Families Need to Face Reality

by Joey Johnson 
September 24, 2012
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The Bible is a real book that gives the real story of real people and their real interaction with the real God! Therefore, the Bible is full of family mess. God does not hide the truth; He deals with reality. There can be no healing or freedom from family mess until we face the reality of what has happened.

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Take slavery, for instance. It is interesting to me that very few people seem to understand the ongoing impact of slavery upon the African-American community. If we go back three or four generations in our history, we come face-to-face with the ravages of slavery, and the American brand of slavery was one of the most dehumanizing forms of slavery known to humanity.

The family mess that was caused by slavery is still impacting us today. The three patterns of dysfunctional families apply to us: We still don't talk very freely; we still have difficulty feeling our real feelings; and we still have difficulty trusting one another, not to mention other ethnic groups.

But praise God, because He wants to deliver us from family mess. And He has experience in delivering people from the family mess of slavery. He delivered His chosen people, the Israelites, who had been in bondage in Egypt for 400 years. 

God took the children of Israel out of Egypt in one night, but it took God forty years to get the immediate impact of slavery out of the children of Israel. And even after all the adults of that generation had died, the people were still suffering the long-term impact of their previous enslavement. I am not bringing this up to make excuses for African-American people. I am bringing this up so that we may understand the reality of the damage that has occurred and realistically seek God for deliverance and healing. 

In His deliverance, God used both the crisis and the process of deliverance.

  • Deliverance from Egypt was a crisis. It happened miraculously, in one night, at once, and once and for all. God closed the Red Sea behind them so they couldn't go back.
  • Deliverance from the effects of slavery was a process. It took at least forty years in the wilderness, but probably additional time in the Promised Land.
God delivered African-Americans from slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation, though the Emancipation Proclamation has never been fully realized. Therefore, we are still struggling with the effects of slavery.

God took us out of the slavery of sin in the crisis of salvation. Jesus said that "if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36), but we are still struggling with the effects of sin. God is still taking slavery out of us in the process of progressive sanctification.

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The Biblical World Through New Glasses: Seeing the Bible through its Cultural Context 
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