The other day I was exploring a video posted by Pete Scazzero from Emotionally Healthy Discipleship on the genogram. Basically, a genogram is like a family tree of dysfunction. You trace out your family tree in order to discern behavioral patterns and beliefs that have influenced your personal dysfunction and destructive behaviors and attitudes. Scazzero is clear to make out that this practice is about taking personal responsibility rather than assigning blame. We are all products of our upbringing, but as maturing followers of Christ, it is our job to move forward and become more like Jesus.
Through the course of the video, Scazzero shared this thought provoking image of what he calls “unbiblical family commandments.” Like the Ten Commandments God gave the people of Israel in Exodus, these are ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that families pass on from parent to child. Sometimes we do this intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. Either way, these unbiblical commandments take root as the child grows. Part of maturing in Christ is learning to replace these lies with the truth.
To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list, but merely a discussion starter. You could probably come up with others that were passed down in your family. The point is that as we grow in knowledge, love, and obedience to Jesus Christ, we need to intentionally assess everything we think and believe to see if it aligns with our new identity in Christ. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5.
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ . . .”2 Corinthians 10:5 English Standard Version
Whether you research and develop a genogram on your own or whether you just prayerfully meditate on your childhood, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions:
What unbiblical commandments did you learn as a child?
What biblical truths should replace those lies?