“And Joseph said unto his brethren, “Come near to me, I pray you.” And they came near. And he said, “I am Joseph your brother, who ye sold into Egypt.” Genesis 45:4
We have a small plaque hanging in our kitchen that sums up the imperfection of our family. When your children are young and your ideals for a godly family are higher than the sky; you are dealing with cute little sinners, and then, you both are not the perfect parent by a long shot!!
Remember, as far as anyone knows we are a normal family!!
No family is perfect. Ours certainly wasn’t. I wish that I could share how my children all walk with the Lord, but I can’t since they all have a free will.
There have been a few families that are exemplary in how they raised their children. The one friend who’s example was most impressed on my heart was a friend who was always willing to admit her failures. She was willing to ask forgiveness of her children. She didn’t walk in pride but humility before God. She wasn’t trying to impress me with her perfection on the outside but was willing to admit her shortcomings. She demonstrated how to walk with God.
I love the story of Joseph because he is such a example of Christ. His brothers sold him and then had to cover their sin. They ended up lying to their father and making him think that wild animals had killed him. Joseph ended up as a slave in Egypt.
You probably know the whole story.
Joseph’s family was dysfunctional. At least how the brothers functioned was dysfunctional.
So, what is a dysfunctional home? A dysfunction is simply something that stops working correctly.
Three things that a family does to function the way God intended:
When a family ceases to protect, love, and share with each other, they have lost their original function.
When siblings and parents turn against each other a mountain of bitterness forms.
It is God’s intention to reverse or better yet, avoid this from happening.
Joseph’s family was a model of dysfunction, but after many years God transformed the hearts of each member.
It is better to do your ‘oil changes’ on your family while they are young so that your family keeps functioning when your children are teenagers. A little daily routine upkeep goes a long way.
Here are some tips:
- Pray over your children daily (this is paramount) and pray as a family. Teach your child to follow your example through praying and when they grow up they will have this example to fall back on. They will NEED it!!
- Read the Bible with your children. Purchase a solid Bible story book but never neglect reading the Bible to your children from a very, very, early age. How else do you think children at one time memorized large portions of Psalms?! They were immersed in the Scriptures.
- Sing with your children. I don’t mean to put your smart phone near their ear with the latest rock song and sing it with them. Sing Scripture songs, hymns (hymns have a bucketful of theology), and children’s praise songs. I love the old tried and true children’s songs like “Jesus Loves Me”.
- Point them to the Bible when they sin and do wrong. I was always terrible at remembering where to find a scripture that applied. I used For Instructions in Righteousness with all of our children. I would look up “greed” or ” selfishness” and scripture references, ideas, and activities would be suggested. I often used it as our Bible lesson.
- More Time? Read Genesis 44:1-45:28
Reflect and Pray: What is your role in your family? Are you an encourager? Are you a criticizer? Do you sarcastically tease?(Sarcasm always has an element of truth), Are you angry? Impatient? Do you uplift? Love on your family?
Do you work to benefit others or do you tear them down? What changes in your attitude or behavior would be necessary in order for your family to function in a healthier way?
Each member of our family can have a transformed heart when they get their life in tune with Jesus Christ.