Summary: Real-to-life principles on surviving family flaws learned from the example of the very first family.

We’re beginning a new series today called "No Perfect Families Allowed, How God’s Grace Works through Imperfect Relationships."

This series will be based on families in the Bible. No efforts have been made to airbrush the complexions of even of most notable households. God doesn’t attempt to hide the dirty laundry of Bible families.

The Bible also presents the joys of family life, but it just doesn’t present the human condition in the home any different than anywhere else.

Our families have flaws because all humans have flaws. That’s why our church is a "No Perfect People Allowed" church - because there aren’t any perfect people. That means that we’re also a "No Perfect Families Allowed" church.

If you have something about your family that isn’t perfect – join the club. At Pathway we’ve got struggling families, stressed families and good families that are striving to be better – but no perfect families. That needs to be said. We need to go on record with that. People need to be able to come to church without thinking they need to wear masks in order to fit in.

Here’s a video to show you that you’re not the only one with flaws in your life. ("Stained Glass Masquerade" by Casting Crowns, with lyrics in the video.)

We definitely need to close the curtain on the stained glass masquerade at church so that hurting people will know they’re in a safe environment. Turn to someone and say, “I’m not perfect and neither are you.”

Now look up here and say, "You’re not perfect either Brian."

Some of you enjoyed that entirely too much!

If you’ve ever asked yourself if you’re the only one in church “feelin’ so small” the answer is “NO!” We all feel small sometimes. We feel small because we know we’re not perfect and our families aren’t perfect.

So God’s Word addresses this issue because God cares about you. He cares about how you feel. He cares about your family! He doesn’t want you to think that you’re a second-class citizen because you or your family has flaws.

He cares about you if you’re single, divorced, widowed, married with kids or married with no children. He cares about the family flaws you have to face now, the family flaws you endured in the past, and the ones yet to come. God wants to help us handle the abnormal things about our family. I like how one lady put it when she said, “The only thing normal in our family is the knob that says Normal on the clothes dryer.” If you’ve ever felt that way this series is for you.

We begin our series today with the very first family, that household in the Garden of Eden composed of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel. Their story includes a couple of major flaws – but this family survived - so I want to talk to you today about "Surviving Family Flaws."

How do you survive when a spouse walks out on you? How do you survive the rebellion of a child? What about family members with addictions or other self-destructive behaviors? What about living with that family member out of control with his or her spending, or they’re lazy or inconsistent; a father who won’t be a dad or a mother who shuns the responsibilities of mothering? How do you handle these and many other family flaws?

Some of you have felt the pain the family flaw of abuse – verbal, physical, sexual, horrible. Or loss - the premature death of someone you loved dearly, or broken relationships due to irreconcilable differences. How can you survive? God has comforting and encouraging answers in His Word, the Bible!

Concerning the family of Adam and Eve that we’re considering today, let’s get the bad news out of the way first. The bad news about the first family is that we’ve all inherited their genes. We’re all flawed. The Bible says we’ve all sinned because we all inherited their sinful nature. But there’s also good news – news good enough to prevail over the bad news!

It’s good news that trumps every personal and family failure. And this is it: Yes, we’re all flawed – but we’re not flawed beyond hope! With God’s help we can overcome the impact of our flawedness. GOD’S GRACE IS GREATER THAN OUR FAMILY FLAWS!

Our theme for this series is Romans 5:20b (Amp)

"Where sin increased and abounded, grace (God’s unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased and superabounded…"

That gives us hope for our lives and families!

I want you to keep this in mind in this series. We’ll be looking at some very dysfunctional families in the Bible. But no family flaw is too great for God’s grace to bring help and healing.

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