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Your Family: Root, Stem, And Branches – 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
June 11, 2024 1:00 am

Your Family: Root, Stem, And Branches – 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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June 11, 2024 1:00 am

Everyone is born into a family network. But what if we’re in a family system that is broken like King David’s? In this message, Pastor Lutzer offers five inner resources that enable us to both walk through and rise above the brokenness of any family situation. Let’s deal with unresolved matters before it’s too late.

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Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer

Hi, this is Pastor Lutzer. Let me ask you a question.

Have you been blessed by running to win? Recently, we received a very interesting proposal. One of our listeners has pledged up to $25,000 for those who contribute to this ministry for the first time. Now, this only lasts until the end of June.

Would you take advantage of this opportunity of doubling your gift? Here's what you do. forward slash matching.

That's forward slash matching, or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Let's resolve to learn from the mistakes of an otherwise great man and deal with unresolved matters long before they explode. Today, how to do just that. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, some say time heals all wounds. But this is not always true, is it? David, it's true that it is not always true that time heals all wounds.

As I like to emphasize, if you've been wounded, you will probably remember it for the rest of your life. But I want to go back to something else that you said in the intro. You talked about reconciliation. And I like to emphasize that there are some situations in which reconciliation is impossible. After all, there are a lot of impossible people out there.

And we should work toward reconciliation, but sometimes it can't happen. How difficult it is for us to see our sin. But I want to speak to all the parents and grandparents who have prodigal children.

They were raised in church, they memorized all the verses, they went to Christian camps, maybe even Christian schools, and then they have walked away from the faith. There's so much that we can learn from the father of the prodigal. I include some of that material in a book I'm holding entitled A Practical Guide for Praying Parents. By the way, one of the things that the father of the prodigal did not do is that he did not go into the pigsty, so to speak, to try to even rescue his child.

He knew that grace will never become sweet until sin becomes bitter. I believe that this book will be a great blessing. It'll be a guide for how to pray for your children.

At the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be giving you some info as to how this resource can be yours. Time itself does not heal family wounds. Time itself does not heal family wounds.

It would have been easy for David to say, well, Absalom has been gone five years. Surely I can just kind of forget about what happened five years ago. Time heals none of those wounds, whether it's five years, 10 years, 15 years, unresolved matters continue to have consequences, not only in one generation, but also in another generation. They just boomerang and everyone is affected and it just lies there unresolved, undealt with, and time heals nothing. If somebody mistreated you, think of Tamar. How long would it take Tamar to forget what Amnon had done to her? She lives with it until her dying day. I've been to funerals where there are family splits, family disagreements. Have you ever been there when you can just feel the tension when one group of family members want to come to the wake at a different time than the other hoping that they won't meet?

Because now they have to somehow be connected in some way, but nobody wants to deal with all the underlying issues that may be 10 years old, 20 years old or 50 years old because time really heals nothing. There's a third lesson and it is so obvious. I read it this morning and thought, how profound, how profound. Whatever is broken should be fixed. Boy, that really took a huge amount of wisdom.

I thought about that for a long time. Whatever is broken should be fixed. Now, every member of the family has a part to play. David was broken. David was able to fix himself in God's presence, but he was unable to fix his family members, probably because he never dealt with it as a family. He dealt with it with God, but he refused to deal with it within the family structure. So David couldn't fix it. The wives, I'm sure, weren't able to fix it.

Maybe they tried, tried to exercise some kind of control and discipline over children that were clearly out of control. But for the most part, David's family wasn't fixed. His other son Adonijah, rebellious boy. The Bible says that David never, never contradicted him, never got involved in his life.

But I'm speaking about you now. What about your family structure? Some member of the family has to do something, has to do something.

You can't just continue to quietly keep these secrets, play the different roles, and pretend that everything is okay, when in point of fact it is not okay at all. It is severely broken. Somebody has to actually do something. Maybe to ask forgiveness, maybe to bring people together, maybe to seek a counselor. Something has to happen. But I speak to you today. Maybe you're a child. You say, well, how am I going to fix mom and dad?

The answer is probably you won't be able to. In counseling, I have frequently told children, God will never hold you accountable for doing a bad job of rearing your parents. Children, you probably cannot fix mom and dad. But there are certain things that you can do to fix yourself. You always begin there.

Fix yourself. And you can begin, first of all, by establishing some boundaries. Now let me tell you about some parents and some, some of these systems that we're talking about, family systems, some of which have somebody who's very evil in the family. And they are going to want to exercise control over you. They are going to find ways to manipulate you, to put guilt on you, to put responsibility on you. And what they're anxious for is that you will always come under their sphere of influence and be just as dysfunctional as they are. That is the goal of some parents and some members of the family.

They hate it because you seem to be healthy. Let me tell you a true story. A woman was dying, an angry, evil, bitter woman was dying. And her daughter cared for her over a period of months, putting up with all of the anger that was spewing from her mother's mouth. And do you know what her mother's final word was before she died? She said to her daughter, I shall speak to you from the grave.

Wow. So the mother dies. They open the will and they discover that her considerable fortune was given in the will to one grandchild. Nobody got anything else, not the people who cared for her, not other members of the family, just one grandchild. And then it was put in in the will in such a way that this kid couldn't inherit all the money and then say, hey, I want to be fair, I'm going to distribute it to other family members. The executors needed to oversee to make sure that no other member of the family got any of those funds. What that woman knew is that she was setting up a series of circumstances that for years and years and years would continue to breed division and hostility in the family.

And she did speak from the grave. A message of hatred and a message of destruction. So what do you do if you're in a family system that's broke and you can't fix it? Fix your self. Do not allow other people to destroy you for the rest of your life because they are destroyers.

You put in place certain boundaries. That's a whole separate subject. Let me suggest also you develop healthy relationships outside of your family. You may discover that there are actually some people who are pretty normal out there someplace. Maybe you can't find them within your family, but they do exist. Find them.

Spend time with them. Make sure that you have a mirror that that enables you to see reality from a different perspective and to be in places where you know that things can be different. You do not have to live the way your family expects you to live. You can rise above the dysfunction that is taking place within your home. And obviously what you need to do is to develop an independent relationship with God that is so satisfying that you can keep your sanity in the midst of all of this stuff that's going on that's never dealt with.

Remember the woman at the well? Jesus went to her and said, now I know that you've got five husbands or you had five husbands and the person that you're living with now is not your husband. May I say that dysfunctional families are nothing new.

Blended families are nothing new. Just look at David and the mess in that family. But Jesus said to a woman who could not look to a husband for any sense of affirmation or control or any sense of support.

She had had such a bad history with men. Jesus said, if you believe on me, you will find that within you there will be a well of living water springing up into everlasting life. You have inner resources that even your failed marriages cannot take from you. There's an independence that the blessed Holy Spirit of God can give us. And I encourage you develop that deep relationship with God, a satisfying relationship with God that says just because my family is this way. There is something more important to even, and that is that God grants me inner resources to put up with and to even benefit from all the dysfunction that is around me. So that's the third point. Whatever is broken should be fixed. Fourth, rejoice in God's grace.

Look at how far we've come. The first lesson was that families are interrelated. Secondly, time itself does not heal family wounds.

Third, whatever is broken should be fixed. Fourth, rejoice in the fact that God's grace is seen even in the midst of brokenness. We can see that in David's family. Isn't it gracious to think that God allowed David to write so much of the Bible that has blessed so many millions of people? I mean, that certainly was a mark of grace, despite the fact that he clearly failed as a father. God is very, very gracious. He allows us to be blessed even in the midst of failure. That doesn't get David off the hook by any means, but what it does is show that it's not as if everything is all one way or the other way, either all right or all wrong.

In the midst of dysfunction, God gives grace. And then there's also grace in the life of Solomon. Now, strictly speaking, Solomon should not have been born because he is David's second child with Bathsheba, a woman that David should have never married.

So we can say, Solomon, you know, you're not really supposed to be here, you know. I mean, you're a result because David stole your mother from somebody else and had the guy murdered in the process. So, but there's Solomon and the Bible says, and Solomon was born and the Lord loved him and God even blessed Solomon for David's sake. And by the way, David had a closer relationship with Solomon very clearly than he did with his other children. Now, here you have some sons who turn out badly and here's a son who ends up writing much of the scripture as well, many of the chapters of the book of Proverbs, one of the wisest men who ever lived and one of Israel's greatest kings was Solomon. And you look at that and you say, amazing, coming from a family network that is as confused as David's was, that certainly is grace.

And may I say that that is grace. Here's what you find. Sometimes you have a family system that is severely broken.

Two or three members of that system go into all kinds of bizarre behavior and they act out everything that the family was. But oftentimes what you find is that there is that grand exception, that grand exception that says, I'm not going to become a part of this system and let it destroy me. I'm going to make something of my life. I'm going to be different. I'm going to give my life to God. I'm thinking right now while I'm preaching of a minister in the Chicago area whom I know who is doing a wonderful job and is a close friend of mine and comes from a very, very dysfunctional family.

Strictly speaking, you look at his family, there's no way that this guy should be doing today what he's doing. But God's grace meets us at the deepest point of our need for those who are willing to open their hearts to grace and forgiveness and help. God says, I'm going to lift you up out of your situation and give you hope and give you help.

Even in the midst of brokenness, there is always grace that stretches like an elastic band to cover the need. There's a fifth lesson, and that is be sure that you belong to the right branch of David's family tree, the right branch of David's family tree. I spoke about root stem and branch and said that David is the root. Well, David, of course, is the root, but there was a root before David and his name was Jesse. That's the name of David's father. And by the way, part of David's baggage was that he was a last born who was despised by his brothers.

And he never really got the approval of his brothers, probably not of his father either. There's some evidence of that. So David took, you know, his own brokenness into his system.

But here's what I want to say. In the scriptures in Isaiah chapter 11, verse one, it says that a shoot shall come forth from the stump of Jesse. That's David's father.

And that this shoot is going to be a person who has the spirit of wisdom and love and greatness and power. And it's a reference to the fact that David stands in the line of Jesus. So you have Jesse, you have David, and on through you can trace the genealogies as they are given in the New Testament. And from this genealogy, with all of its brokenness, and you can see who is in Jesus' genealogy.

I mean, the prostitute Rahab is there, Bathsheba is there. And in the midst of all of this, Jesus is born. And he's the branch that we must claim to belong to a more important family than even an earthly family. And I say to you today, no matter where you are, there is a heavenly family that God has given to us that we can enter through faith in Jesus Christ. One day Jesus was preaching and a huge crowd was around him and some people wanted to get to him and they said, Master, your mother and your brothers want to talk to you. Jesus made an astounding statement. He said, Who is my mother or my brother or my sister? But he who does the will of my father, who is in heaven. No matter who you are, I encourage you to belong to a family that really matters, the family of Christ.

Go out there, go out there and make a difference. There is a story about five young men who went into the Navy. In the Navy, of course, they had opportunities to be immoral and to embrace the world. Four of them did. One did not. And somebody said to him.

What kept you from all those temptations? And he said it was a picture that I carried. Well, tell me more. He said it was a picture that I took when my family said goodbye to me. My father was there reading his Bible with tears flowing down his cheeks. My mother was there.

My brothers and sisters were there and we were praying together. And he said, I've kept this picture. And he said, every time I'm tempted, I'm saying no, no, I cannot, I cannot betray. I can't betray my family.

And that kept him. From absorbing the values and the pleasures of the world. I'd like you to visualize another family. I'd like you to visualize our father who is in heaven and a son who has been given to us to die for our sins, that we can be reconciled to the father. And that son accepts us as brothers and as sisters and says, join my family.

And I don't know how we can possibly be kept from the world more powerfully, with more encouragement and more help than to realize that we belong to a heavenly family and we're en route to a different destination. At this moment, it does not matter who your father was, whether he was there, whether he wasn't. I mean, it matters. But just hang on for a moment. At this moment, it doesn't matter whether you're rightly treated or even whether you were abused.

Yes, it matters. But ultimately, what matters most is the divine family to which you belong. And if you don't belong, the way is through Christ who died for sinners just like you. Receive him and become a member of a family that really, really matters.

Let's pray. Father, this message is given to many people who came from wonderful, good families, good support, the intervention of a father in the midst of family squabbles. It also is given to those who came from moderately good families, but others broken families, some perhaps no family. And we ask in Jesus' name that you'll give wisdom and help and healing and redemption, no matter where we find ourselves. Make, O God, this church a church of strong families that model your intention for the family. Bring about forgiveness. Bring about, Lord God, reconciliation that is based on forgiveness. And we ask that children will grow up in homes where they are loved and cared for and that mercy and grace will abound.

How desperately we need that in today's world. And for those who have never trusted you as savior, make this an opportunity for them to open their hearts to you and say, yes, Jesus, I receive you to become a member of the divine family. In Jesus' name we pray.

Amen. You know, as I speak, I want to talk directly to your heart. As I emphasized in the message, if you've never received Jesus Christ as your savior, would you do that now?

No matter where you find yourself in an office, if you're driving somewhere, pull to the side of the road. No matter where you are, cry up to God for forgiveness, for acceptance. Thank him that Jesus Christ died for sinners.

Let me ask you another question. Would you like to be able to pray prayers? And then at the end, you don't have to add, if it be thy will. If you pray scripture, you discover that you never have to add that at the end of a prayer, because you are praying exactly what God wants you to pray and you are praying in the middle of his will.

That's why I wrote the book entitled A Practical Guide for Praying Parents, because you've heard me say this before, but I became weary of praying the same old thing in the same old way. Now, for a gift of any amount, we're making this resource available for you. Here's what you can do. Go to That's, or pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337.

And thanks in advance for helping us. I trust that you are aware that because of people just like you, Running to Win is now heard in 50 different countries in seven different languages. Help us to get the message of the good news of the gospel around the world. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Running to Win comes to you from the Moody Church in Chicago. Our kids are drowning in the muck of a sex-saturated media. Next time, what parents can and must do to counter the culture that wants to destroy their children. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-11 02:10:57 / 2024-06-11 02:19:27 / 9

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