Now What?

“There is no one righteous, not even one… All have turned away… there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12

 

God understands parental pain. 

 

Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Isaiah 1:2-3

 

Prodigal trait #1: They generally become increasingly self-centered

Prodigal trait #2: They think that they know all the answers.

Prodigal trait #3: They demand immediate gratification.

 

How do we reach our prodigals?

 

  1. Unwavering prayer.

 

…we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way… Colossians 1:9-10

 

Pray that they’ll have the right friends.  (Proverbs 1:10-15)

Pray that they will get caught if guilty. (Psalm 119:71)

Pray that God will do whatever it takes

 

  1. Unending patience.

 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

 

  1. Unconditional love.

 

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20

 

So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)

Breaking the Dysfunction Cycle

“And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me, he’d grown up just like me—my boy was just like me.” Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin

 

God’s solution for dysfunctional families…

 

  1. Examine the problem.

 

We are all members of a dysfunctional family.

 

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3

 

 

  1. Understand God’s Solution:

 

Jesus’ intervention broke the cycle of dysfunction.

 

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

 

 

  1. Move beyond recovery

 

We need to give away what we now possess.

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8-10

 

Some of the typical behaviours seen in dysfunctional families:

 

Mind-games

  • Pretending to not hear you; moving the conversation the direction that suits them.
    • Completely ignoring you.
    • Walking out of the room when you walk in.
    • Creating allegiances and scapegoats.

 

Emotional blackmail

  • Guilt-trips.
    • Criticisms, blame.
    • Resentment.
    • Blocking opportunities to express emotion.

 

Verbal attacks

  • Direct Accusations (aimed at you).
    • Indirect Accusations (aimed at you via others).

 

Role shifting

  • Forcing sons and daughters into surrogate parent or sibling roles, such as parents looking for approval off children or passing responsibility to children for their issues.
    • Crossing boundaries such as making inappropriate requests, constantly asking for money or sacrificing personal time to fix their problems.
    • Burdening with worries, especially around health.
    • Sharing too much private information, such as confiding about their relationship with your mother or father.
    • Interfering and trying to control situations for example forcing your hand in decisions surrounding career, relationships or life, etc.

Why Won’t You Change?

The greatest problem of all, when it comes to broken relationships, may be the inability to change.

 

Every relationship you have has three levels:

 

  1. Spirit: is the first thing you “touch” in a relationship with another person.

 

  1. Soul: is made up of the intellect, will and emotions

 

  1. Body: if appropriate, a relationship enters the third level with appropriate touch

 

A general rule of thumb is: whatever dishonours another person usually closes their spirit.

 

Five Attitudes to Open a Person’s Spirit…

 

Attitude #1: Become soft & tender with the person.

Attitude #2: Understand what the other person has gone through

Attitude #3: Acknowledge the hurt and admit any wrongdoing

Attitude #4: Use gentle touch

Attitude #5: Seek forgiveness and wait for a reply

Forgiveness means to “release, set free, to untie.”