Monday, January 11, 2016

Functional Families

Families are one of God’s greatest gifts to us.  When healthy, there’s nothing better than the relationships we share within our nuclear and extended families.  But when those relationships are dysfunctional, family life can be challenging, frustrating, and deeply hurtful. 

God created a nation from one family, the descendants of Jacob (Israel), but that family was far from perfect.  At times it was quite dysfunctional.  Jacob had two wives and two concubines and it was obvious that he loved Rachel the most.  It was also obvious that Rachel’s firstborn, Joseph, was the pride and joy of his father, while the other sons, though loved, were not shown the same kind of appreciation.  Understandably, this created tension between Joseph and his brothers.  This tension escalated until finally, nine of Joseph’s older brothers wanted to kill him.  However, through the intervention of the oldest, Reuben, who had himself muddied the family waters by sleeping with one of his father's concubines, Joseph was spared death and only sold into slavery.  Jacob's family was about as dysfunctional as a family can be.
But thankfully, years later, the family was reunited.  Joseph had the opportunity to get even, but chose instead to forgive and reconcile.  The fact that this highly dysfunctional family found grace, redemption, and transformation through God’s providential care should give us all hope that no matter how difficult our familial relationships may be, there’s always hope for reconciliation.  But it may mean that like Joseph, it’s up to us to make the first move.  If we are willing to swallow our pride, admit to the sin in our own lives which may have contributed to the tensions in our family, and forgive the hurt that our family members may have caused us, then our relationships within our nuclear and extended families can become all they were created to be.  We can't predict how our family members will react and we can't force anyone to do anything they don't want to do, but the first step always starts with us. - Shay     

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