This week is a hard hitting message about how to overcome dysfunction in your family. How do you bring light into those dark places? So, buckle up and prepare to find some hope. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’ll do our best to connect you with someone that can help you find healing.Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (harmonychurch.cc/give). Got kids? Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly) https://www.harmonychurch.cc/harmony-kids-online/!
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I just need to give a disclaimer up front, this sermon is going to be heavy.
I’ll try and have some reprieve, but it’s a heavy topic… and want you to be prepared if this hits hard, it’s ok…
OPENING ILLUSTRATION: I’ll never forget being in 3rd grade, writing in my journal, hoping someone would read it and realizing later that no one had. The night before, I had watched my brother – who I later learned was on drugs – get into a fight with my dad. My dad wasn’t a violent man, as a matter of fact, this was such an uncharacteristic moment in my family that it really messed with me for years. My brother was angry about something and had smashed a hole in the sheet rock – like a huge hole. My dad came after him challenging him on why he had reacted like that – I later found out my dad had told him you’re not a man till you can take me – which was something my grandpa had evidently told my dad (the only difference was, my grandpa had been a boxer…) All of the sudden, before I really know what happening – my brother swung at my dad. My mom was crying, holding my little sister, I was terrified and yelling for them to stop. My dad kind of tackled my brother onto the bed – my brother had some dumbbells on the bed and he grabbed it and cracked my dad on the ear- which started gushing with blood. My dad penned him to the bed and banged his head into the wall and asked him if he was ready to stop.
How’s that for a start to a sermon. told you it would be heavy.
My family was really a pretty normal family – for us that was one isolated incident (by the way, my brother is a great guy now – so there’s hope 🙂
But I need to set off to the side and just talk to you today,
Since that point in time, unfortunately, I’ve gone on to experience a lot more disfunction and be on the front row to experience and see it.
Jenni and I did foster care and have had children through our home that have lived through unimaginable pain before even turning 5 years old…Some of you know what that’s like. For some of you, dysfunction wasn’t an anomaly, dysfunction was the norm
You grew up in a family that was abusive or where you were abandoned or devastated by what someone did to you
The reality is, all relationships have some level of dysfunction to them. b It’s really just a matter of scale.
Today, I want to take you into a families dysfunction from scripture – I want to make some observations and then give you some encouragement and hope, if I can.
AMNON, ABSALOM & TAMAR. Take David for instance – David was the guy that God chose as King because he was “a man after God’s own heart”
David has an affair, murders the husband of the woman he takes. because of this, his family falls apart. It’s terrible stuff – turn your stomach stuff. His son takes advantage of his daughter – incestiously. David is silent over it other than being furious – he does nothing. Her other brother kills the brother who took advantage of her and then he tries to take David’s throne. That son is killed and David’s family is left torn apart and broken.
This is just sickening stuff
This is David’s dysfunctional family
David’s world seemed to be crumbling around him, and to be honest – he doesn’t seem to know what to do…
Some of you know what that’s like. you know what it’s like to be at a complete loss, so…What can you do to Stand in the Gap for your family?
The apostle Paul lived in a time that was full of dysfunction. The abuse of children – specifically young boys was common place. There were abuses upon abuses and there was no “psychology” trying to help people learn to deal with their dysfunction, and into this world, Paul writes these words:
Ephesians 5:8-16 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
ILLUSTRATION: My experience with families, and
If Doctor Phil has taught us anything – it’s that the darker the secret b The greater the length families will go to hide it.
this is where Paul’s advice is so key…
Paul’s advice is to expose the darkness to the light b But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
I think one of the problems for David is that he had a heart for God but tended towards hiding his dysfunction.-hide the affair-hide the murder-be angry about your daughter, but do nothing-be angry at your son for his murder, but do nothing
Paul’s advice is to expose the darkness to the light.
Disclaimer: now let me be VERY clear here. I understand that what I am advocating for – if not handled well – could explode your family relationships.
So, let me give you some (two) Helpful hints for exposing darkness to light.
First, seek out wise counsel to both find healing personally, and get perspective and advice
-if you are in an abusive family for instance – your best option is not to start reading scripture to your abuser. You need to bring light into that scenario, but you need to be wise
Jesus tells His disciples this in Matthew 10:16 16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
He’s saying, be as cunning as Satan, but as innocent as a sweet little dove…
Just because something’s the right thing to do, doesn’t mean it should be done in a dumb way
Be wise, get counsel – see a Christian therapist
Second helpful hint. Standing in the Gap starts with you.
I can’t promise you will change anything in your family – but you can let the pain and dysfunction end with you.
Literally, you can put the stop to it in your family line.
Expose the darkness you’ve gone through to light. Find someone safe to confess to who can pray for you and walk with you into healing…James 5:16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
ILLUSTRATION:I flew on an airplane recently and they did the spiel about if the cabin looses pressure to put the mask on yourself first and then help your children or whoever.
It is incredibly difficult to help hurting people when you are hurting yourself. b Focus on finding healing so you can eventually help others find healing
CLOSING: One of my favorite parts of that passage from Ephesians about light is where Paul says and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. See, your temptation to hide what is bad about you, what is messed up only keeps the glory of God from shining. I’m not saying be foolish with it. Know your audience. But Jesus didn’t die because you were perfect – He knew all of your dysfunction and still chose to die for you – and He knows that when His light shines on you – you will sparkle like a diamond, even though right now you feel like a piece of coal.
Why not give your life to Jesus and see if He’s worth it… If He can’t take your worst moment and turn it into your greatest turn around story ever.