconscious, to be better than her parents.

And at some point, we all have to face a moment like Gene, when we admit that on our own efforts, we haven’t succeeded. We come face to face with the forbidden tree and we make the same choice as our grandmother Eve.

We may have chosen a different flavor of the fruit. We may have taken longer to snatch it or ate it with a different method but at some point, we all took a bite.


No one voiced the despair of that moment of realization better than Elijah in I Kings 19: 3-5

“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once, an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”

Elijah, amazing man of God, looks in the mirror and sees the people who came before him, the people he knew he would be better than and knows feels, deeply, his need for a Savior.

Recognizing that is the first step.

The second step is to find the answer provided by God through Jesus.

He is the only way back to the Garden. He is the only antidote to the poison in our DNA, the virus we inherited from Adam and Eve, the defective gene.

Jesus is the cure.

I don’t know what the immediate future holds for the newly married Gene and Shannon Simmons. Confession and forgiveness are powerful actions but even those steps, taken without the power of Christ, will not solve the fact that we resemble the ancestors who blew it. And they had the most perfect setup in the universe.

See your parents mistakes repeated in your own life? Don’t spend time in blame. Forgive them. Confess your own sin. Receive forgiveness and move forward with Jesus.

See your children making the very mistakes you made? Confess your sin before God. Receive forgiveness. Move forward in Christ.

And pray for your child to live a life devoted to Christ because as wonderful as you may have been – YOU CAN’T SAVE YOUR OWN CHILDREN. They still need Jesus because they inherited your spiritual DNA and you can’t parent that out of them.

When you feel despair at your own failings, don’t yield to the temptation to lie down and die. All it means is that you belong to the family of man.

The answer, is to move forward as a child born into the family of God.

Yes, we can have a duel inheritance and one will rise up and overcome the other.

Here’s a hint – Jesus wins.

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    The Conversation

  1. Hey Lori!
    Love this post… I have recently been wrestling with accepting what I have inherited from my mother, and the combination of that with my sin nature. This post was very encouraging as your posts always are! I very much enjoy your writing thank you for deciding to share it. You are making a difference in the lives of many!!

  2. Cheri says:


    Your posts always pack a punch. Beautiful!

    Just surfing around tonight. Needed a break. My dad passed away this past Sunday, and his memorial service is tomorrow.


  3. Morgan, thank you for the encouragement. I completely understand your process!

    Cheri, My thoughts and prayers are with you. It’s never easy to lose a parent. Move forward with God, as always! Lori

  4. Carmen says:

    I so relate to this post. I watch his show once in a while too and I find the human aspect interesting as well, especially since I have a christian counseling background. I’ve known for a while that I’m much like my mom in many ways…some good, some not! It seems the harder you try not to be that way, the more you are! 🙂