Adam accused Eve. Cain killed Abel. Abraham lied about Sarah. Rebecca favored Jacob. Jacob swindled Esau and then he raised a gang of hoodlums. And this is the mess into which Joseph was born. ~ Max
Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. — Romans 12:2
Welcome to week five of the You’ll Get Through This Online Bible Study with Max Lucado. This week we’re digging those old skeletons out of the family closet. Sound fun? Ok… not fun, but what we don’t face with the Lord we may repeat. That’s the danger.
The house chaos.
The destructive behavior.
The hidden pain that few or even none knew outside those walls.
What was it for you?
In order to face the future, sometimes you’ve got to make peace with your past. Sometimes, to move forward, God actually takes us backward and helps us deal with some of the ancient hurts of our lives. ~ Max
Family hurt is the toughest hurt there is. ~ Max
Healing the past is vital not just for ourselves. It’s not a selfish or navel-gazing thing to revisit those wounds and ask the Great Physician to tend to them. That’s false guilt heaping shame where it doesn’t belong. Hurt people hurt people and the last thing we want is to avoid facing pain only to have it passed right through us to our children.
What do we do with that pain? How can we get it out in a way that releases us and brings wholeness and healing? Tell Jesus.
Talk to God about your family scandals and scoundrels. ~ Max
Tell Him the whole thing. He knows, of course. He saw. He felt it. He wept with you. He held you. Tell Him anyway.
Years ago, I was trying to mend strife with a family member so I asked this person to go on a walk on the beach together. There, I heaped praise. Everything I could think of. Every quality I saw and appreciated about her. When I was done she was quiet so I asked if she had any response and what came out of her mouth about me was so cruel it literally took my breath away. Her speech was diminishing, cold, untrue, crass, cutthroat, nasty, and breathtakingly savage. Something no one could imagine one person would say to another, much less someone they loved. I offered an enormous olive branch and got a nuclear warhead in return.
An apology never came. In fact, the scoundrel dug her heels in to this truly vile and baseless conclusion she’d drawn about me. No resolution. No reconciliation. No matter how hard I tried.
When I couldn’t shake the scorch of this conversation, I eventually laid the whole thing out to God like it was my last resort, when it should have been my first (Why didn’t praying occur to me in the middle of the crisis?!). I talked and cried and talked and cried until I’d said all the words and wept all the tears. Exhausted, and after I sat in silence for a long time I heard Jesus ask me what I thought He was doing while she was spewing those words at me. Where was He? What was His expression? What did He think about it? In that moment, I knew He’d been right there with me. Standing on the beach with daggers through His heart, too. Weeping and linking His fingers into mine. That divine perspective changed everything.
God not only wants your whole heart… He wants your heart whole. ~ Max
Sometimes, there won’t be resolution. Not on earth anyway. Maybe the people who caused the harm are gone, or maybe they won’t ever be safe… This has happened to me and probably you as well. Tell Jesus.
Sometimes, they don’t stop trying to hurt you. Or can’t get out of the cycle of abuse. Sometimes, it’s such a mess, right? Tell Jesus.
Sometimes, the people who hurt us never get “justice”. It’s like they got off scot-free. That can be a bitter pill. Tell Jesus.
But, sometimes God does turn the tables. Sometimes the people who have caused harm and meant evil for you wind up facing unbelievably complicated, difficult, and miserable circumstances they never could have imagined. They expected you to suffer but instead it’s them suffering while you’re at peace. Sometimes people build a gallows for you only to find themselves hanging on it (Remember Haman in the Book of Esther?)! When that happens, talk to Jesus about it.
And, sometimes God allows suffering in order to get us out of where we are and into where we need to be. It might not be a storyline we’d ever choose. It might feel like He made a mistake, or forgot to keep an eye out for us, or didn’t notice that He left us with only one option and that’s the worst imaginable one! But like Joseph, God saw what he couldn’t have. He sees what we can’t. It may be for the saving of many. For the help of many. Take it to Jesus.
Every time Joseph cries it has something to do with his family. ~ Max
Take that hard past, that family pain, that scoundrel, that scandal, that suffering to Jesus. Let Him do what only He can do.
You are not who they said you were. At some point you’ve got to say, “God is my first Father, and He knows more about me even than my earthly father. I’m going to trust His judgment of me more than anyone else’s.” ~ Max
As for me and mine, it stops here. With all the forgiveness in my heart, I declare I’m not passing on bitter, truthless, heartless words. My mouth will be filled with honest, kind, merciful, hopeful, and most of all loving words. What’s been done to me won’t be done to others.
Forgiveness, compassion, love, empathy, safety, encouragement, faith, and joy. I want that to be the legacy I pass down to future generations.
Pull those skeletons out of the closet this week and give them a good shake. Scoundrels and scandals won’t get the last word.
Let’s allow Jesus into that history so the future can be different!
This week in your study:
- Watch the video for session five on our study home page. Take notes in your study guide on pages 73-77 and then stick around for the conversation with our OBS community!
- Go through the study questions with your group or on your own on pages 77-82.
- Read chapters 9-11 in the You’ll Get Through This
- Grab your Bible and enjoy your personal study this week on pages 81-89.
- Join the conversations about the study and in our private Facebook group.
Scriptures this Week
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. Help us to be brave enough to tell You about the scoundrels and scandals that have caused so much heartache and damage. Help us to face our history and ask for Your healing in our lives. We don’t want to pass on pain to the next generation. Help us say it stops with us. We love You, Lord. Amen.