Is Your Identity Tied to Family History?

family togetherThe family line is a common source of false identity.

Our forebears have usually established traditions, attitudes, and approved patterns of behavior, passing them down through the generations.

This is generally a good thing. God meant for it to be a source of stability and strength. That’s one reason why there are so many “begats” in the Old Testament. The Hebrews were expected to know where they came from. They needed to understand if a punishment or reward resulted from someone’s behavior, and whether that behavior was in obedience or rebellion to God.

When a child learns to take pride in what the family stands for, that knowledge is a guide to appropriate behavior.

Strong moral fiber is often associated with an honored family name. All is well unless a person constructs a false identity from it. If that happens, it can become a source of fear. It can lead to judging self and others for not measuring up or for “doing it wrong.” That false identity can develop into an unhealthy fear of God’s wrath or it can lead a person to feel that God Himself is pleased or displeased with her or even with the entire family.colonial soldier

Repeated immorality or criminal behavior in a family line can also lead to false and even destructive identities. It’s not unusual for a descendent of a murderer or robber to feel like they are cursed with the family lineage and that there is no way out for them.

I enjoy watching the television show “Blue Bloods.” It’s the story of a tight-knit family whose generations are filled with police officers. Rather than glorifying and enforcing the tradition, they accept and appreciate it but still allow for individual choices. Each family member has choosing a path, making a decisionhis or her own identity, whether as police officers or not. The program, in my opinion, illustrates the truth that we are responsible for following God’s leading individually, according to His calling for our lives, and that the family is responsible for encouraging that to happen.

Family history can be a source of pride or shame, or anything in between, but it should not be allowed to be a source of identity.

That has to come from the One who made each of us.


this is part 4 of a series on identity


Part 1| Who Do You Think You Are?

Part 2| Did Your Parents Dictate Your Identity?

Part 3| Did Your Cultural or Religious Upbringing Dictate Your Identity?

Part 4|Is Your Identity Tied to Family History?

Part 5| Is Your True Identity Submerged by Your Important Life Roles?

Part 6| Is a Career Becoming Your Identity?

Part 7|Calling, Role, or Identity? Ways to Know the Difference

Part 8| Lies Cause the Strongest False Identities

Part 9| Speak the Truth to Your Identity


All illustrations courtesy of