"Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear." 1 Peter 1:17 NIV. Suggested reading 1 Peter 1:17-23.
Thoughts for Today
When a family is struggling with the life-controlling issues of one or more members, it usually becomes dysfunctional. In other words, there are relationship problems in the family that keep it from being an emotionally healthy environment.
When we grow up in a dysfunctional family environment, we live with pain and chaos. We see destructive behaviors modeled before us, and we often carry these learned behaviors into our adult lives, recreating the type of environment we grew up in by repeating the mistakes of our elders. These behaviors handed down from generation to generation are what we call hand-me-downs.
Hand-me-downs are behavior patterns that have their roots in the family system and can help us understand why we behave as we do. A child growing up accepts the behaviors they observe every day at home as normal because they have no other reference. And then as adults, they tend to create the same type of family relationships they knew as children.
Are you weighed down with hand-me-downs that are having a negative effect on your life? Today's scripture reading offers you hope.
God is fair (v. 17). Children raised by an abusive or neglectful father often have an incorrect view of God, picturing him as their earthly father. The good news is that our Heavenly Father is perfect and fair. No matter what your background, he loves you and wants you to be his child.
It is also important to recognize that God's impartiality does not take away our personal responsibility. Although we are influenced by genetic inheritance and social surroundings, we still have a personal responsibility to God. To choose him. To make him Lord of our life.
Father, I thank you that I can count on you to be a loving and fair father. Help me not to use my past as an excuse for my behavior. I want to turn my life—and all the hand-me-downs—over to you. To receive your healing. And to serve you. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from…
Living Free by Jimmy Ray Lee, D. Min. and Dan Strickland, M. Div. This updated version is presented in two parts. It offers information for anyone who either has a life-controlling problem or has a loved one with a life-controlling problem:
Part 1: Learning to Live Free
- Defining Life-Controlling Problems
- Mastered and Trapped by Issues
- Walls of Protection
- Family Influences
- Helping or Harming?
Part 2: Helping Others to Live Free through Small Groups
- The Small Group Strategy
- Effective Facilitation and Communication
- Launching a Living Free Ministry
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