Summary: Jesus can handle the most difficult member in your family through His transforming ministry.
When a physician remarked on a new patient's extraordinarily ruddy complexion, he said, "High blood pressure, Doc. It comes from my family." "Your mother's side or your father's," I asked? "Neither," he replied, “it's from my wife's family." "Oh, come now," I said. "How could your wife's family give you high blood pressure?" He sighed. "You oughta meet 'em sometime, Doc!"
Perhaps some of you have difficult family members you have to deal with from time to time. Perhaps it is an in-law that is tough to be around or an aunt or uncle who is difficult to get along with. If I were to ask you, “Who is the most difficult member in your family?” immediately, someone will likely come to mind.
How do you respond to that person? Do you isolate yourself from them? Refuse to speak to them? Are you embarrassed by them? Could the person you see as being the most difficult member in your family actually become an opportunity to minister the loving presence of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Every Christian should make loving their family priority, even those who are a bit rough around the edges. If this seems impossible right now to you, don’t panic. Thankfully the Bible gives us three stances to take as we deal with our most difficult family members.
I. Stay On Guard Against The Enemy’s Assault On Our Families
Satan is on the attack today and one of his main goals is to destroy the family. Spiritual warfare is real. Look around and you will find that that Christians are divorcing at a higher rate than non Christians. Our teenagers are departing from the Christian faith at an alarming rate as soon as they graduate from high school. Our children are being taught as soon as they enter school that there is no absolute truth they can stand on in life.
We must learn to put on the armor God has provided and wage war against the lies of the enemy. Satan knows that if a family is united on the Word of God and grounded through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they are a major threat to his demonic kingdom.
What is Satan’s game plan to destroy the family?
A. Satan Seeks to Blind Us (from knowing God)
2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe.”
Two boys were walking home from Sunday school after hearing a strong sermon on the devil. One said to the other, "What do you think about all this Satan stuff?" The other boy replied, "Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It's probably just your dad."
With masterful deception, Satan blinds and deceives people into thinking that life is all about money, advancement, fame and fortune rather than knowing Jesus and advancing His kingdom.
As much as Satan wants to blind your family from Jesus, much more God wants them in His family! God’s commission to Paul in Acts 26:18, “…to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified through faith in Me.”
B. Satan Seeks To Bind Us Through Shackles of Defeat and Discouragement
A defeated, disillusioned family is no real threat to Satan’s domain. Just as this poor, demon possessed man was in awful shape in the totality of his life, Satan lives to keep our families from experiencing new life in the Lord Jesus Christ! In Luke 8:29 we read, “For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles.”
One thing the enemy wants us to do is become discouraged and hopeless about our families. He wants us to believe the worst about our families instead of being excited about becoming a stronger family in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every family (even the most committed to Christ) faces its share of difficult issues to overcome. Recently Lifeway Christian Resources found the “Top 10 issues facing families today.” Here is that list:
#1. Anti-Christian culture; #2. Divorce; #3. Busyness; #4. Absent father figure;#5. Lack of discipline; #6. Financial pressures; #7. Lack of communication; #8. Negative media influences;#9. Balance of work and family;#10. Materialism.
Satan brings shackles – Jesus wants your family in freedom! Luke 14:18-19
C. Satan Seeks To Break Us Apart
This man was an outcast in the family. This was a mother’s son and a daddy’s boy. The Bible doesn’t tell us how he got into the kind of shape that he was in, but it does tell us this man had been troubled by demons “for a long time…And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.” Luke 8:27