Christian Track: Legacy of Addiction – Nurture, Nature & Genetics in Families

happy little girl and her mother having fun outdoors on the green grass in sunny summer day

Contributor: Ryan Moffat, BS in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. Pastor of Vast Church.

The nature vs. nurture debate has raged through the centuries and no matter where you come out on what has more influence in your life (your nature or nurture) it is undeniable that your both your family of origin (genetics) and your environment are important factors in the way each person develops.

Sins of the Father

What has been amazing to observe the past 10 years working with hundreds of people in pastoral ministry is how many people truly “commit the sins of their father”.

mom-863055_1920Scripture teaches us in Exodus 34:
“The Lord keeps steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

What’s amazing is that the Lord shows love for THOUSANDS of generations for those who love and obey Him but for those who transgress and sin it says; “He will visit the 3rd and 4th generation.”

It seems to me that Scripture seems to teach that there truly is such a thing as “The sin of the father/mother” and that there is real power and influence and “biological dispositions” to certain self-destructive behaviors and tendencies.

I have friends who know that they can never have even a drink of alcohol because they have been raised by parents who were/are raging alcoholics.

They know that because of their biological make-up (nature) combined with the brutal environment they were raised in (nurture) that they must completely starve any possible addiction and choose to live lives of complete abstinence with alcohol and any/all drugs.

New Legacy

These people who are so self-aware and engaged enough in their own family history and propensities are truly heroic as they pursue a new family legacy.

Father and child son stnading on a beach in shallow sea water.That is what is at stake should you be brave enough to look seriously and deeply into your family history.

This work of digging into the past for redemptive purposes is serious work and not for the faint of heart.

BUT the rewards of re-positioning and re-imagining your family legacy for the generations to come is a profoundly valuable gift that you give the coming generation.

To take the time to undo a legacy of addiction, brokenness, pain and destruction and turn it in for a legacy of freedom, health, love and joy is a no-brainer. Will you undo the legacy of addiction?

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are your thoughts on nature versus nurture in relation to addiction? What has been your personal experience?

Ryan Moffat FamilyAbout the Author: Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together. Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR

Addiction Hope is proud to announce the initiation of a special Christian Track of blogs and articles to commemorate the blessing of our sister site, Eating Disorder Hope’s 10th year anniversary. Watch for further content noted as “Christian Track”.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 28, 2015
Published on

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.