Many of Jesus’ dysfunctional family members received restoration and were released from the chains that bounded 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 are going to be able to 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 some incident that happens in our lives that suddenly makes us realize what our real problem is. Because it is important to realize what the real problem is and to know how to pray. 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). It may be essential that you 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 a privileged intelligence in the field of electricity, an intelligence very few have had. He built big generators for Henry Ford at his first factory in Dearborn, Michigan. One day these generators presented a malfunction and the factory had to stop.
They brought ordinary and other types of mechanics, but there was no way to start the generators. They were losing a lot of money. Then, Ford called Steinmetz. This genius got to the place and started fixing the generators for hours and then flipped 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 freely expressed in order to resolve emotional traumas that you have not resolved yet.
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 counselor, 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, then 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 pleased to listen to her intently. In the end, she told me: after telling my story, I feel that Jesus is carrying for me 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 notice 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 in the eyes of God and David the mercy he needed in order to move forward, and he was able to leave the traumas of his past behind so that he could have 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 big that He sent His son so that he could be born in the middle of dysfunctional families with the mission of carrying on his own body the traumas, pain, insomnia, wounds and dysfunctional behaviors of the human family 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.