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Does that scene hit a little too close to home? Have you been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it? Maybe it was a terrible fight between you and your spouse. Maybe it was between you and your child. Maybe it was between you and your parent. You’ve suffered through your own kind of voice raising, slobber-slinging, door slamming fit – or “disagreement.” Perhaps the scene you just saw wasn’t that unlike something that happened in your home this week, and the stress over family problems is digging into your shoulders and wrenching your gut like great evil talons. And it is hard.
But hear this today: you are not alone. In fact, no matter how “good” our families are, I hope we will all agree this morning that none of our families are perfect. In one way or another, we all have imperfect families.
You know how I know that? Because every one of our families is made up of sinners. Our families are not perfect because we are not perfect. None of us here is perfect because none of us is sinless. If you think you are, just ask the person sitting beside you, and they’ll set you straight. It’s true: we all mess up.
Family life is a mess. One writer said, “Where two or three are gathered in one name, there will be spilt milk.”
Several years ago, while I was still living at home, my young nephew John was spending a few days with my parents. We had all sat down to a nice meal and were doing great when all of a sudden John’s milk went everywhere. My dad scolded John for making such a mess, really making a big deal out of it. Mom and I scrambled to clean up the mess, adding our own comments to John. We made it through the rest of that meal. Then the next meal rolled around. Once again, we all sat down to a nice meal and were doing great when all of a sudden iced tea went everywhere. John jumped back from the table screaming, “Not me! Not me!” and Dad turned red. His tea was everywhere. Mom made some comment like, “Hmm, gotta be careful when you fuss.” And we all cleaned up the mess.
Spilt milk happens. Family life is a mess. This is true even for believers. If you want proof, let’s walk quickly through sacred history for a moment and look over the shoulders of the families of the Bible.
We don’t get far in the Bible before we find some sacred families putting the dys in dysfunctional:
+ The jealousy of Adam’s son Cain motivated him to murder his brother Abel.
+ Noah got drunk. So did Lot, and as a result, his daughter’s committed incest with him.
+ Parental favoritism caused Abraham’s grandsons Jacob and Esau to spend most of their lives feuding with one another. Jacob’s two wives bartered with each other for the right to sleep with him at night. Later, when Jacob followed his parent’s example of favoritism, he so embittered his own children that they sold their brother Joseph into slavery.
+ David committed adultery and murder and was guilty of parental neglect. Because of this, his family disintegrated in a tragic sequence of events that included rape, incest and murder. + Even Jesus’ family, which could hardly be described as dysfunctional, had its problems. Jesus was ridiculed by His brothers and called mad by His extended family.
The list is a long and painful one. It includes husbands who were unfaithful to their wives,
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