How to Overcome Dysfunction
The origin of dysfunction
In our last post, we talked about the baggage we carry around as adults and how it negatively affects our lives. We established that everyone is dysfunctional to some degree. This dysfunction can be traced back to Adam and Eve.
Like us, Adam and Eve wanted to be the boss. They desired to be like God. God calls this sin, and. It’s why we’re dysfunctional.
What Is dysfunction?
Whether you’re a student, a husband or wife, a grandparent, manager, CEO, coach, or physician, God wants us to function in a certain way. When we don’t, it’s called dysfunction. It creates the baggage we carry around, and we don’t realize the cost of it and the destruction it causes.
12 effects of dysfunction
- Divorce. In the ’70s, people said divorce doesn’t affect you or your children. They said, ‘Being in a bad relationship is bad for your kids, and getting divorced is better.’ But new research is showing that if your parents divorced when you were young, it brings out problems down the road.
- Addiction. Addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, and even oneself is a form of dysfunction.
- Verbal or Physical Abuse. Addiction goes hand in hand with abuse—verbal, physical, or emotional abuse.
- Denial. “I don’t have any baggage. I’m not loaded down with dysfunction.” Yes, you are. Think about this: too many of us who are in denial are in denial about being in denial.
- Blame. We say, ‘It’s someone else’s fault. It’s my parents, my grandparents, my spouse’s.’ Or, ‘I just can’t help myself.’
- Fear. What if I commit my life to Jesus, and he wants me to be a missionary to Borneo? What if he wants me to give up having fun and sleeping around?
- Criticism. I want everyone around me to feel as miserable as I do.
- Anxiety. You may have been pressured as a child to do too much too soon. Perhaps you were forced to grow up too quickly because of a divorce situation.
- Deception. We find it difficult to tell the truth when we’re in trouble. Or perhaps you lie just to lie.
- Unforgiveness. Your parents or a trusted friend has betrayed you, and you’re harboring the hurt. You find it impossible to release the hurt through forgiveness.
- Control. You want to be in control because your family of origin was out of control. This can lead to perfectionism, which is another form of control.
- Trust Issues. A lot of us have a hard time trusting because we’ve been messed around with so much. We’ve been betrayed so much that we can’t see a way to trust.
Rescue from dysfunction
Let’s say you have a friend who owns the tallest building in your city. Here in Dallas, ours happens to be the Bank of America Plaza, which is 72 stories tall. He invites you and your family to visit his building. You take the elevator to the top floor and step out onto the observation deck. Suddenly, your son says, “Dad, I smell smoke. The building is on fire!”
Remember, you’re on the top of a 72-story building. As you panic, you see a guy in the adjacent building. He fires a cannon containing a 3-inch wide steel cable that attaches to the air conditioning unit on your building. The guy then sets a wheelbarrow on the cable and pushes it across to where you’re standing, in order to offer rescue.
The guy with the wheelbarrow is Jesus. He’s saying, “Get in. I have a will for you. A W-I-L-L barrow for you.” Yet we don’t climb in because we’d have to admit that:
- We are powerless. We can’t save ourselves from the towering inferno. We can’t dump all the baggage we carry by ourselves. But
- God is powerful. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins, for my baggage.
3 Types of Dysfunction
- Riches. I can buy my way out of the situation. If I can’t, I’ll buy something that will make me feel better, even if it’s temporary.
- Beauty. You think you’ve got it made because you have good looks. You get all the opportunities because of the way you look. You can charm yourself out of any situation.
- Brains. I can think my way out. I’m smart; I can figure this life out on my own.
Ways to overcome dysfunction
- Accept Christ as my Savior.
- “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31
- Accept the Bible as my teacher.
- “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for resetting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (PHILLIPS)
- Accept the power and the energy of Jesus.
- “I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.” Philippians 4:13 (TLB)
- Accept the will of God as my purpose.
- “I desire to do your will, O my God.” Psalm 40:8 (NIV-1984)
Paraphrasing, Hebrews 12:1-2 basically says, ‘Let us throw off any extra baggage, get rid of this and anything that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus.’
Friend, Jesus has pushed the wheelbarrow up to you. He’s locked eyes with you and said, “I love you. I’ve forgiven you. I have a plan for you. Won’t you get in the wheelbarrow?” Take that next step and trust Him. Because when you do, your life will never, ever be the same.
Want to learn more? Watch the related sermon.