There was once a show that all of America would enjoy watching when people had a deeper pleasure in the Family. The story was about a man named Mike Brady, an architect widower with three sons: oldest Greg, middle son Peter and youngest Bobby. He meets and marries a widow, Carol, with three daughters of her own: oldest Marcia, middle girl Jan, and little Cindy. Throw in a wacky maid named Alice, move them all into a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in the Los Angeles suburbs and watch the antics unfold -- as this shiny happy "conglomerate family" deals with boy problems, sharing bathrooms (ones without a toilet, no less), lost hamsters, the occasional football to the nose and attempts at pop music stardom. Many of us remember singing about this family even now in reruns
Here's the story of a lovely lady, Who was bringing up three very lovely girls.
All of them had hair of gold, like their mother, The youngest one in curls.
It's the story of a man named Brady, Who was busy with three boys of his own.
They were four men living all together, Yet they were all alone.
Till that one day when the lady met this fellow, And they knew that it was much more than a hunch.
That this group would somehow form a family, That's the way we all became the Brady Bunch.
The Brady Bunch, The Brady Bunch. That's the way we became the Brady Bunch.
Now this 1970’s show was very misleading from some stand point. They made it seem like an easy transition of dealing with a blended family. By blended I am speaking of everyone not being the biological makeup of a particular household. However it was not easy in that it was always something: Boys against girls, girls against boys, Brothers against Sisters, Sisters against brothers, brothers against brothers, sisters against sisters, Older kids verses the younger, younger against older, kids against parents, and parents against kids, husband against wife and wife against husband, Then the poor old maid who dated the butcher often didn’t know whose side to be on. A term came along to describe the non-traditional home which we now know that term as a dysfunctional. That could be a situation where it stems from divorce, death, taking in an older family, adoption, foster-parenting and or where the child (ren) came before the couple. Now some of you may say We aren’t dysfunctional well if you aren’t dysfunctional socially I want you to wait until the end of this lesson and see if you are still functional all the way around.
I. What does it means to be dysfunctional
The term "dysfunctional" has been used and abused so much over the years that it is hard to define. In order to define a dysfunctional house, one must first know what a functional or healthy house is. While there is a lot of difference in what is normal for families, there are some common traits found in families that are considered to be healthy and other traits found in families experiencing excessive stress and problems which can lead to "dysfunctional" behavior. I simply mean they aren’t as effective as they possibly could be, either for themselves or God. Without taking cultural, economic, or social consideration into account, the following information highlights some common traits of healthy families and warning signs that a family may be under too much stress and in danger of becoming "dysfunctional." In Proverbs we see it takes wisdom to build a house Proverbs 24:3 “Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: 4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” In our main text we find that The Lord builds the house you are setting your self up for failure. In other words if your family isn’t following God’s pattern it labors in vain. So we go on to read how the children are a heritage from the Lord so we have to do our best with and for children.
II. So let me first share a couple of Characteristics of Healthy House
1. The family is open to others from outside of the immediate family system.
2. They allow outsiders to enter the system and members are allowed to go outside of the system for help when needed.
3. Parents set clear generational boundaries.
4. Parents assume the role of primary caregivers and children are secure in their role as siblings, children and individuals.
5. The family recognizes that stressful situations are inevitable and temporary. 6. They recognize that stress can be positive if handled appropriately.
7. The family works together to minimize stress. They focus on their strengths as a family and as individuals.
8. The family works together to find solutions to problems. Their energy is focused on solutions, not blame.
9. Family members focus on what is controllable. They make the best of situations over which they have little or no control.
10. The family develops and revises rules to deal effectively with day to day life. 11. When they are under stress they work together to revise existing rules and evaluates the results.
12. Family members recognize that decisions and routines are flexible. Rigid rules and expectations are challenged as a family.
13. Family members feel empowered as a result of effectively dealing with stress. 14. They see challenges as opportunities rather than roadblocks.
15. Family members recognize the difference between the symptoms of stress and the sources of the stress. They address the source of the stress.
III. Areas that some would say your family is dysfunctional
When your Finances are tore up from the floor up, Dealing with Bebe’s children, Insufficient couple time, Lack of shared responsibility for household upkeep, Inability to communicate with children, Insufficient time for self, Guilt for not accomplishing more, Couple/relationship issues, Insufficient family play time, Over-scheduled family calendar, Parent/Child role reversal, Resentment toward the person with the problem, Develop fear of becoming close to others, Fear of losing a primary caregiver, Discount feelings and needs or other in the house, Irrational belief systems, A Mental Illness, An Addiction To Legal or Illegal Drugs, Overly Rigid Religious Beliefs, Couples with different religious beliefs, An Abusive Spouse, An Abusive Parent, A Physical Disability, An Emotional or Behavioral Problem, Responsibility For an Aging Parent, An Infant/toddler, An Adolescent, An Adult Children Living at Home, Multiple unresolved losses (real, symbolic or perceived) Many families aren't working together well. Instead of building each other up, they tear apart. There is much dissatisfaction and stress. Unresolved problems often end up in abuse or divorce. So the psychologist and sociologist of our day have come with the term dysfunctional. Church let me tell you these things ain’t nothing new - many families in Bible were dysfunctional if this is the case.
1) Adam - sons murdered each other.
2) Noah - sons dishonored him.
3) Lot - daughters were promiscuous.
4) Eli - sons were religious swindlers.
5) David - sons plotted to kill him (and each other).
One of the worst problems a family can face is that of addictions and the way we handle them. All kind of addictions tear up families. The addict's destructive behavior is denied or minimized. Alcoholism, Sex, Financial, drug abuse and even work and career addictions (This is where the person is just consumed with success and neglect their ability to really function the way God would have you function). These are all real danger to families. Either hidden from view or covered with social acceptance. They are socially acceptable - until your drunk kid wraps car around tree, Until lil’ Suzy come up pregnant at 16, Until Tommy wants to start dressing like a girl just because he has money to spare, Until Dad who is trying to climb the corporate ladder and starts seeing his secretary, and mom is always at the mechanics shop because the money at home ain’t what it used to be. Family members may actually assist the addiction. “Well I let him drink at home that way I know he is home safe”, “Well I let her boyfriend stay over here at least I can keep an eye on them.” These are only crippling cop outs.
When families go down this road and aren’t open and honest. Rigid boundaries are formed concerning communication outside the family. Feelings of anger, shame, fear, and sadness are hidden. Families form a web of behavior patterns, so when addict seeks change, they may resist it. In many cases the addiction is a known, the change in the person is an unknown. These patterns shape our future generations. These addictions can often leads to violence, or the opposite - isolation.
So many in our church and even society would say that "Couldn't happen to me or my house...". but I hear Paul in the far distance warning us in 1 Corinthians 10:12 “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he falls” and then Someone may say well I will never leave my husband for a unscriptural reason, or I can manage taking in another kid that’s my own, you might have a brother saying I been married to Sister Snodgrass for 37 years and there is no way I would even look at another woman, I will always be faithful, but again in Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” That’s why we as Christians have to be careful not to judge people externally without understanding their circumstances and what trials they have been to. "If there are drugs available on the other side of street, your daughter might run over you to get them." She’s the same Daughter that was in treatment center, while you are raising her kids were raising grandkids.
Christians have stood against alcohol & drugs. Prohibition a "noble experiment" that failed back in the 30’s, But tragedy is still there. Instead of substance high, get high on Spirit. Eph 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
In a world were violence is glamorized and physical abuse shows whether or not you are da man or da lady is becoming more and more popular. It is an unspoken tragedy, but common even in Christian families. Sometime people want to justify it as stern discipline to the children or enforcement of submission by a spouse. Many women and men have had to be forced into a corrupt form of submission to point of death. While God’s plan is that the husband love his wife as himself, he is to nourish and cherish her. If not it affects many their entire life. It gets so to the point where people are insecure with themselves; and crave attention from all the wrong type of people. Then you have the children mimicking this behavior. The Bible warns against physical abuse in Malachi 2:16 “ For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”
The idea of sexual abuse and Sexual sin is one many think is something only of the mad rapist on the street, or the child predator that moved into the neighborhood commit. This is often the hardest to talk about, but most prevalent. It lingers in memories and poisons life years later. Offenders often feel intense guilt, but feel compelled to act. Bible describes forbidden relationships in Leviticus 18. We as children of God are to keep ourselves pure and out of situations that would cause us to stumble. Even in marriages Paul warns us, as he does that were at Corinth couple to be careful not to deprive one another without consent so that Satan wouldn’t tempt them.
Then in some families the roles are reversed: Children function as adults, becoming caretakers. Adults behave like children. Church this results in an inability to make choices without first focusing on what others want or demand. But Children and Parents are given instructuctions on how parents are to rear their children and children are to be obedient. Some women want to wear the pants in the family. Now that’s not a literal expression. I am just saying they want to be the head. Parents, especially fathers, you need to exercise the authority and discipline God the Father has bestowed upon you. If your children are dressed for success in Satan’s cause, it is your fault. If they live in your house, take a stand. They may kick and scream, but it’s up to you to set the standard in your household.
Parents need to teach their tender offspring the value of purity and honor. The greatest gift you can give your daughter is the self-respect of not needing to rely upon her curls and curves to achieve the great milestones in life. Actively teach her that she can instead rely upon the majesty of her heavenly Father (1 Pet. 2:9), the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5), and the humility of Mary (Lk. 1:38). Those traits will last much longer, even into eternity.
Young men need to be told, tuck in your shirts and show some dignity. Act like Timothy, not like p-Diddy or whoever is the big-shot rapper of the day. .
Young ladies, the way you dress does matter. Please, put on some decent clothes. You may not contract an STD or get pregnant, but avoiding those results are pretty good reasons to live pure and wholesome lives.
If those aren’t good enough reasons, at least dress modestly for the sake of those around you. There are men who will be weakened by your display. And if you don’t care about them, at least have the dignity and self-respect to not advertise yourself as a cheap sex object.
And if you are a victim of divorce or a broken home God still loves you he can still use you in the work of the kingdom. Maybe your spouse is not in the church, or she or he is just not faithful God can use you, he can make a way out of no way to bring your loved one into the Ark of Safety. If you are a widow God can use you, God can and does work in the lives of those who put their trust in him. All to often the church forgets about these people because somehow or another something in life happened that caused them to loose the one they thought they would love their whole life, either through death or divorce. Whatever your situation is God can see you through it. All hope is not lost. You may be sitting their saying but brother Bender you just don’t know I have lost everything through Divorce and I did all I could and me and the kids are barely making it. Well then you might say I’m in a blended family and we are just having problems. So many times people feel like they were not successful because of Divorce. God only requires that you give him your best. Don’t beat yourself up even if you were the catalyst to the failure. We serve a gracious God if you repent.
The problem is sin, sin is a basic self-centeredness, an attitude that contaminates every relationship, including our relationship with God. This deeper attitude leads to all the thoughts and actions we call sin. "Sin is the universal addiction to self that develops when individuals put themselves in the center of their personal world in a way that leads to abuse of others and self, regardless of the will of God. Sin causes sinners to seek instant gratification, to be first, and to get more than their share - now." That’s why even when we used to watch the Brady bunch there were problems that certain behaviors have certain consequences. You know it is funny to see how some people can be in the same family and yet treat non family members better. I grew up where family looked out for family. If you wanted to mess with me you had to mess with the rest of my family. Now though you have brothers pitted against brothers and sisters pitted against sisters. The Bible talks about how we should love God, but questions how we could love him when we don’t love each other.
IV. How to break the downward cycle.
Individuals can change but they have to have God’s intervention. Paul declares that in 2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” And if is one is in Christ he is warned not to continue in Sin according to Romans 6:1-4. This is what the Bible calls repentance. While the existence of the addiction is not something we can control, we do control how we respond to it. See I may never banish all of the crack cocaine but how I respond to it is another story. At the point we are powerless, God gives grace. To many of our so called Christian brothers and sisters often minimize our ability to change. The "disease model" of addiction removes personal responsibility. Sin is more than a disease - it is a human problem with physical, emotional and social dimensions. It is hard for people to change - almost impossible -but with God miracles are possible. 1 Cor 6:9-11
Not only can individuals be agents of change, but whole families can be agents of change. All of us need help to change. There are 12 step groups and model of healing fellowship. These people addictions which are sin is something that is acknowledged in a caring atmosphere. Families can bring about healing - or ignore problems. You must decide if it is better to cope, or risk real change and possible disintegration. Understanding must be gained of dynamics, and new
patterns of behavior established. (Tough) compassion is needed as much as confrontation. There is humility in healing. Psalm 51:16-17 “God desires a broken and contrite heart.” Salvation by grace is the beginning of a long road. We are still broken people, living in the land of the broken. God's healing can take a lifetime. But it has to start now.
NOW IF YOU CAN UNDERSTAND SOME POINTS THAT CAUSES OUR HOMES TO BE DYSFUNCTIONAL. You won’t have any problem understanding Paul had to tell people in his day about behaving themselves in the house of God which is the church of the Living God (1 Timothy 3:15). Just as much as God requires order in the family home he requires order in his church family that is why he told Titus in Titus 1:5 to organize the church concerning those things that were lacking and appoint elders. In fact God gave in the first century Apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers for the edification of the body of Christ.
So if we want to be effective we have a structure that God would have us utilize in order to be effective. Just as much as we should understand God commands us to worship according to the New Testament Pattern he wants us to show the kind of Love towards one another.
We got people claiming to be our brothers and sisters showing discord and lack of love and forgiveness, some just outright being evil or wicked towards one another. We need to stop denying that there are problems in our families and in our church families by taking on the responsibility for encouraging openess! That’s what Paul had to say to in Ephesians 4:25 states, “SO PUT AWAY ALL FALSEHOOD AND TELL YOUR NEIGHBOR THE TRUTH, FOR WE ARE ALL MEMBERS OF ONE BODY.”
Don’t we say that we love each other? Don’t we say that we love God? When we pray, don’t we pray to Our Father?? Yes we know that we are different, yet, we are all the children of God...many members, but one body! So we must be responsible for each other and encourage each other. Not be judgmental...not put our foot on another brother or sister to keep them down!!!!! Let somebody else know how good God has been to you. Tell them how He brought you out of a sinful situation and saved you by His grace and by His mercy! Tell somebody the truth!!! There were two sisters in Christ at odds with each other in Philippians 4 Paul commanded them to be of the same mind in the Lord, and encouraged the members to help them because their names were written in the book of life.
You see after we learn to be honest with each other, then and only then can we have the diligence to make a difference in each other’s lives!! Don’t you realize that when you are able to help another, you are as well helping yourself?? ( I’m still talking about How Can We Heal A Dysfunctional House ???!!!)
Here is another tip on trying to Heal A Dysfunctional House is found in the BOOK OF JAMES 5:13-16 which emphasizes the power of prayer and concern for the congregation.....
James 5:”13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”