Many of Jesus’ dysfunctional family members received restoration and were released from the chains that bound them to their past. What was the secret of men like Abraham, Jacob, and David?
The secret was the following:
- To recognize the dysfunctional traits the family carries
It is good to look at our families with objective eyes, acknowledging the positive and negative aspects. We will probably find that our family has traits of dysfunction in some aspects. By recognizing those traits, we can focus on working to improve them, and eventually overcome them in order to be happy individuals in functional families.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you
Paul says that we often do not know how to pray the way we should (Rom. 8:26). But, the Holy Spirit prays in us and through us, and intercedes for us. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit uses temporary help in the form of a human counselor, who can help us see what the real problem is. Other times, the Spirit can do it through the Word of God or through an incident that makes us realize what our real problem is. James reminds us that sometimes we do not receive what we ask for because we pray in order to get what we should not get (James 4:3). You may need to seek a counselor, a pastor, or a friend’s help. Then, together, you can ask the Holy Spirit to show you what your real need is.
Do you remember Henry Ford and Charlie Steinmetz’s story? Steinmetz was a very short man. He was also ugly and deformed, but he had privileged knowledge in the field of electricity, knowledge very few had. He built big generators for Henry Ford at his first factory in Dearborn, Michigan. One day, the generators malfunctioned and the factory had to stop.
They brought other mechanics, but there was no way to start the generators. They were losing a lot of money. Then, Ford called Steinmetz. This genius arrived and spend hours fixing the generators. He then fflipped the switch and got the great Ford’s factory up and running again.
A few days later, Henry Ford received a bill Steinmetz sent him for a total amount of $10,000. Although Ford was a wealthy man, he sent the bill back to Steinmetz with a note: “Charlie, isn’t that a little too big for having manipulated the engines for a couple of hours?” Steinmetz sent the bill back to Ford, but this time it said: “For handling things in the engines: $100, for knowing what to touch: $9,900, Total: $10,000”. Henry Ford paid the bill.
The Holy Spirit knows what needs to be manipulated. We do not know what to ask the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we do not receive because we do not know what to ask.
- Tell your story
Telling our stories is a powerful act if we want to heal our emotional traumas. This act is the basis of recovery in therapeutic groups, in individual therapy, and counseling. When we tell our story, we talk about what is important, significant, confusing, conflicting, and painful in our lives. We take risks, we interact and we discover, but mainly, we listen to other people’s stories and we realize we are not the only ones. But, the most powerful thing about sharing ours is that we hear our own story, and it turns out differently than what we had imagined.
When you tell your story, you are rewriting the family script your parents implanted in you. But, this time, those dysfunctional behaviors are replaced by functional ones. Those emotions that you did not express before because you were afraid of being mistreated or misunderstood are now expressed freely to resolve emotional traumas.
Not everyone deserves to hear your story. It is best to sit and talk with a Christian professional counselor. If you do not know any counselors, then talk to someone you trust, to whom you can tell your problem and who will empathize with you. And, even if it is not easy for you, you can write your story and read it to yourself.
A woman came to me at the end of a sermon to tell me her story. I was happy to listen to her intently. In the end, she told me, “After telling my story, I feel that Jesus is carrying the burden that I have carried for over 60 years.”
Forgiveness is a determining factor for happiness and emotional stability. When we do not forgive others, we carry resentment, hate, and wounds that will last a lifetime, even if we decide to ignore them. The Bible teaches us that we must forgive in the same way that God forgives us.
In dysfunctional families, the lack of forgiveness often gives room for wounds that undermine interpersonal relationships and destroy the family structure.
5. Surrender to God’s grace
If we read Mephibosheth’s story in 2 Samuel 4, we can see that he was King Saul’s grandson and Jonathan’s son. His life was marked by his grandfather’s mistakes, by misfortune and events that inflicted physical and emotional wounds on him. But, despite these adversities, Mephibosheth managed to obtain the mercy he needed to move forward in the eyes of God and David, and he was able to leave the traumas of his past behind for a new life, a new future.
There are many stories in the Bible like Mephibosheth’s, which were part of Jesus’ genealogy. Dysfunctional homes and families, from which, in the future, the Savior of the world would emerge. And, today, I understand why Luke and Matthew presented Jesus’ genealogy and mentioned the dysfunctional families he had in his family tree. They say: God’s love for His creatures is so great that He sent His son so that he could be born in the middle of dysfunctional families with the mission of carrying the traumas, pain, insomnia, wounds and dysfunctional behaviors of the human family on his own body and nail them to the cross.
Dear friend who is reading these lines today, I invite you to follow these steps that will help you break the family patterns that have marked your life and undermined your own family and interpersonal relationships. God can transform your story into a blessing and well-being. Seek Him first and make the decision to transform your life, your home, and your dysfunctional family into functionality and happiness.