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Summary: . Many families aren’t working together well. 1) Instead of building each other up, they tear apart. 2) Much dissatisfaction and stress. 3) Unresolved problems often end up in abuse or divorce.

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1 Samuel 2:22-34

IS YOUR FAMILY PROBLEMATIC?

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I. What it means to be dysfunctional.

A. Many families aren’t working together well.

1) Instead of building each other up, they tear apart.

2) Much dissatisfaction and stress.

3) Unresolved problems often end up in abuse or divorce.

B. Nothing new - many families in Bible were dysfunctional.

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).

C. The worst problems a family can face are addictions and the

way we handle to them.

II. Addictions that tear up families.

A. Alcohol & drug abuse.

1) Real danger to families.

a) Either hidden from view or covered with social acceptance.

b) Socially acceptable - until kid wraps car around tree.

c) Often leads to violence, or the opposite - isolation.

2) LIFE magazine pictorial:

a) "Couldn’t happen to MY kid..."

b) Counselor:

"If there are drugs available on the other side of

you, your daughter will run over you to get them."

c) Daughter was in treatment center, they were raising

grandkids.

3) Christians have stood against alcohol & drugs.

a) Prohibition a "noble experiment" that failed.

b) But tragedy is still there.

c) Instead of substance high, get high on Spirit. Eph 5:18

B. Physical abuse.

1) Unspoken tragedy, but common even in Christian families.

a) Justified as stern discipline or enforcement of submission.

b) Many women have submitted to point of death.

2) Affects many their entire life.

a) Insecurity, craving attention.

b) Mimicking behavior.

3) Bible warns against physical abuse. Malachi 2:16

C. Sexual sin and abuse.

1) Hardest to talk about, but most prevalent.

2) It lingers in memories and poisons life years later.

3) Offenders often feel intense guilt, but feel compelled to act.

4) Bible describes forbidden relationships. Leviticus 18

III. Codependency.

A. Patterns of coping in addictive families. (alcoholism)

1) The addict’s destructive behavior is denied or minimized.

a) Family members may actually assist the addiction.

b) There is a strong "rescue" tendency.

2) Rigid boundaries are formed concerning communication outside

the family.

3) Feelings of anger, shame, fear, and sadness are hidden.

Counselor Claudia Black’s summary of the rules:

"Don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel."

4) Roles are reversed:

a) Children function as adults, becoming caretakers.

b) Adults behave like children.

c) Results in an inability to make choices without first

focusing on what others want or demand.

d) This is the essence of "co dependency."

5) Some believe 96% of us are co dependent.

a) Everyone related to an alcoholic, abuser, etc.

b) Probably oversimplified.

B. Families form a web of behavior patterns, so when addict

seeks change, they may resist it.

1) Addiction is a known, change is an unknown.

2) These patterns shape our future generations.

IV. The ultimate addiction.

A. Co dependency sounds a lot like the Christian definition of sin.

1) Sin is more than specific acts. Romans 1

2) It is a basic self-centeredness, an attitude that colors

every relationship, including our relationship with God.

3) This deeper attitude leads to all the thoughts and actions

we call sin.

B. Summary by J. Keith Miller:

"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.

Sin causes sinners to seek instant gratification, to be first,

and to get more than their share - now."

C. These learned behaviors are passed on generation to generation.

1) The sins of the fathers pass on. Exod 20:5-6

2) The goal of recovery groups and Christianity are the same:

healthy human behaviors that work.

3) Certain behaviors have certain consequences; there are

certain laws.

4) Recovery is about learning these laws, and moving into a

right relationship with God.

V. How to break the downward cycle.

A. Individuals can change. 2 Cor 5:17

1) This is what the Bible calls repentance.

a) While the existence of the addiction is not something we

can control, we do control how we respond to it.

b) At the point we are powerless, God gives grace.

2) Self-help groups often minimize our ability to change.

a) The "disease model" of addiction removes personal

responsibility.

b) Sin is more than a disease - it is a human problem with

physical, emotional and social dimensions.

c) It is hard for people to change - almost impossible -

but with God miracles are possible. 1 Cor 6:9-11

B. Families can be agents of change.

1) Most of us need help to change.

a) 12 step groups and model of healing fellowship.

b) Sin is acknowledged in a caring atmosphere.

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