As An American, Do You Feel Like You Are in a Dysfunctional Family?

By Jean Johnson

As an American and figuratively speaking, do you feel like you are a member of a dysfunctional family—that your dad and mom argue incessantly and threaten divorce every other day?

Do you feel like the world is out of control? Are you afraid to turn on the television or radio incase you hear about another tragedy, falling out, or injustice?

In some ways, there is nothing new under the sun.

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).

In other ways, these may be the signs of the times.

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24:6-8)

Whether par for the course or prophetic signs, what is important is our behavior in the midst of it all . . .

Here are a few suggestions of how to live well in a dysfunctional environment, while recognizing that it could be a combination of the same old and the times we live in.

Act justly

We don’t get to bring up, point out, and feast on other people’s injustices, while we have our own.

  • Do we secretly compete with others in our minds?
  • Do we watch immorality and violence on television as entertainment?
  • Do we take our spouses or parents for granted?
  • Do you treat everyone in public as if they are the best and then dump our lousy attitudes on our families at home in private?
  • Has acquisition of more stuff become a dominant principle of our lives?

Love mercy

We don’t get to bring up, point out, and feast on other people’s lack of mercy, while we have our own deficiencies.

  • Do we check on our elderly neighbors?
  • Do we even talk to our neighbors?
  • Do we have an authentic friendship with someone of a different ethnicity or economic standard?
  • Do we forgive people seventy times seven?

Walk humbly with God

We don’t get to treat God lightly or casually in the midst of chaos, confusion, bickering, and division. If anyone deserves our attention, respect, and love during these times, God does.

  • Do we work around God or do we try to make Him work around us?
  • Do we take Him serious everyday?
  • Do we confess our own sins?
  • Do we confess our nation’s sins?
  • Do we confess the world’s sins?
  • Do we ache with God through prayer and worship about the injustices?
  • Do we consider how He might feel about all the hate and hurt?
  • Do we walk humbly with God?
Can you imagine if we all got busy living out Micah 6:8 in our everyday lives and in our realms of influence, how much good would be happening?

Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Written by Jean Johnson, Director of Five Stones Global


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