I guess the answer is … it depends. Physically, you cannot change your DNA. You are who you are ... so where you come from may matter when it comes to understanding why your hair is red, or why you love bitter foods. I took one of those DNA tests and found out I am 99.8% European. 68.2% British-Irish and 31% French-German and .2% Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean. I also found out that I have a variant that makes me tolerate bitterness more than others and that I am less likely to have a unibrow. Good thing!
Every person in my family tree has a story to tell, a story of struggle, of faith or fear, a dream or a dissaster. In many ways, I wish I could hear their stories, their dreams, their struggles. What I do know about my family is that they were the hardworking lower middle class. My dad’s dad was a barber and before that, a migrant worker picking apples in the orchards of Washington state. My mom’s dad was a career military man. Both my grandmothers passed at fairly young ages: one of cancer and one from suicide. Before that, I do not know much other than names and places like Oklahoma, Virginia and Mississippi.
But as much as their lives are unknown, I am thankful to be here where I am because God has brought me to this place. If there is a heritage, a lineage, a genealogy that is more important than my physical family tree … it is my spiritual family tree. When I read Matthew 1:1-17, I realize that the genealogy of Jesus is my spiritual genealogy as well. It is the line of promise and fullfilment ... and it is your spiritual family tree as well.
Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. Matthew 1:2-16
When you and I come to Christ, we come to the family of God, as sons and daughters, heirs to the Kingdom.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:1-2
Spiritually, it does not matter our DNA, our birthplace, the people who made us, their stories, good or bad. No matter what is in the past, Jesus came to graft you and I into His family and to give us a family tree of the faithful, imperfect people who have all experienced His saving and sustaining grace. That is our present and our future!
Take some time to thank God for your family past, those who brought you into this world. Now, thank God for your spiritual family, those you know you and see you as a brother and sister in Christ. Maybe thank God for those who shared the saving gospel of Jesus Christ with you. I am thankful that you know Jesus and that we are in the family of God ... together!