Bethel Dallas Youth message on Sunday 9.16.18
Do you have a messy family?
….yes, we all do. Every family has their messes. Even Jesus had a messy family.
Drawing from context, think about Jesus’ family:
- His mom was considered an adulterer in their community since she became pregnant out of wedlock. This would have brought shame upon her family.
- Jesus had somewhat of a mixed family. Jesus brothers’ father was Joseph.
- Scholars believe that Joseph died some time in between Jesus age of 12-30. Joseph was not mentioned in the later years of the life of Jesus and on the cross Jesus asked John to care for his mom.
- As you trace Jesus’ lineage there is a long line of people who made massive mistakes.
Think about your father’s, father’s, father. Does anyone know their great-grandfather’s name? Do you know anything about him? I would encourage you to ask your parents to share some stories about their grandparents.
Where did they come from?
If they immigrated what did they sacrifice to come here?
What was their family environment like?
If they lived in a bad family environment did they take any steps forward or continue the cycle?
Here is my point: We can trace sin all the way back to Adam. He was the first father and he screwed up pretty big right? Then his mistakes helped cause his children to make mistakes and so on and so on all the way down to you. So who are we to blame for having ongoing sin and a messed up family? Where can we trace the family chaos back to? Jeremiah 17:9 says that we all have the thread of sin running through us “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
“The sins of the fathers are passed down to the third and fourth generation.” Numbers 14:18
Think of where your family is at today. What mistakes did your parent’s parents make that are jacking up your family today?
All families have to deal with brokenness. My question is…”Will you help shore up the cracks or continue to break things apart?” Every generation plays a role, either positive or negative, in changing the course for the next generation that follows.
So what is the solution to stopping the cycle of defeat, chaos, and brokenness in our family?
It starts with a choice: Will you choose forgiveness or revenge?
Will you choose to forgive those in your life who have wronged you or will you seek your own revenge?
Let’s take a look at real life example of two families who chose to solve things through revenge. The Hatfield and the McCoys were two families that had neighboring land in the 1800s and have gone down in history as the worst family feud recorded in modern history. This family feud started with one man who stole a pig from the other family then the other family responded with killing that man who stole the pig. Both families responded with revenge by taking lives, burning houses, taking advantage of their women, robbing, stealing, and using fear tactics on the other family to justify the wrongs they did. This took place over 25 years from 1865-1890 and dozens of family members on both sides were killed. It wasn’t until 2003 there was an official truce between the two families with the following statement: “We ask by God’s grace and love that we be forever remembered as those that bound together the hearts of two families to form a family of freedom in America.”
Revenge brings bitterness and ultimately death. Their bitterness became the poison that destroyed their own lives. Each of their own lives was cut short and families destroyed. They were consumed with hate and many lost their lives. Your form of revenge may not be killing someone but it could be giving your family the silent treatment and shutting them out of your life. Revenge can be subtle or it can be a loud shouting attack.
On the other hand, forgiveness brings healing and life. At some point, someone has to be mature and strong enough to take a stand and do the right thing to turn the tide.
Identify what the problem is in your family:
It is this simple: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the principalities of darkness.” (Ephesians 6:12) There is another reality that is present: the spiritual realm. The devil would love to make you think that your family members are the ones that are the problem; or that your family members are the ones that are your enemies. The devil wants to steal, kill and destroy your family and if you believe his lies then the cycle of defeat will continue. The devil wants to deceive everyone in your family to thinking that people are the problem so you hate each other and don’t have a family. Sin is the thing that destroys and brings death.
1 Peter 2:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” The only way to change the course of your family is love. Forgiving and loving someone who has wronged you does not justify what they did but it does release them to God for Him to handle it. Ultimately God is the judge and He is the one who will bring justice. Our job as disciples of Jesus is not to change people but to constantly love people to Jesus and let Him do the work.
I believe that God is telling you that you are the one in your family who will change the course and be a GENERATION CHANGER! I believe that God is saying that 150 years from now your great grandchildren will be talking about how it was you that reset the course of your family.
Don’t allow your family to take a step back.
Make a huge stride forward for your family.
Forgive and bring healing into your family.
This is called leaving a legacy.
Your homework: On a sheet of paper draw your family tree all the way up to your great-grandparents. Write each of their names in. Go name by name and forgive them, release any bitterness you may have against them, and ask God to bring healing. On bottom sheet of paper write a prayer for the resetting of your family tree that from here on and all generations that follow will be full of life and love.