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Families Are Dysfunctional...but God - Part A

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January 20, 2021 2:00 am

Families Are Dysfunctional...but God - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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January 20, 2021 2:00 am

One of the most used terms in our culture is dysfunctional. It's a descriptor of flawed and broken people. In the message "Families Are Dysfunctional...but God," Skip shares several truths about relational interaction and family dynamics.

This teaching is from the series ...but God.

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Every family is dysfunctional.

I don't apologize for that statement. I aim to explain it. Every family is dysfunctional. Jacob came from a dysfunctional family and he is now married into another dysfunctional family.

I'm going to show you that in brief in a moment. What you need to see though is God is at work. Skip shows you how God can work mightily in your home no matter what struggles your family faces. But first, we want to share about where you can hear even more uplifting teachings from Skip. Skip the Podcast Network.

Thank you for your donations that make this expansion even possible. It's a joy to see the teaching of God's Word reach even more people. Here are the viewing details for Hillsong and TBN. Catch Connect with Skip Heitzig on the Hillsong Channel on Saturdays at 4.30 p.m. Mountain or watch it on TBN on Sundays at 5.30 a.m. Eastern. Don't miss your chance to dive even deeper into God's Word with Skip.

Now, we're in Genesis chapter 31 as Skip Heitzig starts today's study. Somebody once said that families are a lot like fudge. They're mostly sweet but sprinkled with some nuts. Everybody has that weird uncle or goofy cousin or extravagant aunt. You know, you just never know who's going to be in a family till you meet them. There was once a mother who had a young daughter. The daughter said, Mommy, where did human beings come from? She said, Sweetie, God created Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve had children. They had children and eventually that's how we came here.

Well, she then asked her father the same question. Where do people come from? And he said, Well, a long time ago there were monkeys and they evolved and this is where we came from. We evolved from them. So now this little girl is very confused, goes back to Mom and says, Mom, I don't understand it. You said God created us. Dad says that we evolved from monkeys.

So which is it? And Mom smiled and said, Sweetheart, it's quite simple. Your father was explaining his side of the family and I was explaining my side of the family. You know, you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family.

But you can choose to adjust to your family and you can choose to add positively to your family. There was an old husband and wife had been married for years. They were sitting by the fire. He reached over and took her hand and then he turned toward his wife and had a romantic thought. And he said, After 50 years, I found you tried and true. Well, she couldn't hear very well. Her hearing was going and she said, What?

And he said, After 50 years, I found you tried and true. And a scowl came over her face and she said, Well, after 50 years, I'm tired of you too. There is a common term that has emerged over the last few decades and that is the term dysfunctional. A dysfunctional family.

It was popularized at first in the late 1960s, became very popular in the 70s, mainstream in the 80s, and then continues to be overused since the 90s. A dysfunctional family. And that's a term to describe families that have problems in dealing with one another and problems that follow the kids after they leave the house. However, dysfunction may be more pervasive than you might think.

Playwright George Shaw once said, If other planets are inhabited, then they must be using Earth as their insane asylum. And maybe in hearing that comment, you're thinking, Did he know my family? Now we're looking at Genesis chapter 31. We're going to look in particular at a family that I would say is dysfunctional.

And you'll find out why in a moment. In fact, I would even say you could take Genesis chapter 27 all the way to chapter 33, and call it dysfunction junction, because it is the story of one messed up family. We come to chapter 31, which is the story of Jacob, and his two wives, Rachel and Leah, and his father in law by the name of Laban, and then Laban's sons, all of them are in this story.

There's a little bit of sweet fudge in this family, but you'll see there's a whole lot of nuts. We're in chapter 31. If you don't mind, can I scoot back one verse into chapter 30 just for a little bit of context. Last verse of chapter 30 is verse 43.

Let's begin there. Thus, the man became exceedingly prosperous. The man here is Jacob. Jacob, who is now moved, married, integrated in a new family. Thus, the man Jacob became exceedingly prosperous and had large flocks, female and male servants and camels and donkeys. Now Jacob heard the words of Laban's sons saying, Jacob has taken away all that was our fathers, and from what was our fathers he has acquired all this wealth. And Jacob saw the countenance of Laban and indeed it was not favorable toward him as before. Then the Lord said to Jacob, return to the land of your fathers and to your family and I will be with you. So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field to his flock and said to them, I see your father's countenance that it is not favorable toward me as before, but the God of my father has been with me. And you know that with all my might I have served your father, yet your father has deceived me and changed my wages 10 times. But God did not allow him to hurt me. If he said thus, the speckled shall be your wages, those are speckled animals, then all the flocks bore speckled.

And if he said thus, the streaked shall be your wages, then all the flocks bore streaked. So God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me. What I'd like to do with what we just read is consider it in three levels, beginning with the most basic level, I want to show you three levels of family relational life. So I'm going to make three statements. The most basic, followed by the second, which is God's response to all that, and then the third, which is our response to God's response.

Let's begin with the most basic. Here's the statement. Every family is dysfunctional.

I don't apologize for that statement. I aim to explain it. Every family is dysfunctional. Jacob came from a dysfunctional family and he is now married into another dysfunctional family.

I want to show you that in brief in a moment. What you need to see, though, is God is at work. And I did a little bit of research in this this week, and it seems to be a common thread among those who study this topic, and that is that dysfunctional people have a way of attracting other dysfunctional people.

In fact, one author calls them dysfunctional magnets. So here's Jacob, and here are Laban, and they're like two peas in the dysfunctional pod. It's funny how they even came together and what came out of it. Let's begin with Jacob and his history. Now, Jacob's grandpa was Abraham, right?

You know that. His dad was Isaac. So you have Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.

They sound like heroes. As far as we're concerned, they're Bible heroes. However, grandpa wasn't perfect. Abraham deceived.

He told lies about his wife on two different occasions. He passed that practice, unfortunately, onto his own son, Isaac, who lied about his wife later on. And then you come to Jacob. Now, his father, Isaac, married a woman named Rebecca. So Isaac and Rebecca have two children, Esau and Jacob. When they are born, they're off to a bad start because one parent favors one child, the other parent favors the other child. That's just, that's weird.

That's bad stuff. So dad, Isaac, favors Esau, the firstborn, because he's sort of a man's man. He likes to hunt, bring stuff in, and he likes that. When it comes to Jacob, Jacob is Rebecca's favorite son. The Bible says he was a mild man. That's a Bible way of saying he's a mama's boy.

He stayed home and he cooked. And so they started off poorly. They're playing off one another because of the favoritism of their parents.

Now, let me add something to that. Before they were born, God made a prediction to Isaac about these two boys. He said the older one is going to serve the younger one.

Culturally, that was backwards. Culturally, the firstborn is the one to whom the family blessing goes to. Thus, the secondborn, or the youngest, usually served the oldest.

But God said, not here. The older will serve the younger. Now, Isaac should have said, I'm good with that because it happened to him. He had an older half-brother by the name of Ishmael.

Ishmael was pushed aside. God selected Isaac to be the son of promise. So when God says to Isaac, you're going to have two boys.

The older one's going to serve the younger one. He should have said, I'm good with that. Been there. Done that.

Have the t-shirt. We'll do it again. But rather than that, Isaac tries everything he can to not let that happen. So his wife gets pregnant. There are twins in the womb. At the birth, Esau comes out first. He's the firstborn.

And he comes out with a lot of hair. So they're very inventive in their naming. They call him Harry. That's what Esau means. Harry. So after Harry is born, twin number two comes out of the womb, grabbing onto the heel of Esau.

So again, they're very creative in their naming. They call him heel catcher. That's what Yaakov means. Jacob means supplanter, one who grabs the heel or one who trips somebody else. So picture that little baby coming out of the womb after number one, holding onto the heel as if to say, I want your position. That becomes a metaphor for how they live their life.

Well, when these boys are grown, Esau, the oldest who's been out hunting, comes home and finds Jacob. Guess what he's doing? Cooking. Cooking in the tent. And he's cooking this red chili pozole. And Esau comes in and says, yeee, pozole. Give me some of that stew.

And Jacob, who's quick on his feet, says, you can have a bowl of this red stew under one condition. I want your birthright. Esau says, I could care less about that spiritual stuff. I'm not into that anyway. You can have it.

They shake on it. Years pass. Fast forward several years. Dad is now old. Isaac knows he doesn't have much time. So he calls his son Esau, the firstborn, and says, go out hunting, come back and bring me some good meat. Then I'll give you the family blessing. Just to show you how messed up the family is, Rebecca, the old man's wife, is eavesdropping on the conversation.

In the next section of the tent, beyond the little tent flap, she's listening to this conversation. She takes her favorite son, Jacob, and says, let's deceive dad. Let's steal the blessing. You need to dress up and put some sheep's fur on your skin so he thinks that you're hairy like his brother. He doesn't see well anyway, so come in and lower your voice a little bit and we'll kind of make you smell bad like you've been outside. And then he'll feel you and he'll think that you're your brother. And he'll give you the blessing.

So can you see just how messed up this family is? So he comes in, pretends to be his brother. His father blesses him thinking he's blessing the firstborn.

He takes that blessing to heart and then runs away and gets out of town. So you've got these two boys, Esau and Jacob, complete opposites. Totally different, both flawed, but very different. You've discovered that in having kids, that one child is born and another child is born.

Their personalities are completely different. I heard about a child psychologist that also had twin boys and one boy was pessimistic and one boy was optimistic. And no matter what happened, the pessimist was always down and always negative and always had a bad thing to say.

The optimist was always, life is good, everything's great. So one day this parent, this child psychologist, decided that he would do something different for the next Christmas, which he did. He decided to buy his pessimistic son all the toys, all the games and just load his room up with as much as he could. Maybe that would change things. And he gave to his optimistic son nothing but a pile of horse droppings.

Kind of a cruel experiment, right? Christmas night, he walks into the son who's the pessimist with all the toys around him and the kids crying. Dad says, what's wrong?

You've got all the toys, all the games. He said, man, look at all the manuals I have to read to figure these things out, all the batteries I have to have to make these things work. And he goes, and they're all going to break anyway. He's just crying. He's pessimistic. He goes then into the room of his son, the optimist, and his son, the optimist, is dancing and singing and happy, dancing around the horse manure. And his dad says, what on earth are you so happy about? The little boy said, well, with all this manure, there's got to be a pony in here somewhere.

Just always the optimist. Well, Jacob would be the kid who says, if you've got a pony, I'm stealing it and I'm leaving town. He takes the blessing, gets out of town.

But here's what I want you to see back up for a moment. Once you get out of the intrigue of what the family was really look like, and you look at the Bible as a whole, you understand that Jacob is considered a biblical hero. In the New Testament, he even makes the list in Hebrews chapter 11 of the hall of fame of faithful, godly people.

This is by faith Abraham, by faith Moses, and by faith Jacob, his name is mentioned. So he's a Bible hero, yet he is all messed up and highly dysfunctional. Well, he leaves home, goes east, meets the girl of his dreams. Her name is Rachel. She's gorgeous, and he falls hard for Rachel. Rachel takes Jacob, the deceiver, home to meet her dad named Laban. When Jacob meets Laban, he has met his match. Laban turns out to be a master deceiver. He says, oh, you want my daughter as your wife?

No problem. You just got to work for me for seven years and then she'll be your wife. And then one of the most beautiful romantic passages of the Bible, it says, and those seven years seemed but a day to him because of the love that he had for her.

So he works seven years. Then comes a wedding day, and that wedding night, and that bride is all dressed up, and he thinks it's Rachel, but it's not. Laban, the master deceiver, father-in-law, switches his daughters on Jacob and gives him, not Rachel, the girl he loved, but her sister Leah, the older sister who wasn't as pretty. He wakes up the next day, turns over in the bed and sees it's Leah, and he was like, oh! That's what Laban did.

You say, well, how is that even possible? In those days at weddings, brides were heavily veiled, and the husband didn't really get a good look, except until the next morning. So father-in-law pulls a switcheroo. He's just out deceived the deceiver, and he's goofing around with his own daughters. So he has to work another seven years to get Rachel. Then we come years later to this scene.

Years have passed, two wives later, two more concubine wives later, a whole bunch of kids later. And then verse one, now Jacob heard the words of Laban's sons, so that's his brother-in-law, saying, Jacob has taken away all that was our fathers, and from what was our fathers, he has acquired all this wealth. And Jacob saw that the countenance of Laban, that's the body language. You know how it is when somebody was always looking at you kind of with a nice look, and all of a sudden they look at you with a scowl?

That's what's happening. And indeed, it was not favorable toward him as before. So now you've got these two deceivers. They spent time together. At this point, they can't trust each other, and these false accusations are flying in the family about Jacob. I'm sure that when Jacob left home, when he fled after stealing the blessing, he probably thought, am I glad to be out of that house?

Now I can have a normal life. And yet, he marries into this family, only to discover it's very much the same as his first family. I bring that up because there was an interesting study from Brown University, and the researchers said this, many people hope that once they leave home, they will leave their family and childhood problems behind. However, many find that they experience similar problems as well as similar feelings and relationship patterns long after they have left their own family environment.

And it's easy to answer why that is, because wherever you go, you take you. All that made you, all that formed and shaped you, all of that stuff from your background follows you around until you deal with it. But the greater point is this, all families are dysfunctional.

All of them. Every human on this planet has their own issues. And because every person has their own issues, that will affect the balance of the family that they're in. And it will affect the balance of the family they marry into. They take that with them.

And I bring this up because I've heard this for years. People say, but I'm from a dysfunctional family. And my answer is join the human race. I'm from a dysfunctional family. I conduct a dysfunctional family.

I'm a dysfunctional human being and so are you. We don't function the way God originally intended us to function. And that's because of one little three letter word called what? Sin.

It happened at the fall. Paul said by one man's sin, death entered the world and death through sin and it spread to everyone. We're all affected. So it affects every person. Thus, it affects every family. Every family. Some of you will remember a comedian by the name of George Burns.

He lived to be a long time, but he's no longer with us. George Burns said, happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close knit family in another city. Can we just dispel the myth of the perfect family?

There is not one. We're all broken, flawed individuals. Thus, those are the families.

In fact, let me take it a step further. Even God's family on earth. The church is a dysfunctional family and you're part of it. You say, oh, no, no, no. I'm looking for the perfect church.

You've heard this before. If you find one, don't join it. You'll ruin it.

It doesn't exist. You say, oh, but the early church, they weren't dysfunctional. That's the way. We should get back to be like the early church.

Really? You need to read your Bibles again. Read, in fact, 1 Corinthians and you'll discover Paul is really writing a polemic against all of the problems in that church and how to correct those problems. From not loving each other to abusing spiritual gifts to disorderly conduct at the communion table and at the love feast. All the way to incest in that church congregation that they didn't deal with. That's dysfunctional.

Then Jesus talked about his salvation and redemption and the people who would follow him. He called them poor, broken hearted, captive, blind, oppressed. So we are all broken. We're all dysfunctional people with our own issues. As J.I. Packer wisely put it, we are all invalids in God's hospital.

Every family is dysfunctional. That's Skip Heintzig with a message from the series, But God. Now we want to share about an exciting resource that answers your questions about God as you explore who he truly is. The best biographies make you feel like you personally intimately know the person you've read about. From Mozart to Mother Teresa, Sojourner Truth to Steve Jobs. It's exciting to learn the details of influential people. But one biography stands out above the rest. The biography of God.

Here's the author, Skip Heintzig. There's nothing more elevating to mankind than the study of God himself. Discover the omnipotence, paradoxes and mystery central to God's being and remove the limits you may have placed on who God is. I've noticed that almost every problem that a person has in their life stems from an inadequate view of God. Skip's new book is our thanks when you give $35 or more today to help keep this ministry on the air.

Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. We want to see people come into a relationship with the living God. And the way we get to know him is by knowing his word.

That's why we've made these Bible teachings available anywhere we can. And you can help take the broadcast further to connect more people to the Lord through your partnership. So please call now to give and keep these messages coming to you and others. 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888. Or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate.

That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig talks about the hope your family can find in Christ through any challenge. Here's a family in all of this legacy of dysfunction. But God is speaking.

And here is the obvious point. A dysfunctional family never stopped God from functioning. It never stopped God from working.

Never stopped God from blessing that family and never stopped God from working through that family. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the cross.

Cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection. Connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-01 22:49:00 / 2024-01-01 22:58:14 / 9

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