Stew on This… Help for Pastors: Family Struggles & 3 Insights
In this post are some important reminders about family that can be good in offering pastoral care or even for applying to a pastor’s family life. In the book of Genesis, the great man of God, Joseph, came from a family with many troubles. His family history showed that dysfunction breeds dysfunction! Family struggles must be addressed. Keep in mind that despite his family, Joseph excelled. What stands out in his story is that he was seen as a man of remarkable character. Still, it is important to do everything possible to nurture healthy family relationships as God intends (both with elders and children). For anyone haunted by family drama or facing family trials today, below are lessons inspired by Joseph’s ordeal that may help.
Help for Pastors: 3 Family Struggles Insights
Your family background is no hindrance to being used significantly by God –
Joseph was one of God’s brightest stars. He had a terrible home life but did not succumb to it. He carved his own path by the grace of God. Don’t buy in to your family’s sins. Just because it is the way they are and may have been for generations, doesn’t mean it’s the way you must be.
You don’t have to repeat family sins –
God specializes in changing and transforming people to be who He designed them to be. It is easy to rationalize and excuse bad behavior by blaming parents. You may lean on family dysfunction in the past for present bad attitudes and actions. Joseph could have become an angry, vengeful, and manipulating man if he followed the family tree. But he didn’t. He determined that with God’s help, the change would start with him.
You can change the direction and destiny of your family –
It’s not easy. Like Joseph’s situation, it requires a deep trust in God and a desire to please Him more than yourself. It is good to develop a passion for obedience to the God who loves you. He didn’t make a mistake putting you in the family you grew up in. Out of your family history you experience, observe, and learn things that God uses to mold you. Similarly, he molded Joseph into a humble, strong, quality servant of His.
How to Handle Family Struggles:
- Be willing to stand alone -If you are possessed by a desire to fit in, you will become the environment instead of transforming the environment.
- Stay strong –
You will experience difficult circumstances, dislike, and hatred from others (who are bothered by your righteousness). Jesus said, “if you are going to be like me you will face what I faced – opposition.” You need to be prepared for it.
- Exercise patience -God’s process of developing Joseph took 13 years of not very pleasant experiences. Making a man or woman of God takes time. Don’t run from the process.
- Practice forgiveness -If you hold grudges, resentment, and bitterness against those who have wronged you and misused you, you will confine yourself to an emotional and relational prison of your own making.
- Seek reconciliation -Conflict resolution is not always possible, but it should be your prayer and your effort. It takes great humility to admit your part in the problem, not justify yourself because you deem their sin to be greater. The Bible instructs to live at peace with all men (and women) as much as possible.
That’s not an easy list, is it? It’s not quick steps followed by a prayer and everything is changed. It’s a process of living consistently as God designed over time. Live humbly, not angrily, and not defensively. By the grace, power, wisdom, love, and peace of the Holy Spirt who lives within you as a child of God, you can do it.
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