CLERGY CORNER: Family Matters

Posted on 30 July 2015 by LeslieM

One evening recently, my wife and I stopped into a small boutique shop in our neighborhood after dinner.

While browsing, I spotted a decorative plaque that read: Remember, as far as anyone knows, we are a nice, normal family.

The shopkeeper noticed my chuckle and said the plaque had been a huge seller.

My interest was piqued. I went home and did some research on the licensing of this quote. Turns out, it’s being printed on everything from coasters to clocks, and sales have skyrocketed in the last few years.

Why do so many people relate to the sentiment? Because, deep down, we all feel like our families aren’t what they should be.

There are skeletons in our closets. There are old scars and new wounds left by broken marriages, wayward children and countless disappointments.

Most of us even worry at one point or another that our families may border on being (gasp) dysfunctional. So we do our best to portray a nice, normal image to the on-looking world.

Here’s some comforting news: Every family is dysfunctional. The question is to what degree?

Family can be a source of support and grounding, but it can also be a hotbed for conflict and unresolved tensions. Thankfully, there are steps you and I can take to help keep our families strong and filled with love:

Focus on God – Establish your family on a solid foundation by focusing on God.

Start by taking time to pray together every day. If you aren’t in the habit of praying as a family, it may be awkward at first. Don’t let that stop you. The cliché is true: The family that prays together stays together.

Forgive Quickly – Every family is made up of flawed human beings. You’re not perfect and neither are those closest to you, so you aren’t going to get through life without being hurt. Decide to forgive your family members of their wrongs quickly. Showing grace and allowing for each other’s mistakes is the oil that keeps the machinery of family running.

Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Prioritize Quality Time

Investing time in family members is essential to deepening relationships and keeping things on course. Build more family time into your routine:

Have Dinner Together. Several times per week, have dinner as a family.

The dinner table is where community is built.

Celebrate Successes and Special Occasions: Birthdays, graduations, weddings and holidays are powerful times to reconnect with family and focus on God’s blessings.

You and I have a responsibility to create healthy families, but we have to simultaneously turn them over to God. We can build foundations, but we can’t control outcomes.

As we put God first and then let go and trust him to work out his purposes, He will.

In the process, he’ll build strong, beautiful families who display his unconditional love to the world.

I would love for you to join me at The Journey – Boca Raton this Sunday at 9:30 or 11 a.m., as we continue our teaching series about a guy who knew a few things about family dysfunction and other hardships, Joseph: From Pit to Pinnacle.

As our guest, you’ll receive a free copy of Unshakable: How to Stand Strong Through Life’s Storms – an essential guide to weathering the inevitable difficulties we all face. Visit www. bocajourney.com for more details. I hope to see you there!

Nelson Searcy is the founding pastor of The Journey Church in Boca Raton.

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