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  • Lea Hartline

Breaking Free: Unraveling Generational Chains of Anger and Finding Healing

Colossians 3:8 - "But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Breaking the Chains that create generational curses.

In 1643 John Hicks, husband of Harwood, was accused of being violent with his wife. He appeared in court on March 1644, he was ordered to pay a 10-pound bond for beating his wife. 325 years later, John's 10th great-grandson would take the life of his beautiful wife in a violent outburst. The power of family chains is hard to break. Addiction, Abuse, Chaos, anger, and broken families follow from generation to generation until someone decides enough is enough and breaks those chains.

Anger is the personal chain that has held me back from my best life for years and years. I was Angry because no one in my family was like me. I spent much of my adult life feeling isolated and unwanted by my sisters. I was often accused of not being willing to accept my family for who they were when, in reality, I wanted family so bad that I almost felt pressured to be like them. I can't tell you the number of times I almost picked up what they were smoking or drinking so that they would accept me as one of theirs. That pressure to be loved was intense for me. I spent much of my childhood separated from my sisters and with not much family. I craved family to the point when I couldn't make it work; I just went with anger. Anger because I felt to be accepted, I had to mold myself differently and become something I was not to make them love me. Anger because I wanted something built fast that takes time. Anger because I felt unlovable even as I built a fantastic family with an incredible husband.

My anger is the one thing that has most impacted my relationship with my family. Much more than their chains or choices. Recently, I went to see my sister after she had surgery. I dreaded the trip but felt obligated, and I wanted to mend the broken relationships. I had seen that my willingness to hold on to a grudge was as bad as many drugs in destroying families. I had spent one Sunday on my knees at Church on the Hill in Dalton, Georgia, wrestling with God over my angry heart. I gave God all my anger and left it on the altar. I was broken because I was addicted to the anger. I had grabbed it and held grudges. Ready for a fight at every turn. During a trip to see one of my sister, my son talked to me as he drove me to her house.

Him: Mom, don't be the jerk.

Me: What? I am not the jerk. She is always looking for a fight. It's not me. Don't you remember that awful thing she said to me after your dad died?

Him: Mom, don't be the jerk.

Me: Sigh. Am I really the jerk?

Him: Mom, yes. She says things wrong, but you are always ready to fight and correct her. Don't be the jerk. She just had surgery and needs her big sister to don't be the jerk.

His words echoed through my head. It was the BEST visit, and I am so glad I did it. I had no idea I would be back only a few weeks later as she said goodbye to her daughter. Because of my son's reminder, "Don't be the jerk." I felt I knew better how to try and be there for my sister in her grief. I had to remind myself, "Don't be the jerk".

I had dropped my anger at the altar only a few weeks before we lost my niece unexpectedly. One thing about grief is that it can pick up the anger on the way to the funeral home. Had I still been holding on to all my childhood trauma anger, my sisters don't love me anger, my husband is dead anger, I would have been a chaotic mess at my niece's funeral. I would have been selfish because anger makes you selfish. I would have been unkind and generally a big jerk. I wouldn't have seen the beauty of everyone coming together to mourn my niece and hold up her mother and brothers.

I wouldn't have noticed 4 sisters who had not been in the same location in over 30 years hugging and holding each other up. I would have missed my parents talking in over 40 years. I wouldn't have noticed how much I love my other mom, my dad's wife. I wouldn't have seen the beauty in how my sister did everything she could in grief to honor her daughter. I wouldn't have noticed siblings and cousins watching out for each other.

Anger would have made me miss all that, and I will not pick up the anger again. It is as much a part of my family legacy as addiction, abuse, and abandonment.

Was there some anger for me after my niece died? Yes. there always is anger in grief. But daily, when I think of the unfairness of losing someone so young, I just focus on, "Don't be the jerk," and give the anger to God.

Bible Verses:

Praying verses over our lives.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV): "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."

Proverbs 15:1 (NIV): "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

James 1:19-20 (NIV): "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."

These verses emphasize the importance of managing and addressing anger in a constructive and God-honoring way. They encourage us to be slow to anger, quick to listen, and to seek resolution without harboring bitterness or giving room for destructive emotions.

Journal Prompt: Take a moment to reflect on a time when anger or another challenging emotion may have hindered your relationships or personal growth. How might letting go of this emotion bring you closer to the freedom and peace you seek? Write down your thoughts and feelings, and consider what steps you can take to break free from this emotional chain. Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I come before you with a humble heart, acknowledging the weight of generational chains that have bound my family for far too long. Lord, I recognize that these legacies have caused pain, hurt, and have hindered us from experiencing the fullness of the life You have intended for us.

Today, I boldly stand before You, seeking Your divine intervention to break these chains that have held us captive for generations. Grant me the strength to confront the patterns of anger, addiction, and brokenness that have woven themselves into our story.

Lord, give me the wisdom to recognize these patterns and the courage to step out in faith to change them. Help me to be an agent of transformation, breaking free from the destructive cycles that have plagued my family for too long.

I know that this journey will not be easy, and I may face resistance along the way. But I trust in Your promise that with You, all things are possible. Empower me with Your Spirit, guide me, and provide me with the necessary tools to navigate this path of healing and restoration.

Fill me with Your love, Lord, so that I may extend grace and forgiveness to myself and to those who have been a part of these patterns. Help me to let go of bitterness and resentment, replacing them with compassion and understanding.

I surrender my burdens to You, knowing that You are the ultimate source of freedom and healing. As I break these chains, may Your light shine brightly through me, illuminating a path of hope and redemption for future generations.

In Jesus' name, I pray.


Summary: In the journey of breaking free from generational chains, we embark on a path of courage, faith, and transformation. As we confront the patterns of anger, addiction, and brokenness, we discover the power within us to rewrite our family's story.

It's not an easy journey, and there may be challenges along the way. But with God's strength and guidance, we can overcome. We let go of bitterness and resentment, replacing them with compassion and understanding.

Through this process, we not only free ourselves but pave the way for future generations to walk in a different light. We become beacons of hope and redemption, showing that it is possible to break free from the chains that once bound us.

Remember, you have the power to change your family's legacy. Take that step towards healing, seek support, and embrace the path of transformation. For in doing so, you not only heal yourself but leave a legacy of strength, love, and freedom for those who come after you.

May God's grace be with you on this journey. Amen.

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