Summary: Healing the relationships in our homes involves 1. Honest confession. 2. A willingness to stop the things that hurt the other person. 3. Opening our hearts to them once again and allowing them to come in.
In the Scripture reading this morning, we find one of the most dysfunctional families in the Bible. The irony is that it is a family led by one of the most godly men in the Old Testament — King David. David is described as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), and he was. But he was also a man with glaring faults — faults that came with the acquisition of power. Faults that came because he failed to be honest, guard his heart and recognize how destructive these faults were becoming in his life. In his pride and spiritual blindness, he took another man’s wife and had her husband killed. He already had several wives, as was the custom of kings in those days, but he still wanted one more. When his sin was finally exposed, as it always is, it became known to his whole family and had a disastrous impact. His son Amnon imitated his behavior and raped his half-sister — Tamar, the sister of Absalom. David was angry, but did nothing to Amnon, and as a result, Absalom became increasingly bitter. He lived in rebellion against his father. David failed to live as a model for his sons, and he failed to expect moral and ethical behavior from them — perhaps out of guilt for his own moral failure. His parenting style is reflected in the scripture that talks about one of his rebellious sons and says, “His father had never interfered with him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’” (1 Kings 1:6). As a result of his poor parenting and poor example, enormous pain entered the family. Since David did nothing to correct his son’s abhorrent behavior, his son Absalom decided to take matters into his own hands. He killed his brother Amnon. The family was hopelessly divided — the relationships between them desperately sick. All because a man failed to carry his relationship to God over into his relationship with his family. He failed to show honor to his wives, and accepted the ways of the world — after all, this is how kings treat women. He never questioned the culture in which he was raised. He failed to take the time to do the tough job of being a parent. And because of these personal failures, his family was among the walking wounded — even though he saw himself as a man of God.
David’s story is just one among many in his world, and the hurts present in families today are just as real and complex. Hurts happen. They happen in every home. There are issues of power and control, personality differences, finances, different ways of handling children, insecurity, competition, misunderstood feelings and unmet needs, abuse and unfaithfulness. But in spite of some of these very serious hurts, healing can also happen in our homes. However, healing will not happen by ignoring the problems or pretending they do not exist. Healing will not happen if you are unwilling to face the problem and avoid doing the hard work of being honest with yourself about the issues and confronting them.
Let me begin this discussion on healing the hurts in families by asking: “What are the steps to healing our relationship with God?” In our relationship with God there must first be honest confession. Secondly, there must be a willingness to turn from our error. Third, we have to open our hearts for God to come in. The same thing is true in all of our relationships. God’s plan for restoring our relationship with him is a pattern for healing and restoring our relationships with others. Healing the relationships in our homes involves honest confession, a willingness to stop the things that hurt the other person, and opening our hearts to them once again and allowing them to come in.
If the hurts in our homes are going to be healed, first of all: There must be honest confession. You can’t sweep the problem under the rug. You can’t keep blaming the other person. You can’t expect the people in your home to just get over it, so that you don’t have to apologize. You can’t pretend it isn’t there, or that it will just go away. When you are wrong you have to have the courage and maturity to admit it. You can be like David and insist that you have the right to do the things you do, or you can face your illness and be healed.
We talked a few weeks ago about Jesus and the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus asked what seemed like a foolish question: “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6). But Jesus is asking us the same question. Do you want to get well, or do you want to continue to live in your dysfunctional state, because you are afraid of the changes that would be necessary if you were to get well? Do you want to be well, or do you want to be right? If you cannot admit that you are wrong then there is no hope of getting well.