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The Dysfunctional Family

Introduction: God is the originator of the family. He intended the family to be a positive relationship, Genesis 2.18-25. Some families do not function the way God intended. All families have "issues" and problems but some create their own problems. One man said he thought he came from a dysfunctional family but he found out they were only Irish. Remember watching the Carol Burnett show with a skit of a family playing a board game? They were angry and abusive to the point of it being funny. Unfortunately some families do function improperly and no one is laughing. Alec Baldwin is not the only father to speak hatefully to his child. In this lesson I want to talk about four ways a family might be "dysfunctional."


a. Some families are good at showing love while others are not.

  1. Children need to know their parents love them even when they mess up. (Prodigal Son – Luke 15.18ff)
  2. Husbands and wives need to express their love toward each other. Ephesians 5.28; Titus 2.4
  3. Love is an obligation we have towards each other, Romans 13.8; 1 Corinthians 13.4-8, 13.
  4. Families that do not love
  5. Hold grudges when there is a "perceived" problem
  6. Parents without love will either a) not discipline their children (Hebrews 12.8), or b) discipline in anger (Ephesians 6.4).
  7. When a family member does wrong there is to be a reaction but that reaction should be motivated by a concern and love for that member.
  8. God loves us even when we sin and redeemed us with his son, Romans 5.8
  10.  Some members remember all the wrongs committed
  11. The book "Mommy Dearest" is an example of a child recounting all the wrongs by her parent.
  12. Children, your parents are not perfect, husbands and wives you did not marry the perfect mate.
  13. Does your family seek to find a scapegoat?
  14. Watch out for "You’re no good" "You are always causing problems" etc.
  15. Fact is some people create more problems, one child may be rebellious, and one parents may say the wrong things.
  16. Healthy families seek to solve the problem and give
  17. The Bible’s emphasis is not on blaming but on redemption, 2 Corinthians 5.18-19
  18. Part of getting over a problem is repentance and forgiveness, Luke 17.1ff.
  20. Some families refuse to see a very real problem
  21. A member being an alcoholic, a workaholic, having a drug addict, physical or verbal abuse
  22. Children living in rebellion, immoral behavior
  23. Be careful of excusing everything by saying they are just going through a phase or its really my fault
  24. Must hold family members accountable for what they are doing
  25. Healthy families firmly and compassionately face their problems
  26. Biblical principle in James 2.13.
  27. God does not deny the sin problem, but provides a solution for it, Romans 3.23-26; 4.7,8
    1. A family will be dysfunctional when one of its members expects everything to be perfect.
    2. While we should strive to be perfect we should admit our faults.
    3. Trying to be the "perfect" family can be a terrible burden. (Martha Steward)
    4. Jesus came to set us free from the burden of sin
    1. A congregation is dysfunctional when there is a lack of love among its members
    2. Such love is expressed differently but must be there
    3. ii. Members need to know they are loved them even when they mess up. (Pray for one another, confess)
    4. iii. We are to love even when we may not like what the person is doing, John 13.1b
    5. iv. Signs of lack of love: grudges, lack of discipline or discipline out of anger..
    6. A congregation is dysfunctional when there is an undue emphasis on blaming
    7. i. Common scapegoats – the preacher, elders, deacons, or one particular member
    8. ii. None of us are perfect and we all have room to grow
    9. A local congregation is dysfunctional when it lives in denial
    10. i. When a problem exists it must be faced. 1 Corinthians 5.4,5
    11. ii. False teachers stopped, Titus 1.10-11.
    12. d. A local congregation is dysfunctional when it thinks it is perfect
    13. i. The Westside church of Christ is not perfect due to its imperfect people.
    14. ii. Our focus is on growing, admitting our faults, repenting, and growing more.

Conclusion: If you are not a Christian you have a dysfunctional relationship with your spiritual father. It doesn’t have to be that way. God has acted and through His grace and pleads with you to come home.

D.T. @ Westside Church of Christ 05.13.07

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