“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22, AMP)
Legacy. I cannot recall made me think of legacy recently but for several weeks I have considered this concept on and off. Then on Father’s Day, the first portion of Proverbs 13:22, came to mind – “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.”
To think of an inheritance in terms of finances is not an incorrect view but it is a narrow perspective and an incomplete one. It is noted in the Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs 13:22 that, “A good man, by being good and doing good, by honouring the Lord with his substance and spending it in his service, secures it to his posterity; or, if he should not leave them much of this world’s goods, his prayers, his instructions, his good example, will be the best entail, and the promises of the covenant will be an inheritance to his children’s children.”
When I think of my father (and my mother), it is the intangible components of my inheritance for which I am most grateful. Furthermore, I unashamedly hold the view that it is this type of inheritance that has eternal value, and it is the focus of today’s post.
Proverbs 13:22, highlights that leaving an inheritance for his grandchildren is one of the earmarks of a “good man,” but I recognize that every person, regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, or any other demographic, leaves an inheritance or legacy. The question is, “What intangibles are we bequeathing? A strong work ethic or laziness? Deception or integrity? A willingness to forgive or a bent toward holding grudges and difficulty forgiving others and/or yourself? Selfishness or generosity? A legacy of service or an attitude of entitlement? Gratitude or ingratitude? Trust or distrust? A victim mentality (“Everyone always does me wrong?) or the mindset of an overcomer? A legacy that is centered on God or a self-centered one?
There is a saying that, “What crawls in one generation, runs in the other.” This sobering statement emphasizes the importance of recognizing and effectively addressing hurts, unhealthy thinking patterns or behaviors in our own lives, or run the risk of them showing up with stronger roots and a more pervasive nature in our children, in some form.
Is there an experience from your childhood that is still unhealed? Still shaping how you relate to others and/or other choices you make? Subtract the age you were when the wound was inflicted from your current age. It can be sobering to realize the length of time an experience has affected us negatively. If we have children and/or grandchildren, they are also feeling the impact of that unhealed hurt in some way. Even if we do not have children or grandchildren, people in our lives are feeling the impact of that wound. Thankfully, we have a heavenly Father who is able to heal us in every wounded and broken place, no matter how long ago the wound was inflicted or has been infected … if we allow Him to do so. And if we do, in that moment, we can begin to change our todays and the legacy we will leave behind. I pray that we will make this choice repeatedly and often, for however long it takes for us to whole.