EQ Series pt.3
February 14, 2016
“Un-Packing Your Emotional Suitcase!”
“Going Back in Order to Go Forward”
It is great be able to be here with you today Brave Church and you are in a series that is really important because you are discovering that, it is not possible for one who is a Christian to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. Maybe I can say it this way: “We are all here because we are not all there!” In other words, nobody has arrived. Today, we are going to take a journey together about a simple powerful truth that we often we do not want to explore because our thinking is that when one has come to Jesus all these things just go away. I discovered a while ago that people do church like they did life in their families of origin. We can not separate the Good, Bad, and the Ugly we have all experienced in our past and just declare to the world … Hey I am starting from scratch … How many of you have that favorite music CD you know for those who are my age and still know what a CD is before ITUNES… Remember that moment you have that special somebody with you and you want to play that song … Like “My Girl” from the temptations and all of a sudden it get’s to that part of the song that crescendos and there is a scratch on the CD and you can’t get past that section of the music. How irritating is that! No matter what you do you simply can’t move forward in the song. There are many of us here who love Jesus Christ and are even involved in small groups other activities in the church but it seems that we have a scratch on our soul. We just can’t seem to get past the inner feelings of abuse, abandonment, neglect, and the deep sense of the lack of self-worth. For some of us no matter what kind words people say to us we continue to feel that we are a victim and we have no sense of belonging. For others of us, we just simply are angry and we carry around this deep sense of mistrusting everyone especially leaders. On our jobs we will sabotage any success with being adversarial or hyper-critical toward others. Our relationships live up to the old song “Somebody done something wrong song.”
Here is the challenge: We deal with all the manifestations of the symptoms such as: overeating, workholism, substance abuse, pornography. We are not honest with people because we fear rejection. You see each one of us have a suit case and we carry this suitcase around and it has all the stuff from family history and if we do not with God’s help engage with the heart of our Heavenly Father we just continue to live out the destructive patterns of our family tree. We do not want to just deal with the symptoms but to allow He who created us to heal the deep parts in our heart or let’s use the metaphor …OUR SUITCASE!
Here is our bottom-line this morning: “In emotionally healthy churches, people understand how their past affects their present ability to love Christ and others.”
Let’s jump in and read a narative from the book of Genesis on the Life of Joseph. Remember Joseph’s family weas a blend of Blue Bloods with the Sopranos
5 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves, “they said.
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”
Genesis 50:15-21, NIV
You want to underline that. “But God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Verse 20 is the summary of the whole Book of Genesis. If you’ve ever read Genesis.
Actually it could be said that it’s the whole summary of the Gospel as well. God — you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good. This story of Joseph, which is almost 25 percent of the Book of Genesis is — is about a family and the family of Joseph. And — and God places all of us in families and gives all of us parents. And it’s an aspect of what it means to be made in God’s image. We were made to experience love and we were made to receive –, to give love. And every person here in this room and every person we meet has all had parents. And, we were created in God’s image to engage in a healthy family as babies and children growing up and to experience that kind of love. And so you come — all of us come into the world with a hunger for stable, deep loving relationships.
We ARE PRE-WIRED FIVE HEALTHY NEEDS:
Go to my Suitcase and I as discuss each need take out an item that identifies with this. Talk about the broken side of this in my own story.
- A Sense of Belonging
First that there’s a need for a place that — that — that when a — when a — you know, that essentially when a child comes in the world there’s a wonderful sense of I belong to a world and I have a place in which I am affirmed and wanted.
- There is a Need for Nuture
The second is there’s just a need for nurture. That words and just gestures of appreciation and affection and touch, and being held emotionally and physically, at each stage of development for — for a person who comes into the world.
- There is a Need for Support
That kind of a loving, caring environment. Just supportive again along all the life stages that as you move into young adulthood and emerge into the world.
- There is a Need for Protection
And as parents do in a perfect world, they — they protect you physically and emotionally and, you know from harm and sexually from harm. And kind of provide that kind of protection you cannot do as a child and launch you out into the world.
- There is a Need for Limits
Parents in a healthy way provide limits, boundaries. People who don’t grow up with boundaries and limits have all kinds of challenges.
And some of you know what I’m talking about everything from, you know, promiscuity and craziness to narcissism, and it just leaves all kinds of damage. if you can imagine in a perfect world we all grow up in having this longing. God wired us to need these things, to receive these things, uh, by our, uh, you know, by our biological mother and father. That’s a perfect world. The nuclear family is the first perfect system. That’s how it was meant to be. But then in Genesis 3, sin enters the human race. Rebellion. Our first parents rebel against God and so now we see for the first time, families are not this.
They’re distorted. They’re broken from God’s original intention. And so we see even the first family, Cane and Abel, there’s murder. There’s jealousy and you’ve got murder all of a sudden going on. You know, brother killing a brother. And so we find in families now because of sin. And we have to stop and pause and — and recognize this that now we have things like destructive criticisms and abuse of authority and lying and secrets, and emotional withholding and broken promises and intimidation, and blaming in families. And pressure tactics and shamings and putdowns. And even in the best of families. And some of us came perhaps from very good families, there is sin and brokenness.
And, uh, nobody emerges from their family unscathed, uh, without their true self in some way, uh, damaged, without wounds and scars. Uh, all of us. And so when we come to Jesus Christ, when we become a Christian; and I hope you have now become a Christian today, we are born again, the Bible says. We’re born into the new family; His family, God our Father. And we have new brothers and sisters, a new name, Christian, a new inheritance, and — and now we’re in a new family; the family of God in Jesus Christ. And — and but as we come into the family of Jesus and Christ we bring to it, certain unprocessed material that goes through our families of origin and whatever happened or didn’t happen growing up.
How Many of You Remember this Show?
The synopsis of the show was:
The show stars Will Smith as a fictionalized version of himself, a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to move in with his wealthy aunt and uncle in their Bel Air mansion after getting into a fight on a local basketball court. In the series, his lifestyle often clashes with the lifestyle of his relatives in Bel Air. The series lasted for six seasons and aired 148 episodes
The video clip you are about to see is very much emotionally charged because Wills character is seeing is father who he does not know. His dad promises him a trip but he reneges on the agreement and states that they are not going. This is a very emotionally raw scene.
Did you catch what he said: Why doesn’t he want me? There some who just saw this clip who continue to ask this question.
There are three things from this Story of Joseph that is very important to catch!
- Look into Your Suitcase = Frees You From Your Past
You have to feel in order to Deal with issues. And we can live a life based on Assumptive Faith: It is not real. Our false Assumptions concerning past events are what keep us stuck. We can not realistically process through something that we have created a fantasy. Let me use this as an example:
Let’s say you and I were driving in a truck and we were passing a school and there are allot of small children everywhere waiting for their parents to be picked up. All of a sudden we feel a reall heavy bump that we drive over. We don’t stop but a mile down the rode we begin to ask the question: “Did we possibly run over a child?” rather than go back we begin to become tormented over the idea that we may have hit a child. The anxiety and the fear kicks in as you try to push that memory out of your mind. You will begin to build coping mechanisms now to deal with the fear and the shame of the thought that you may have harmed a person. Let’s take that same scenartio but only this time we stop after driving a few miles up the road and we drive back to investigate what we ran over. On returning to the front of the school we discover that there is a log in the middle of the road and that is what we ran over. Now we do not have to be rulked by a lie. In a sense it was this kind of assumptive thinking that was ruling over the thoughts of joseph’s brothers because they thought he would have been out for revenge and they could have ran.
Many of us have these types of issues in our lives and for many of us attempt to navigate theses issues by developing new forms of coping mechanisms. Our adversary has more tatctics that we have coping mechanisms.
It is true that the gospel Gospel and Christianity is that now that when you come to Jesus Christ you have a whole new destiny and that the blood that determines who you are is no longer the biological blood of your family. It’s the blood of Christ. And, uh, you’re born anew. And now the cycle ship is putting off those sinful patterns of your biological family. Not the — not the [UNHEALTHY], but the sinful patterns here. The cycle ship of the growth of a Christian life is putting off that, which was in a sense pre — that which was like your blueprint in you, which is deeply lodged in you.
Now here’s Joseph. He’s born into a family. And, uh, in fact, this is what’s called his “family [GEN‑O‑GRAM]” of Joseph. And it’s a way of mapping out families. Some of you have done that. But here’s Joseph over here in yellow. And there’s his wife. Okay and Joseph is one of twelve brothers and one sister. Okay, he’s the eleventh child. And this is his family going back three generations that bears on his person. As a point to look at you’ll notice his grandparents, okay, um, or great‑grandparents, Abraham and Sarah. You got lies in their relationship, sibling rivalry of kids, favoritism, and an unhealthy marriage.
He loses his nurture. His place. His support. Uh, his — his language. His freedom. His friends. He loses everything. Talk about trauma and being chained off and of suddenly being a slave. You just imagine — I just imagine what he’s carrying the scars inside of him. Like I mean who do I trust? I can’t even trust my own family. I got so burned. And so you can imagine how, you know, vigilance one would be after something like that? And, uh, or just saying to himself something must be wrong with me. I mean what did I do that this is my lot? And, you know that feeling of like I’m screwed up. It’s — it’s all me.
Um, or, you know, my family at this point is just not that important to me. It’s just it’s over. It’s done you guys. God bless you and here’s your food. Go have a great life. But, uh, really you’re — I’m — I’m — I got my own family now. I — I’ve — I’m past the trauma and I’m on my way and there’s really nothing to talk about. Um, in fact, he could of said I have an oldest son now named Manasseh. It’s very interesting. You know, his oldest son over here, Manasseh, he named him. His name means “making forget.” Very interesting. Yeah, I got a son named “making forget.” I forgot you guys. Goodbye, you know? And, um, so — so here’s Joseph. But he does — he does come out. He — he comes out. And he does go back to go forward.
Sin is passed on from generation to generation. God allows this story to be recorded to sober us to take a deep braeth and look inside of our suit case. The implication for church life is clear that people must take a look at the family ystems that they grew up in inorder to get healthy.
“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” I Corinthians 10:6, NIV
Three Types of Family-Systems:
- Closed – Addictive – Don’t feel and Don’t Talk
- Detached – No Connection
- Enmeshed – No Boundaries
(Tell My Story with Dad and journey of Sobriety)
You know, in the Ten Commandments of your family, you know, we’ve talked about how, you know, I say in — in your — maybe in your family money is the best source of security. Well, you know what? You know, the Bible says no, God is your refuge and strength. He is the best source of security. That’s a new way of living in God’s family. But you got to be aware that this is how my family lives. So you don’t live like that anymore now as a believer in Christ. I say conflict, you know. Avoid conflict at all costs. Maybe that’s what your family did. You know, well, you know what? That’s not in scripture. We’re — we’re true peacemakers now, you know? And you know, let’s take, you know, well, sex. Sex is not to be spoken about openly. Well, you know what? In the family of God we do talk about sex openly because God loves sex.
It’s a beautiful thing. We talk about it on different levels appropriately with developmental stages. It’s a gift from God. So — so, we don’t do it the way your family did it now because we’re in the family of Jesus. You know, we can take, you know, grief and loss. And — and maybe in your family sadness was a sign of weakness. You were never to be depressed. But you know what? In God’s family, we embrace grief. We don’t get lost in it and buried in it, but we wait on God and we let God birth anew and we let God make us compassionate, moving people through it. But we don’t do grief and loss the way your families did it. You know, we can go on to, you know — you know, expressing anger.
And maybe your family, anger was dangerous and bad. No one got angry. Maybe everybody was angry. But, you know in, you know, in God’s family, we — we express anger in an appropriate way and we — we — it’s part of our discipleship. We got to teach our children, our young adults on how to use and express anger in a way that’s constructive. And — and then you take things like family and — and, uh, you know, it might be you — you owe your parents for all they’ve done for you. Well, you know, we want to honor our parents, but we don’t, you know, we’re not — we’re not, you know, in bondage to them either. We follow Christ first as we honor our parents. You know relationships don’t trust people.
You’re not allowed to have certain feelings. This is the way some families were raised. Or — or your feelings are not important. Well, you know, in God’s family your feelings are very important. In fact, you’re very important. And so part of — of — of following Jesus is you’ll be able to go back and say what were my particular family commandments that I’m still carrying today because now I’m in the family of Jesus? And then what are some things? I got to do some hard work here in following Christ. So some of you have begun this process. You’ve done some of this work. The sad thing is some of you stopped because you got over a couple hurdles. Yeah, I’m feeling better.
- Develop Practices that Help Exchange What is in your Suitcase = Gives you Hope in Your Present Life
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. Isa. 55:8
In the Hebrew ways are a frequented path or a boundary. God desires that you begin to exchange your ways. Why because it is about the heart! Remember what the prophet says we need to begin to have our hearts turn. It’s placing our need for Justice back on the Cross rather in our own hands. It is releasing offenses of the heart!
“He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” Malachi 4:6, NIV
The prophet is not just speaking about biological fathers but he addressing the elders of Israel. It is the hearts of fathers that have to turn first because it is easier for a Father to reject a son than a son to reject a father.
Let’s go back to what you just experienced this morning with the Elder’s of this church laying hands on Kara for children’s Ministry and Samuel and Marcy for Youth. Consider the fatherlessness of our culture.
These are precious people who began life not thinking they would end up as a statistic. It is an innate thing that a child expects to be cared for and knows that someone should be responsible for them.
They slip through fingers and they fall. I do not know what you experience at life has been but God has something for you. We all remember moments that we were held warmly and then we were dropped. Some of us remember how we hit the ground with a thud and for some of us we are still rolling. May be it is not a parent but a partner in which we stood up in front of a church and things just fell apart. You looked them into the eyes and said “I DO!” and they didn’t. This morning you as a community have said “I DO” to the children in the Tri-City area. Let’s get back to Joeseph!
If we are going to be a people who are growing to ths is — this is — this is the Christian life and God moves us and leads us appropriately along the way to bring us to new levels of depth with him. Some of you need to begin and get started because it’s scary. But the grace of God is so loveable and wonderful and He’ll meet you there. But then here’s a second one. Here’s the — here’s the courage years is that discern. The second practical application is that we are to discern the good God intends in through and in spite of your family and past. I’ll say it again. This is verse 50. God desires to discern the good. What — what is discern? What’s the good? Now God put you in a family at a certain moment in history. He knew everything that was going on. And He put you there and He — Why? For good.
God had a good purpose. Somebody that has very difficult, abusive backgrounds. And how did Joseph get to — look at verse 20. And I want you to underline verse 20. In fact, I hope you’ll memorize the verse. Uh, it’s so phenomenal. It’s again, it’s the summary of the Book of Genesis. Joseph says you — he says to his brothers all that went on. He goes you intended to harm me. Or it could be the Hebrew word, could be “you planned to harm me.” But God planned it for good. You planned to harm me, but God planned it or intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. You see at one level you can see a struggle of a family.
Four Practices that Will Help you in Your Present Journey Into Wholeness:
- The Bible – This is God’s message of grace intervening into ourt mess.
- Community – Our spirituality is very individualistic in America but the Scripture is written with Community in mind. The church is the place that we can become reparented.
- Contempation – Practices such as solitude become the place that we are transformed from the inside/out.
- Embrace the Gift of Repentance – metanoa to change direction. This becomes a life-style in which can more fully obey Christ.
God will lead you step‑by‑step. That’s why we Brave Church have small groups. That’s why we have seminars. That’s why we encourage silence and solitude and journaling, and all that. And we got to do all this stuff in small groups right now. But God has placed you hear on Earth for a purpose to be a blessing to many people. Just like Joseph says “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” To accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. And, uh, so I want to — I want to invite you and encourage you that God is invisibly working through human affairs. Listen, I don’t know what’s going on in Iraq. I think it’s such a sad situation. But you know, I just know that God is on the throne sovereignly working invisibly through even horrible human affairs.
- Be Generaous and begin to Share the New Things in Your Suitcase- This will Bring freedom for Generations to Come