In this series Family of Origin, we are learning about how our natural families and upbringings affect the way we view and relate to God and how we can use that information to be better followers of Christ.
Some families have a family business, trade, or skill set that they pass on from generation to generation. But what is God’s family business? The Bible explains that God establishes and works through families to establish His will and glorify Himself on the earth. He has done this from the beginning of time!
- On the sixth day of creation,
God created the family and gave them dominion over all the other creatures
of the earth (Genesis 1: 26-27).
- When God sends a flood to
destroy the earth, he reestablishes the earth through one faithful family
- In Genesis 12:2-3, God calls
Abraham to take his family to a promised land, where he intends to
make them a great nation.
- God establishes the twelve tribes of Israel through one family (the twelve sons of Jacob).
- In Matthew 1, God shares
the genealogy of Jesus, because it is important that we understand that Jesus is from the same family as
Abraham and David.
- In Mark 6, Jesus says that His “mother and brothers” are those who do the will of the Father.
- In John 3, Jesus explains that one cannot be a child of God unless
s/he is born again of the spirit, to have God as a parent.
- Over 60 times in the New Testament, the apostle Paul refers to his “brethren” or “the family of God.”
Clearly, family is an important biblical theme. Experiences in our earthly families can hinder or enhance our ability to obey our heavenly Father. But Jesus says that obeying the Father is important; it should be our lifestyle, something that we work to improve day by day. A believer of Jesus Christ seeks to follow Him and understand Him better and better.
Today Pastor Miles touched on two types of families:
- In an open family, the rules are open for discussion. Children can express disagreement to the
rules without fear of rejection of punishment. Rules don’t favor one person or another,
but are for the good of the family and everyone has an equal say. It is safe for the kids to take risks,
try new things, express their thoughts. Everyone supports and encourages one another. There is a leader who makes the last
decision, but everyone is valued and their opinions mean something. Each person is free to express all his/her
feelings and grows up with a healthy sense of identity and what his/her
interests are, because there is freedom to explore and create.
- A closed family is the opposite. The rules of the family are focused on one person. (i.e. We’re going to protect our alcoholic dad, abusive mom, or some secret in the family.) Everyone is made to adjust what s/he really would like to say and do in order to protect the secret. The relationships are co-dependent and dysfunctional, as no one is free to express him/herself without punishment or rejection. Instead, one must be careful to say what will be accepted. This creates a skewed perspective of self, and one learns not to disagree because bad things will happen as a result. Sometimes the rules can even change without notice, so that the outcome can yield a praise or punishment, and the person is left with uncertainty as to how to behave.
God wants to chip away at the dysfunction and get to the real us.
Most people in the world come from a closed family background, mild or severe. So when we come to church together, imagine all the dysfunction we bring to the table! We don’t want to have dysfunction in the church. This doesn’t mean we are perfect, but that we need to learn to deal with it in a healthy way. God wants to chip away at the dysfunction and get to the real us. It’s a hard process and it can be scary, but it is necessary for real and deep relationships.
1. Develop relationships based on a covenant not a contract. John 15:13
This is a crucial concept, especially in marriage. We normally treat people in a way that seems fair; you do something nice, so I do something nice. But this is not a covenant relationship. Jesus loves us no matter what we do. He experienced rejection, cruelty, and the penalty of sin, yet he continues to love - and He calls us to do the same. This is not based on the treatment we receive from others. It is based on the covenant of love. Marriages and Christian relationships in general cannot survive any other way.
2. Speak truth in love, without fearing rejection. Ephesians 4:15
In some families,you are not free to speak the truth without severe consequences, but it is not so with God. Don’t gossip behind people’s backs; rather, talk directly to them (Matthew 18). This is difficult, but imagine how much less drama there would be!
Instead of judging someone and talking about him/her, just go and speak with him/her in love. Show a person the correction to help him/her, out of love and concern for the person.
3. Bear one another’s burdens. Galatians 6:1-6
If you come from a dysfunctional earthly family, God wants to break you out of that to give you health and wholeness in a spiritual family.
Imagine if you could come to church knowing you would find another person support and assist you. It’s not practical for a pastor to provide for your needs, but for brothers and sisters in the church to bear one another’s burdens. This is our church family.
If you come from a dysfunctional earthly family, God wants to break you out of that to give you health and wholeness in a spiritual family. Let God begin to break down your walls!