Rebuilding Happy Families-Part 1

John H. Ogwyn

In a world with so much suffering, happy families are harder and harder to find. Perhaps you came from a broken family—or are in one right now. Your Bible reveals vital tools that can help you build—or rebuild—the happy family God wants you to have!

A family's health and happiness can be broken by alcoholism, physical abuse, sexual abuse—and even by wrong ideas about child-rearing. But broken families can be rebuilt, and Scripture provides a blueprint to show how this can be done!

Honestly Facing the Past

The problem, of course, is not that people set out with a goal of being unhappy. They simply do not know how to do the things that produce happy results! So many times, growing up in a deeply troubled family environment, children promise themselves that they will not put their own children through such traumas in the future. Yet just the opposite is usually the case. Problems are perpetuated. Why?

Much can be traced to the lessons and survival strategies we learn as children. The hurt, the fear and the resentments accumulated during childhood are carried into adulthood. Those feelings are all too often carried into new relationships. Those who, as children, never learned to trust will find it hard, if not impossible, to enjoy true intimacy in adulthood. Often, the source of this problem is that their parents never taught them how to relate to others (Proverbs 22:6).

If we want the future to be different from the past, we must specifically identify what we intend to do differently.

To change, one must first face the past honestly, looking into the mirror of God's law (James 1:23–25). Truth is the gateway to real freedom. While we cannot choose our past, we can make choices about our future. Before we can go forward, we must face where we are in life and how we got there. By understanding the dynamics of our family system, we can come to understand things about ourselves—why we think and feel the way we do.

When a child grows up believing that his best will never be good enough, or that he must struggle to earn love, or that he is responsible for everyone else's happiness, he will have real problems in establishing healthy adult relationships.

Facing the past is not about blaming Mom and Dad—it is about becoming honest with ourselves. We can never work on a problem that we do not see or will not admit. Taking inventory of our own lives, including our feelings and the beliefs that underlie them, is crucial. If we want the future to be different from the past, we must specifically identify what we intend to do differently. Good intentions of "doing better" are not nearly enough. Whatexactly will wedo differently? None of us can change in generalities, only in specifics!

Pretending that nothing is wrong does not make it so. We must not deceive ourselves (Jeremiah 17:9; James 1:22). However, when we honestly face an issue, we can see it for what it is, and we can make choices. This is a first step in dealing with childhood wounds.

Rebuilding Happy Families - Part 2

Rebuilding Happy Families - Part 3

Rebuilding Happy Families - Part 4