Monday, May 12, 2008

Toxic Families

Yesterday I continued our sermon series on Handling Toxic People. The topic was handling toxic familiy members. You can listen here. Below is the outline.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. -1 John 4:7 (NIV)

A relationship is defined as toxic when two people are stuck in a way of relating that’s poisoning them both. Here are a few facts about toxic relationships:

We ALL have toxic family members even the Bible admits this, beginning with the book of Genesis. Being imperfect is not what makes us toxic. We are toxic when we are stuck.
All toxic relationships are not equal; some situations are short-term and some are long-term.
When it’s toxic, we must act. We shouldn’t just study the situation; we need to do something about it.

Four Prayers to Handle Toxic Family Members

Father, strengthen me to accept my limitations.

We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. -2 Corinthians 4:7 (CEV)

And then He told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. -2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (Message)

Father, enable me to forgive my family.

Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. -Matthew 18:21-22 (NAS)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. -Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

Father, empower me to change my thinking.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is His good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Father, free me to accept your love.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us. -1 John 4:16-19 (NIV)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

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