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
These are the four roles in a family which children often assume. Today, Pastor Miles focused on the “scapegoat” of the family – the child who always seems to be in trouble. This is often the second child of the family, seeing that the first child is the “hero,” s/he grows weary of not measuring up to the standards set by the first child and begins to act out.
If you are like the scapegoat child, be encouraged that God has a powerful plan for you.
Today’s parallel Bible passage from Mark 5 is about a demon-possessed person. (This does not imply that dysfunctional children are demon-possessed, but rather the self-destructive behavior of this person is similar to that displayed by that of a “scapegoat” child.) If you are like the scapegoat child, be encouraged that God has a powerful plan for you. God is in the life-transforming business!
A. What the scapegoat looks like on the outside:
- Hostility, defiance, withdrawn, troublemaker
- Gets negative attention
B. What the scapegoat feels on the inside:
- Hurt, abandonment, anger, rejection
- Feels totally inadequate
- Low self-worth
- Doesn’t fit in. Black sheep
- I am unlovable
C. What the scapegoat means to the family:
- They express hurt and anger for the family
- They are kid whom everyone wishes was better
- They unify a family around solving a problem
- They become the blame or scapegoat for the family's drama
D. As an adult, without help:
- Alcoholic, addict, legal and/or criminal trouble
E. What the scapegoat can become:
- Has courage and is good under pressure
- Can help others and takes risks
1. Believe what God believes about you.
The devil would have you believe you are not good, unlovable, unworthy, and nothing but trouble. But God has a very different view of you. He loves you! (Mark 5:18)
What has God done for you? Don’t forget about His good deeds in your life. Take stock and reach out to tell others!
2. Seek out and/or develop God-honoring environments.
Dwell in places that honor God!
The demon-possessed man believed what the demons told him, so he ended up living in the tombs, surrounded by death. Think about what surrounds you each day: conversations, attitudes of friends, music, TV shows, the cleanliness of your car, living space, etc. If you are surrounded by garbage all day, that’s what you are going to think about.
God is a god of order, so He created us to need order in our lives as well. If you clean up your house, organize yourself, make your bed in the morning, brush your teeth, and take care of the things in your environment, you will begin to think differently. Try it for a week and see what happens.
3. Exchange bad habits with good habits.
Try some simple good habits and watch the benefit. Read your Bible every day. Pray every day. Instead of cutting yourself, bind yourself up. Instead of crying in the tombs, cry out to God. Instead of listening to garbage, listen to truth. Instead of hanging out with people who run from God, hang out with people who seek God.
Instead of hanging out with people who run from God, hang out with people who seek God.
You may have bigger issues internally, but take baby steps toward change. Start by laying your daily life down at Jesus’ feet, and experience the same peace, forgiveness, and cleansing that Jesus gave to the man in the Bible.