Monday, October 8, 2007

Dysfunctional families

Dysfunctional families
By John Fischer

I once saw a cartoon of a huge convention hall full of empty seats except for one kind of wimpy guy sitting on the front row all by himself. Over him was a banner: “Welcome to the First Annual Children of Non-Dysfunctional Families Conference.” It’s somewhat comforting to know we all have this “family” problem.

I wonder how much of this tendency towards the dysfunctional carries over to our spiritual family in Christ? Actually, in my experience, it’s not much different. Not because we aren’t Christians, but because we aren’t finished yet. We are all in process and as such we have just as many things to work out in our spiritual family as we do in our human ones. The difference is that at least we are all on the same page as to recognizing it, wanting to do something about it, and having plenty of resources to help us, not the least of these being the Holy Spirit who lives in us all.

John Fischer is an author, speaker, and songwriter based in Southern California. His latest book, Love Him in the Morning, is being released this month by Revell Publishing.

In the early ‘70s, I was a singer/songwriter of what was then called, Jesus music, and because of very conservative views of music in the church, our guitar strumming, drum banging music was not welcomed in many Christian settings. Once I played my music in the chapel of a Christian college amidst much controversy among the faculty and administration. Later, someone sent me a letter that was published in the school newspaper written by the Dean of the college, decrying my music as “garbage” and not fit for the kingdom of God.

My first inclination was to carry the letter around for a while and speak unkindly about a man who could do such a thing. Then I realized I was doing the same thing to him, and it made no difference that he was the perpetrator. I was now an accomplice in the same crime. So I made an appointment to go talk to the man and apologize for what I did—half wanting to seek forgiveness, and half wanting to test the presence of the Holy Spirit in us both. Could people with such strong disagreements come together in the Lord?

The answer to my question was a resounding YES. The man responded to my confession with humility and began to share with me what a tough year he was going through culminating in the slow and painful taking of his wife by cancer. We prayed, cried and embraced, and never once talked about music.

We cannot point out the wrongs of others, but we can point out our own and that can open the way to a spiritual bond in spite of our dysfunctions. Is there someone in your spiritual family you have wronged and maybe they don’t even know about it? Make a commitment to go talk with them as soon as possible and get ready to be surprised by the Holy Spirit.

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