Every family is dysfunctional. Every home needs improvement.
I began a series of sermons this past Sunday about the home. I call it “Home Improvement.” I thought I would go through the Bible and discover some principles about having a godly home from some of the Bible families. Guess what I discovered? The families in the Bible are all messed up.
Some of the most ‘screwed up’ family dynamics are recorded in the Bible. Adam and Eve were the first to mess up the family. Then one of their sons killed the other one. Abraham passed his wife off as his sister to keep him safe. He did it twice. His son, Isaac, did the same thing. Isaac’s son, Jacob, married four women. Some of Jacob’s sons sold their own brother into slavery. And this is just the first book of the Bible.
So if you think your family is beyond redemption, think again. If God can do some of His most gracious work through families in the Bible, He can redeem yours. Don’t give up. Every family is dysfunctional.
A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.
The first family I investigated is Hannah’s family. You can read her story in 1 Samuel 1:1-20. Hannah’s family had problems. Her husband, Elkanah, was married to two women. He loved Hannah more than the other. Yet, the less loved had many children and gloated over it. Talk about dysfunction! Maybe you understand. There’s another man or woman or parents or children that you feel you need to compete with in your family. Every family has problems.
But God used this family to bring about Samuel, one of the greatest priests and prophets in the Bible. He anointed the first two kings of Israel – Saul and David.
It’s a little strange that we find comfort in knowing that others have problems. But just because you and everyone else has a dysfunctional family, doesn’t mean we can boast about it or be content with it. We are going to notice that there are some things we can do to improve our home. You don’t have to take major changes. Just make some minor adjustments.
Little adjustments lived consistently make the biggest changes over time.
You don’t have to make major changes in your family. Just small tweaks to what you’re doing. Small improvements are the key to long term changes. We will notice a few things that every family can do.
You are responsible for your life. You can’t keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction.
Don’t let your dysfunction keep you from moving forward. Your family can only change to the degree that you accept responsibility for it. Blaming everybody else is great until you have nobody left around to blame but yourself. Hannah started to blame her husband. I’m sure she blamed the other woman. Ultimately, she blamed God. But in the end, she knew only she could do something about her problem.
When you blame others you give up your power to grow. You will never become who you want to be if you keep blaming everyone else for who you are now. You can’t do everything – but you can do something.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today” – Abraham Lincoln.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt.
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden.
You may not be able to control the noise, but you can control the volume.
Hannah couldn’t control the birth of a child. I’m sure she did everything she could but it was out of her control. But she did what she could. She didn’t let it stop her from doing something. Like Hannah, some things in your family are out of your control. So let them go. Take those to the Lord and allow Him to give you peace in the midst of the storm. Sometimes God calms the storm. But other times He calms His child.
Rather than striving for perfection, pray for direction.
The best thing you can do for your family is pray. That’s what Hannah did. She was desperate and brought her desperation to God. God hears desperate prayers. She quietly took her family problem to God and He listened. Rather than trying to fix your family, try giving your family to God. Yield control of yourself and your family to Him.
God is able to give you the desires of your heart. Ask Him! Trust Him!
God gave Hannah what she wanted – a son. It was a miracle. She did what she could and God did what only He can do – give life. Two Bible passages may help you here:
“You have not because you ask not” – James 4:2
“God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” – Ephesians 3:20
I hope this encourages you to take responsibility for your family and begin to make minor adjustments. Begin now by trusting God to take your family and mold it to be what He wants it to be. He will do some amazing things through you.