Organizing the Inside 365 Days

Empowering Christian Women To Get Organized and Discover God's Plan for Their Lives

Archive for January 28, 2012

Organizing the Inside – Day 147 My Dysfunctional Family

34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. ~Matthew 10:34-39

I honestly have never met a family that was perfectly functional.
I just don’t believe I have. I’m sure there may be one out there; I just haven’t met them yet. Most every family has someone, either a parent, a child, or Uncle Bill who made getting along difficult, for everyone else. Perhaps you have an auntie who always seems to mind everyone else’s business or tries to buy favor with her lavish gift giving. Maybe there is a cousin who usually brings huge drama along with her latest, barely there malfunctioning wardrobe to every family gathering. Whatever the case, whether it’s alcoholism, substance abuse, immoral, illicit or illegal activities which some family members are participating in, we have the responsibility of loving them with the love of Christ.

Loving and participating are two separate things.
I know many Christians feel like I once did, that no matter what kind of foolishness my family might be involved in, they’re still my family and I need to attend every family activity. These family gathering always were filled with someone creating drama by pulling a predictable, yet slightly different performance from our last gathering. I justified my choice to attend, with scriptures about how Jesus hung out with the tax collectors. I realize now that my way of thinking was somewhat flawed. Since then I’ve learned that it is far more meaningful to pray for opportunities to minister to those family members God would have me to minster to; on a one-on-one basis, or in a slightly more controlled environment can be far more effective. Along the way I’ve come to realize that I am called to be a witness, and I’m not called to be the savior of my people. This simple revelation freed me from experiencing guilt; on those occasions I declined an invitation to join another family event.

Putting family before God will surely send you down the wrong path.
God expects us to love our family. Nevertheless God still wants first place ranking in our lives whether our family members are saved, have a form of godliness or are just downright ungodly. He also wants us to witness to help bring those who don’t know Him to Christ. There are however, times when one has to choose. Yes choose, whether the stress, pressure and pain that is sometimes caused by being around dysfunctional family members is what God would have us to do. We can love them and pray about the right, appointed opportunities to minister to them. Maybe you’re thinking I love my family and I can’t stop being close to them.  I am by no means suggesting you kick your family to the curb nor am I saying you should stop being around them. I am however suggesting you take a look at those relationships that are stressful, ineffective and bringing you down. I believe God has the wisdom to guide us in what to do about our conflicting relationships with family. I’m only suggesting (one considers making what might be a tough choice for some) putting God first and not choosing your relationships with family over your relationship with the Lord.

This isn’t about legalism; this is about serving God with purpose on purpose.
There are those of us who put family and friends (that are as close as family) before God. We don’t want to offend, break years of tradition or ruffle anyone’s feathers, so we make the choice to continue to do what we’ve always done. When it comes to parents, honoring your parents was the first commandment that included a promise. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:12 Honoring your parents, no matter what they think of your Christianity is nonnegotiable, if you intend to obey the commandments of God. What that honor looks like is also between you and God. The dynamics of having a good solid relationship with family members who, either aren’t Christians, or aren’t very loving, or even perhaps are abusive is something God will give you wisdom about.  If you and I put God first, we do well, and the law is fulfilled in our hearts.  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5

The Word of God is clear; Jesus came to bring a sword.