A child’s family is the most important group in his/her life. Through family, we build an image of who we are and who God is, whether correct or incorrect. Because we are all sinners, our families all have some level of dysfunction, but God is not dysfunctional. He is wisdom, truth, and always has the correct perspective and a right character.
The four kids of dysfunction:
Hero – super kid, the little parent
Scapegoat – troublemaker
Loner – the quiet one who flies under the radar
Mascot – family or class clown
Today’s message focuses on the child in the family (usually the firstborn) who plays the role of “hero.” The hero child often appears to be very driven and successful on the on the outside, but inside, s/he may experience insecurity and fear of failure.
A. What heroes feel on the inside:
- Hurt, low self-esteem, can never do enough, not good enough, fear of failure, rejection and being
found out, over-controlling to ensure things work out the way they want
- Man’s and God’s acceptance are in jeopardy
B. What heroes look like on the outside:
- The “9-year-old going on 40”
- The “perfect child”
- The super kid/overachiever
- The athlete/prom queen/“A” student
C. What heroes mean to the family:
- They give the family self-worth. This is the child about whom everyone brags. It’s great to be
proud of your children, but a child’s worth cannot be found in his/her actions or
accomplishments. A child has worth simply because s/he is a valuable creation of God.
- They provide proof of good parenting. Sometimes the hero child has pressure to perform in
order to validate that the parents are not bad people. That type of burden shouldn’t be placed
on a child. The child is left feeling that he must succeed in order to give his parents pride and
validation. But children should live for God, not for their parents.
D. As adults without help, heroes can:
- Become workaholics, need to control and manipulate, have trouble admitting wrong, have
trouble saying no, have trouble with failure
- Have addictive behavior because they are so driven
- Achieve “success” on the outside and get positive attention, but are cut off from their inner
emotional life and from their true self
E. If God intervenes to change the hearts of heroes, they can:
- Become very successful
- Learn to say no
- Learn to accept forgiveness, admit wrong and give up control
- Become confident and organized
Peter, a disciple of Jesus, may or may not have been the “hero” child of his own family, but throughout the gospels, he displays behaviors that a hero child would be prone to display. He is compulsive, speaks when he should be silent, acts without thinking, and always has to be first. Here are some passages that display Peter’s “go-getter” personality: Matthew 14:27-29, Mark 8:31-33, Mark 9:5, John 13:4-9, John 18:10, Matthew 26:33-74. By recognizing some of these traits in ourselves, we can adjust our perspectives and behavior to align more closely with a correct view of God and of the value He places on us.
1. God’s acceptance is never in jeopardy. Ephesians 2:8, Psalm 46:10
The only thing you need to do is be authentic and return God’s love as freely as He gives it.
The hero child believes that validation and love of family is in jeopardy, that if she doesn’t achieve, she will not receive. However, according to God, you already have worth and you don’t have to work for acceptance. The only thing you need to do is be authentic and return God’s love as freely as He gives it. God isn’t in the rat race, living up to everyone else’s expectations!
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8
2. Allow yourself to be humanly flawed. 1 John 1:9
You can’t receive forgiveness if you never admit your wrongdoing! God is just waiting to flood you with the cleansing and relief.
3. Practice letting go and not being in control. Hebrews 11:1, Romans 1:17
The hero child is in control and has to make sure that everything works out, lest he be invalidated. But in reality, you can let it go, realizing that God loves you no matter what you accomplish. You can accept the unknown and trust Him.