Beautiful Dysfunction


Dysfunctional is a colorful word when applied to family and church.

It doesn’t take much scratching to get below the facade of a perfect family. At some level, all are dysfunctional.

Between my wife and me, our grandparents had over 40 siblings. Add 40 spouses to the siblings, a gazillion kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, another gazillion spouses of the descendants, and I am now kin to people I don’t even know.

With numbers like that, opportunities for finding dysfunction are enormous. Like other families, we don’t corner the market. The fact is I don’t have to look beyond self to find dysfunctional behavior.

However, looking to others’ dysfunction brings much greater fun and laughter to my own soul. It is a lot more fun to tell stories of our eccentric second cousin who dressed to the nines, never had a hair out of place, but could never get the Sunday noon meal finished until 3:00 in the afternoon. Then there was my uncle who had as many wives as Elizabeth Taylor had husbands.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was a bottom line—we were family. The beauty is not in the dysfunction. The beauty is in the fact—we were family. Blood is stronger than dysfunction.

I find it interesting when I attempt to relate the same standard to the family of God—His church.

My understanding and acceptance of others’ behavior within my Jesus family has greater limits. We too are a family established through the blood of Jesus. His blood is thicker—and more precious—than human blood flowing within my veins.

With my spiritual family I am less tolerant than I am with my hereditary family.

Why is it that I am constantly tempted to count someone in or out of my church family because I don’t agree with his or her conclusions or weird actions?

Like my hereditary family, my church family lacks perfection. First, and foremost, it is because I am a member of both groups.

Here’s a strange thought. What if instead of thinking of dysfunction as resembling a wart, I begin to think of it as a beautiful opportunity?

ocd lawnLike my lawn, if I can acknowledge the church as God’s creation, instead of a scar on the landscape, the Spirit can transform dysfunction into a canvass to enhance God’s glory. A little fertilizer here, some water there, plant additional seed, uproot a poison weed, trim the edges, and watch it grow by God’s power.

While on earth, beautiful dysfunction is the seedbed from which we can all be transformed and grow more like Jesus. Why would I want to turn away from someone like me who needs transformation?

Blood spilled from a cross covers dysfunction.

Stay tuned. – Gary J. Sorrells  – On Cross Church

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