Our Most Difficult Family Members

Title: Our Most Difficult Family Members

Bible Book: Luke 8 : 26-39

Author: David Cook

Subject: Home; Family



When a physician remarked on a new patient's extraordinarily ruddy complexion, he said, "High blood pressure, Doc. It comes from my family."

"Your mother's side or your father's," I asked? "Neither," he replied, “it's from my wife's family."

"Oh, come now," I said. "How could your wife's family give you high blood pressure?" He sighed. "You oughta meet 'em sometime, Doc!"

Perhaps some of you have difficult family members you have to deal with from time to time. Perhaps it is an in-law that is tough to be around or an aunt or uncle who is difficult to get along with. If I were to ask you, “Who is the most difficult member in your family?” immediately, someone will likely come to mind.

How do you respond to that person? Do you isolate yourself from them? Refuse to speak to them? Shun them? Are you embarrassed by them? Could the person you see as being the most difficult member in your family actually become an opportunity to minister the loving presence of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Every Christian should make loving their family priority, even those who are a bit rough around the edges. If this seems impossible right now to you, don’t panic. Thankfully the Bible gives us three stances to take as we deal with our most difficult family members.

I. Stay On Guard Against The Enemy’s Assault On Our Families

Satan is on the attack today and one of his main goals is to destroy the family. Spiritual warfare is real. Look around and you will find that that Christians are divorcing at a higher rate than non Christians. Our teenagers are departing from the Christian faith at an alarming rate as soon as they graduate from high school. Our children are being taught as soon as they enter school that there is no absolute truth they can stand on in life.

We must learn to put on the armor God has provided and wage war against the lies of the enemy. Satan knows that if a family is united on the Word of God and grounded through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they are a major threat to his demonic kingdom.

What is Satan’s game plan to destroy the family?

A. Satan Seeks To Blind Us

Plan 1 - Satan seeks to blind our families from knowing God

2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe.”

Two boys were walking home from Sunday school after hearing a strong sermon on the devil. One said to the other, "What do you think about all this Satan stuff?"

The other boy replied, "Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It's probably just your dad."

With masterful deception, Satan blinds and deceives people into thinking that life is all about money, advancement, fame and fortune rather than knowing Jesus and advancing His kingdom.

As much as Satan wants to blind your family from Jesus, much more God wants them in His family! God’s commission to Paul in Acts 26:18, “…to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified through faith in Me.”

B. Satan Seeks To Bind Us

Plan 2 - Satan seeks to bind our families in shackles of defeat

A defeated, disillusioned family is no real threat to Satan’s domain. Just as this poor, demon possessed man was in awful shape in the totality of his life, Satan lives to keep our families from experiencing new life in the Lord Jesus Christ! In Luke 8:29 we read, “For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles.”

One thing the enemy wants us to do is become discouraged and hopeless about our families. He wants us to believe the worst about our families instead of being excited about becoming a stronger family in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every family (even the most committed to Christ) faces its share of difficult issues to overcome. Recently Lifeway Christian Resources found the “Top 10 issues facing families today.” Here is that list:

  • Anti-Christian culture;
  • Divorce;
  • Busyness;
  • Absent father figure;
  • Lack of discipline;
  • Financial pressures;
  • Lack of communication;
  • Negative media influences;
  • Balance of work and family;
  • Materialism.

Satan brings shackles – Jesus wants your family in freedom! Luke 14:18-19

C. Satan Seeks To Break Us Apart

Plan 3 - Satan wants to separate us from one another in the family

This man was an outcast in the family. This was a mother’s son and a daddy’s boy. The Bible doesn’t tell us how he got into the kind of shape that he was in, but it does tell us this man had been troubled by demons “for a long time…And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.” Luke 8:27

“Lived in the tombs.” The location of his residence tells us he was separated from society. No one wanted to be around him. So many of us take our nice homes for granted. Sure, we may not live in the nicest home in the neighborhood, but compared to living in a cemetery full of dead men’s bones, most of our homes will do quite nicely!

Do you have family members no one wants to be around? Instead of being united with the family they are looked down upon. Maybe they have had an embarrassing past; maybe they look and act different than the rest of the family; maybe they have been troubled by various demons all their lives and have not found stability yet.

Satan works through division – He wants us as far away from God and one another as possible. Jesus can bring reconciliation and peace. That’s what the cross is all about! If you want to be blessing to your family, you ask God to make you a peace maker. First, because you have found peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1-2). Second, because you want reflect the Lord Jesus Christ in your daily life!

But with Satan assaulting the family daily with all his fiery weapons and schemes, we should be aware of his tactics, but also we must…

II. Stand In Faith For Our Families Over Fear

When God’s presence is real in your life, change is going to take place. Often when times call for change, it can make people a bit uncomfortable.

Remember a few weeks ago we talked about what God is doing in Jenna, LA? This small town in LA has experienced a tremendous, life changing, soul saving, city altering revival over the last 9 weeks.

Week 7 of the 9 week revival was held at the mostly black L&A Baptist Church. Their Pastor Jimmy Ray Young said, “Having the majority "white" revival congregants meet in the black church did much

in the way of reconciliation between the two races. What it did was show the black community that the white community was serious about reconciling. Members of our black churches realized that a work of God had taken place that moved the hearts of our white brothers and sisters so strongly that they desired fellowship with us on our side of the 'tracks.'"

When people choose to walk in an attitude of faith over fear it honors God and opens the door for His power to be unleashed!

A quote about faith I read recently said, “Faith is the person stepping out into the unknown, obeying God’s commands.”

Sadly, the people of the Gadarenes did not want Jesus like Jenna, LA wanted Jesus! They chose an attitude of fear over faith.

Here’s a few principles we can learn from Jesus and the Gadarenes townspeople.

A. Don’t Let Fear Keep You From Moving Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Look at how Jesus addressed this man. He simply asked him a question, “What is your name?” Instead of being afraid of the man or staying away from Him Jesus was willing to go where no one else would have dreamed of going.

Are you willing to follow Christ and have a conversation with someone others may look down upon? Often times, we let fear keep us from having meaningful conversations with family or friends because we don’t know how they might respond. We don’t want to hurt or offend anyone, so we keep quiet when we should speak up.

(Share Personal Witnessing Opportunity I had at Buick Dealership)

B. Don’t Let Fear Cause You to Treasure Possessions Over People

Read with me Luke 8:30-35, “Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. Now a herd of swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned. When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and the country. Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.”

It’s obvious these folks didn’t have their priorities in order. They cared more for pigs than they did about people! It’s the same way in our lives today. Our checkbooks are a great indicator of who the Master of our lives is.

Ken Gire in his book, Intimate Moments With The Savior asks, “How many lives were unchanged, how many sick not healed, how many captives went unreleased, because of a herd of swine was judged as more valuable than a human soul?” Everyone of us must decide if people or possessions will be most important in our lives.

C. Don’t Let Fear Can Cause You To Make Regretful Decisions

Luke 8:36-37, “They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon possessed was healed. Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear.”

What were these folks so afraid of? Perhaps they feared a change Jesus might want to bring about in their own lives. Perhaps they were so set in their lifestyle they feared Jesus might want to change them! They also may have been worried that if this Jesus stuck around “business as usual” might have to be abandoned.

Fear can cause us to make bad decisions. The best thing that could have ever happened to this region would be Jesus. Rather than rejoicing in the presence of the Lord, fear took over and caused them to ask Jesus to depart from their land!

John Oxenhan wrote a poem, GADARA, A.D. 31: "Rabbi, be gone! Thy powers bring loss to us and ours. Our ways are not as Thine. Thou lovest men, we--swine. Oh, get you hence, Omnipotence, And take this fool of Thine! His soul? What care we for his soul? What good to us that Thou hast made him whole, Since we have lost our swine?" (In the book of “regretful decisions” this has to be one of the worst, Jesus never returned to this region again!)

But if we do as the word of God says and stand in faith for our family, we also must…

III. Surrender Ourselves and Families To The Lordship Of Jesus

This story should be such an encouragement to all of us. It tells us there is no family member too difficult and no problem too big in our own lives that Jesus Christ can’t restore! If you are ever tempted to think your family or situation is too difficult, remember what Jesus did for the man formerly known as “Legion!”

We all have difficult family members, but let’s remember, Jesus loves them more than we ever could. In fact, we are co-laborers with Christ in living and sharing the wonderful words of life beginning with our family!

How can we do that today?

A. Obey Whatever Jesus Asks Of Us

Read Luke 8:38, “Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away…”

This was not what this new disciple wanted to do. He loved Jesus and wanted to remain with Him. That’s the way we all ought to be, but sometimes Jesus has work for us to do and often times He calls us to do things at first we don’t feel comfortable doing!

Is there something Jesus is calling you to this morning that you don’t want to do? It could be laying down a sinful habit, forgiving one who has offended you, sharing your faith with family or friend. It takes courage to obey the Lord. Obey whatever Jesus asks of you!

B. Return To Our Own Homes

Christianity begins in the home! What would happen if you went home today and begin to live Christ- like in front of your family? If you lived in such a way that others could see Jesus in you?

C. Tell What Great Things God Has Done For Us

I have a family member who lived most of her life for self. Because of this she lost her husband, the respect of her children, close friends and family. Things had gotten so bad that she even missed her own father’s funeral.

About 8 months ago, her attitude began to change. Suddenly she realized that all these years God

had not been against her but that she had turned from God. All the negativity she felt toward our family is changing and she’s apologized faithfully. She's planning to write a book about it telling her story. Telling others what great things God has done for her!

Are you discouraged about your most difficult family member? The worst thing you could do is let the enemy convince you they are not even worth the effort. The best thing you can do is stay on guard, stand in faith, and surrender yourself and them afresh to the Lord!

Here’s our greatest hope: The Savior is for our families. Don’t wait for God to change them, but allow God to change you! Are you willing to let Jesus have His way in your life this morning?

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