[This post is a part of the Survive Your Family sermon series]
This Sunday we kicked off our new school year by starting a series called "Survive Your Family." We all at times feel like we are just trying to survive our families. Maybe you have an annoying brother or sister, your parents don't understand you, or your trying to figure out what to do because your parents are going through a divorce. The reality is that we all have families that have dysfunction; families are full of sinful people.
If you think you're family has problems...
If you feel like your family is crazy, you'd be happy to know that you are in good company. The Bible is full of people that have family situations that would put most of ours to shame. The Bible is full of families just like ours…they are sinful and they say and do hurtful things to each other.
- Adam and Eve. The first family ever. They only have one rule and they break it. Then they have kids, Cain and Abel and one son kills the other.
- Joseph and his brothers. Have you ever been annoyed by your brothers? Joseph annoyed his brothers and they wanted him dead. Instead of killing him, they just opted to tell their dad he died after they sold him into slavery.
- David, Absalom, Amnon. David was King of Israel and his son led a revolt against his own father. In addition to leading a revolt against his dad, he killed his brother Amnon in revenge for the rape of his sister.
So what do we do when we find ourselves in the midst of our family and just trying to survive?
The Prodigal Son
The story of the Prodigal Son is the story of family drama. A son tells his dad that he means nothing more to him than his money and wishes he were dead. That dad gives his son the money and the son goes and wastes it all living wildly. Eventually the son has screwed up his life so much that he comes back begging for mercy. The dad has been waiting for his son and welcomes his son by throwing a party. At the welcoming of the son, the older brother starts to freak out a little. The older brother has done nothing wrong…ever. Yet he doesn't get a party for his good behavior and his friends, but the younger son who acted like an idiot gets thrown a party because he's home. Just a little family drama.
The "perfect" older brother
Sometimes in our families we find ourselves like the perfect older brother. That all the problems going on are somebody else's problems. Somebody else was the one making the bad decisions; somebody else was the one that said the hurtful things. The difficult truth about the older brother is that while he didn't make the bad decision, he did have some heart issues that he had to deal with. The older brother has a problem thinking he's better than everybody else. He's not interested in loving or forgiving his brother because he feels like he should be getting the special treatment. The older brother's sin is not nearly as evident as the younger sin, but it's still a big problem.
The stupid younger son
Sometimes in our families we are the stupid younger son. We said things that we shouldn't have said. We hurt the people in our family. We didn't live our lives in a way that honored God or honored our parents. The response of this son should be the response we have when we sin against our families. The son comes back asking for forgiveness. The son realizes how much he screwed up and he is sorry for what he did. When you screw up in your family do you come back asking for forgiveness?
The Father who loves
The father in this story imitates Christ. At times we will find ourself like the older brother and at times like the younger brother. In all situations in our family, we should strive to be like the father. The father imitates Jesus. He loves his sons like Jesus loves us. The father loves the youngest son even though he has said and done hurtful things. And he forgives him. The father loves the oldest son even though he is a bit self-righteous and upset about the whole party thing. The father loves him and he forgives him.