Learn to Function Better in Dysfunctional Families

Jealousy can cause a terrible amount of dysfunction in your life.

James Greer
Nov 25, 2018    32m
In this sermon Pastor James Greer talks about both jealousy and favoritism, and the role they play in family dysfunction. He says that even Jesus had favorites, but he treated people with love and kindness. He said the key to avoiding jealousy is to tailor your activities to honor the strengths and interests of the person you are with. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: 00:01 Morning Journey Church, some of y'all can relate to that for your dysfunctional Thanksgiving. Hey, first of all, let's welcome Alexandria. Amen. Hey, one of our staff, Stephen Robert's wife Miranda, it's her birthday, so happy birthday over there. And to our staff, Kayla here.

James Greer: 00:21 But God has really, really blessed us with the Haiti thing. It's just rocking out of the house. I thank you, so many of you all that have already sponsored a child. You can sponsor one from $8 a month, all the way up to pick a particular child for $1,500, and I've got mine right here, which I love. And I can actually see him, I'm going to be able to track him and see how he's doing, and how he's growing. Also, if you haven't got one of these, I would get one. It's a prayer guide for your child, or your grandchildren. Of course it was birthed out of praying for our kids in Haiti, but whether you're sponsoring a child in Haiti or not, you go back to that counter and get you a prayer guide because you can use it for your kids and your grandkids. Amen.

James Greer: 01:06 Christmas spectacular. Oh, it's going to be spectacular. It's going to be held at the Alexandria campus. If you have not volunteered, and you want to be a part of that, you can do that today. But also we're going to have a volunteer, and a little prayer rally, at 12:45 at Journey Church campus, if you want to be a part of that. I know it's 8:30 in the morning, but some of you can go eat and come back, but if you want to be a part of that, I just want you to know that it will be here at 12:30 today. Also, we'll have a prayer guide for that.

James Greer: 01:41 Hey, I want you to encourage you to invite people, you got hand out cards, and to be a part of promoting what God is doing. I mean, we're so blessed at Journey Church, that not only that we accept people from where they at no matter what they've done, God accepts us. I love that every morning when I get up, I love one of my favorite verses. God's mercy is new every single morning. Because see over the week, many times you do things and say things you wish you hadn't done. And if you're not careful the devil will begin to discourage you and defeat you and not allow you to enjoy the blessings that God has for you. You do understand, really important listen, that one of Satan's greatest tricks, greatest tools, is to use unmet expectations with the people closest to you, to bring about an offense. In other words, the closer you are to somebody, and the reason you need to understand that is because you've got the holidays coming. You're going to be with the people that you love the most, but Satan knows that. So what he'll do is he'll raise your expectations, and it gives an opportunity for greater offense against the people that you love the most. Then if you're not careful, if you don't understand what's going on, the offense then causes jealousy and anger and dysfunction and destruction.

James Greer: 02:58 Now I'm going to give an insight about jealousy, because jealousy is really one of the main things that brings about destruction within a home, and with family, and with kids. We all know families and children and have some of them. Maybe they don't even speak to each other, they don't talk to each other, they don't come to the family function, but really jealousy is birthed out of lack of trust and faith in Jesus Christ. See, because when you're really jealous, or your mate's really jealous, or your kids are really jealous, they don't think that God can handle it. And so it's really revealed in resentment and anger and misbehavior, but it's birthed, because you really don't trust God that he can handle the situation.

James Greer: 03:42 That's why First Corinthians 2:5, "So your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the (What?) power of God." Your faith should not trust, your faith should not be in your parents, or your other kids. God says, listen, your faith should be in the power of Jesus Christ. I want you to remember that jealousy is birthed out of lack of trust and faith in God. It'll change your whole perspective next time. I mean, we started this series a couple of weeks ago. In week number one, we learned that dysfunction is basically because we received the genes of our parents, and the environment that we live in. So how you behave is greatly determined by the genes of your mother and dad, plus the environment that you were raised in. Now that can change, you'll always have the pull, but when you get saved, you get re-gened or you get the Holy Spirit. And so now you have the genes and the environment, and you've got the Holy Spirit. And still less apart from transformation, which is taking God's Word, and thinking about it and applying it in your life. Your genes and environment will be stronger than even your Christian birth. No, that's pretty strong. That's why it's very important for you to understand your mate, or your kids. First of all, the genes of their parents, and second of all, the environment they were raised in. Because see if they were really raised in a real, real dysfunctional environment. I'm dysfunctional, you're dysfunctional, we're all dysfunctional, but you got to learn to function within that environment. And if you're not careful, if your environment is operated dysfunctional all your life, when you try to function correctly, that will make you feel dysfunctional. Okay, so genes, environment, and regened.

James Greer: 05:34 Then the second week we said, the real secret, the reason that we're dysfunctional, we inherited from our parents, our grandparents, and our great, great, great grandparents, all the way back to Adam and Eve. And the secret of dysfunction, come from deception, and being dissatisfied with all that God has given you. When you become deceived and dissatisfied with what God's given you, you begin to operate and dysfunction, and it brings destruction. That's why I say over and over and over, remember generosity fights greed. Practice being generous. Practice being generous with kind words, practice being generous with your money, so it will fight greed, do random acts of generosity.

James Greer: 06:20 And third, today, we're going to be looking at biblical dysfunctional families. But the main thing we're going to focus on today is how jealousy lead to destruction, and how jealousy leads to destruction in every family. We can learn in First Corinthians 10:6 says, "These things (The Old Testament.) were written for examples for us to learn." In other words, what we read in the Old Testament really happened. They were physical examples of spiritual application that God wants us to learn today.

James Greer: 06:53 Now we're going to start out about Joseph and his brothers, and we're going to looking Genesis 37:3-4, Israel or Jacob, he loved Joseph, that was his son, more than all his children. Well, that's going to cause a problem. Because he was a son of his old age, also he made him a tunic or a coat of many colors. In other words, it was an elaborate coat. It was like standing in front of all your kids and saying, hey, you know, you're going to Walmart and going to get the cheapest thing they got, but I'm bringing you to Neiman Marcus, and I'm buying you the very best, and you did it right out in front of them. But what happened was this, verse four says, now Israel loved Joseph more than all the children of his old age because he did that. But you know what happened? But when his brother saw it, that their father loved him more than all his brothers, guess what they did? They hated him, and they couldn't even speak peacefully about him. You do understand jealousy causes brothers and sisters to be ugly to each other? I mean, even when your kids were little, they don't even know it. Have you ever seen them fight over the same toy? I mean, they don't even want it until the other one gets it, and then that one wants it. I mean, you know, and so it's the same toys, it's the same food. You got bigger ice cream, you got more than I did. But what happens is that childish is jealousy, turns into adult jealousy, and it becomes ugly. And it even comes to the point that family members are not even speaking to each other, way back in Genesis. So they hated him so much that couldn't even speak peacefully to him.

James Greer: 08:38 You got a family members a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, and they're not even speaking to each other. You're going to be glad you're here today, because that what was happening, that's dysfunction at its worst. That's a picture of what really happened. Now I'm going to give you three insights about dysfunction and jealousy that are not on your outlines. But they're so important, because two or three of them I've never heard them preached on. But I want to make them real clear, and I think it'll change your perspective on showing favoritism.

James Greer: 09:09 Let's go back to Genesis chapter 37:3-4 it said, "And Jacob loved Joseph more than he did any of his other sons, because Joseph was born after Jacob was very old. Jacob had given Joseph a fancy coat." And he did that to show, uh oh, to show that he was his what? What kind of son was Joseph? His favorite. Now moms and dads, if I asked you to stop right here, and don't answer this question because you might be sitting with your kids. And if I said, do you have a favorite? You would all say, no. I didn't say do you love them all? I said, do you have a favorite? And I can prove to you, later on, and I've never heard it preached on. Every one of you probably do have a favorite, it might be a favorite son, it might be a favorite daughter. And so Joseph's brothers, they hated him because of that, and they weren't friendly to him. It said that it became because of this outlandish favoritism, that his brothers became so jealous that they actually hated him, and didn't even want to speak any nice words about him.

James Greer: 10:18 Insight number one, you're ready? Don't allow favoritism to turn everything and everybody into a frenzy, and act fool hearted. Don't do that. There's going to be acts of favoritism in your life, it's going to happen on your job, it's going to happen in your family, it will happen in the church. Now you have the choice. You're going to let God handle it, or you're going to try to handle it. See, Joseph learned later on, after he went through all this, to let God handle it. His brothers were fool heart, and they tried to handle it themselves. So the first thing I want you to know, when favoritism come, don't get into a frenzy, and don't act fool hearted. Let God handle it.

James Greer: 12:32 Number two, remember this? Jesus had favorites. I love it because in 35 years, I've never heard a message on Jesus having favorites. Does Jesus love everybody? Yes, he does. Does Jesus want everybody saved? Yes he does. Does Jesus have favorites? Yes he does. I can prove it to you in the New Testament and Old Testament. James, Peter, and John were the inner circle. It's favoritism that often causes jealousy, and that jealousy jeopardizes every relationship in your life. But Jesus had favorites, and yet it didn't jeopardize every relationship. Jesus had favorites, yet Jesus never sinned. Amen. Let me give you a few examples. Mark 5:37, you said, well brother James, why you camping out here? [inaudible] there because I think if you understand that Jesus had favorites, you'll look at favoritism in a different way. And you won't allow Satan to cause wrong expectations, to bring offense in your marriage, in your family, and with your kids. In Mark 5:37, it says, Jesus didn't let everyone go with him, where are the other twelve? He just let Peter and James and John, and where were they going? There was a little girl, and she was sick, and they said she was dying. In verse 39, "And when Jesus went inside, he said, why are you crying and carrying on like this. The child isn't dead, she just asleep." Let me tell you what everybody else thought that she was dead. Nobody else, none of the rest of the disciples got to come in, only Peter, James, and John.

James Greer: 12:35 But let me stop right here and tell you something. It is Jesus Christ that can bring dead things alive. Now this girl was dead. And you're going to find out in the next vers, Jesus brought her alive. See, you might be here today, and your marriage might be dead. Your relationship might be dead. Your finances might be dead. Praise God, one touch from Jesus Christ, and you can be alive again. Amen. You know what's dead in your life, that you need to come alive? It was only Peter, James and John that got to experience the miracle. Jesus said, arise, and she arose, and she was healed that very minute. So not everyone got to experience the miracle. You Ready? God's favorites, get to experience God's miracles.

James Greer: 13:18 Now that wasn't the only one, you could drop down to Mark 9:2 and look at this. In 9:2 it says this. Now, it was after Jesus took who? Peter, James, and John. If I'm the twelve, I'm going to say, hey Jesus. I mean, you know Peter, James, John, they got to go in the house, they got to see you heal the girl. And now you're bringing them., and they led them up to a to a mountain apart by themselves, left the rest of them down there. And he was transfigured right before them. Man, now here's Peter, James and John, they got to see the miracle of the girl. Now they're getting to see Jesus being transfigured, the essence of Jesus turning inside out. The glory of God right before them, they got to see it. See, the people that are favored with God, they get to recognize and see miracles that nobody else does.

James Greer: 14:13 Now if that wasn't enough, Jesus is getting ready to be at the end of his life. And in Mark 14:32, he does this, "And he came to a place which is named Gethsemane. This is where Jesus begged for God, for him to remove the cup from him. And he said to the disciples, the other rest of them, sit here while I go and pray. That's what he said in verse 33, and he took Peter, James, and John with him. What is the deal? Jesus is showing favoritism. And then he began to be troubled, and greatly distressed. In other words, Jesus brought them in to the very inner circle of his life, and he and when he's talking about my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, he said, stay here and watch. And he said, listen, I didn't bring them all. I told the rest of them, y'all wait here right now, but I'm going to bring Peter, James, and John. Let me ask you a question. Does it look like Jesus has some favorite? Yes or no? Yes, it does. Favorites have a better understanding of the suffering of God in the people they love. If that wasn't enough, Jesus is now going into the cross. Everybody's basically abandoned him, except for a few, and they denied him. He sticks to being nailed to the cross, and in John 19:27, Jesus in his agony, it says, when Jesus, therefore he saw his mama, his mother, and his what kind of disciple?

Congregation: 15:46 Favorite.

James Greer: 15:49 See, he's at the end of his life, what they think, his physical life. And he saw his mother there, and he saw his favorite disciple there with him. And he said, to his mother, this is my son. Really what he was saying to this, he said, listen, my favorite disciple is with her, and he'll say, this is my son, and that's my mother. He said, listen, I'm fixing to physically die. I'm going to be buried, but that's just temporary. I'm going to have the resurrection, I'm going to appear to y'all, and then I'm going to go to be with my father in heaven. I want somebody to take care of my mother, and he said, thank God I have a favorite disciple and his name is John. And he's really saying, John, you're here, everybody else may be gone, but you're here with me. Take care of my mother when I leave. See, there's something about having favorites. Favorites are available, and they're faithful. John was. He was a favorite. Matter of fact, if you went all the way back to to the Lord's supper, it was Jesus' favorite disciple John, he was sitting next to him. So what I'm trying to tell you, is yes Jesus had favorites. Amen.

James Greer: 17:06 But what I want you to understand, Jesus never sinned, Jesus had a favorite, because Jesus was always fair. So if you don't get anything else today, I want you to learn to be fair. Be Fair with your mate, be fair with your kids, be fair with your employers, being fair with your employees. You might have a certain favoritism, you don't need to show them favor. You might have a favoritism, because there they're available. That you might have a favoritism, because there there's a chemical bond. You might have a favoritism, because they have a gene that's like yours. But no matter what it is that you have a favorite, you always have to be fair. Amen. Okay?

James Greer: 17:46 See, part of the problem with Joseph was this...I mean with Jacob, is he showed favoritism, and yet he was still not fair. He would do for one son, what he would not do for the other sons. See parent favoritism can cause dysfunction. The truth is that it's not so much the favoritism, as it is not being fair. So most parents have a favorite. Now children don't go home. Tony, don't reach over and ask your mother, say, which of us is her favorite? Don't put her on the spot. She has never been so steel in her life, she has been looking straightforward. Hey, and y'all have one of your sons with you so, and they're twins, don't do that. But they do. And you're saying I knew it, I knew it, I'm him, I'm her. Not necessarily, but it's okay. Your parents have a favorite, but they don't want you to know it, and they love you anyway. Okay?

James Greer: 18:49 God had favorites. David had a bunch of brothers, but God chose David. I mean God chose Joseph over his brother. See, but the truth about everything is life is not fair, but God is always right. So I wrote in my own thing, why does God have favorites? Would you like to know why God has favorites? I don't know. We can't truly understand it. Why do you have favorites? We can't truly comprehend it, except for it's something to do with an all knowing God that knows what we're going to do, and gives us a free choice whether we're going to do it. It's God's will for everybody to say God had his favorites, it has something to do with you being obedient with what the little that God gives you, that he believes that you'll be obedient when it gets bigger.

James Greer: 19:39 So here's the insights parents. Parents, favoritism can cause dysfunction in the family. Amen. If you're a parent, and have a favorite, which you do. Try not to show too much favoritism. Jacob not only had a favorite, but he was not fair. You're not going to do the same thing for every child, that isn't what it means. He gave him a coat, but what did he do for the other ones? Apparently nothing. You might take one of the kids to the ballgame. You might want to take one of them hunting. You might want to take one of them shopping. You might not do the exact thing, that isn't what it means. It means you know each child, you love each child, and you're fair with each child. See you don't do the same thing, because they're not created the same way. So your going to ask yourself, ask your mate, do you really think I'm fair with each child? If you really want to know, your mate will tell you. They'll say, no, I can't believe you let so and so do so and so. Their going to look at you and say, I can't believe you do so and so. So we want to cause confrontation, we want to get to the truth. Amen. We don't even treat, you ready? This is powerful, you don't treat each child the same. I grew up hearing it preached, treat every child the same. I didn't have treat every child the same. One of my kids. I won't tell which one it was, Jimmy. From the time he was three or four, get your hands off of that. I'd slap his hands. I can look at Shannon, I said, get your hands off that, she'd start crying. You don't have to treat them all the same, but you have to be fair. They're uniquely and wonderfully made. The psalmist says, fearfully and wonderfully made. The [inaudible] says, your body, your shape, is breathtaking. God created you that way. So you don't treat them all the same, you just love them all. Amen. Who's your favorite?

James Greer: 21:45 Fifth Start Teaching your children that life's not fair, but God's always faithful. I have never seen a time in history where so many parents are saying, well it's just not fair for my child. They're not fair on the ball team, they're not fair at school. It was just, I can't believe, it's just not fair. Life is not fair. Amen.

James Greer: 22:04 Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers. He was lied about by the people that he served. He was thrown in jail for trying to be faithful to God, but God is faithful because at the end he was promoted to be the second most powerful person in Egypt, if not the world. See, life didn't look fair, but God was what? Faithful. Teach your kids, life is not fair, but God is what? Faithful. And not only the kids, there's many parents you need to learn. You'll go to work, and you'll say, man, it just wasn't fair what happened to me? Life is not fair. The sooner you learn that life's not fair, the better you can enjoy life. Amen.

James Greer: 22:39 Don't focus. Listen, this is important. Don't focus on fairness, focus on God's faithfulness. That is good, brother James. I just got that this morning. Because if you're not careful, what we do is what? We focus on what is fair. God says, focus on faithfulness. Because what you appear, and see, and feel as being unfair, God will ultimately be faithful. That's why I've told you, what we call disappointments is development. The greater the dream, the greater than development. How you develop will greatly determine your destiny. When we don't allow disappointments to develop us, we'll go to the same disappointments again. Pain is always part of the process off promotion.

James Greer: 23:19 Alright, insights for the kids. Don't allow favoritism to defeat you, allow favoritism to develop you. Remember the child that shown the most favoritism, usually becomes very fragile, fragile things break easy. The other children will have to help repair the broken one. How you respond to responding correctly to suffering, disappointment, pain, and responsibility is really the only way to mature in Christ. Responding correctly to suffering, disappointment, pains, and responsibility is really the only way to mature in your life and in Christ to enjoy what God really has for you.

James Greer: 24:10 See, Joseph didn't at first, because he was a spoiled little Brat, but later on he learned to respond correctly. That's what James 1:4 says, and I'm working on message right now. It says, "But let patience." Because I'm going to do a message on patience. "Let patience have its perfect work (Why?) that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." In other words, it says don't try to get out from under your pressures in your life premature, let it do its work, while you begin to mature. That you become well developed, you have no deficit in your life. See, we've got to learn how to respond under the pressures of life.

James Greer: 24:50 Second, you ready? Very important. I know parents that hadn't learned it, I don't care what their age is, but children really wrestled with it. Get your self worth from God, not man, not your parents and not your peers. We all know adults that are still upset because they didn't feel like your parents loved them enough, or did enough for them. All rejection and jealousy is rooted in misplaced identity. And some people are just destroying their lives because they're trying to get their self worth, and their approval, from mom or dad or some peer in their life, instead of getting it from God. The longer it takes you to get your self worth in God, the longer it will be before you realize how worthy you really are. You were worthy enough for God to love you, and send his son to die for you. You are very worthy, you're loved, you're breathtaking. The Bible says, even my father and mother forsake me, God will take you in.

James Greer: 25:52 Third, jealousy will jeopardize your future. Jealousy can never be justified. Jealousy jeopardizes every relationship in your life. Jealousy is birthed out of lack of faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Jealousy is the desire to deprive another, of the pleasure that draws attention away from them. Jealousy is when you have all you need, and you still want what somebody else has. Joseph brothers, did they have all they need? Absolutely. Were they jealous? Yes, because the tension start going from them to Joseph. Jealousy, most of it leads to destruction. And the reason that leads to destruction is not just self justification because of what your parents, did or your boss did, our your pastor did, it's because of your lack of faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

James Greer: 26:46 See, rather than promoting harmony, many holidays bring about conflict, and difficulties, and jealousy, and grudges, and resentment, and misunderstanding. Instead of that, start seeking peace. Matthew 5:6 said, "Blessed is the peacemaker." Surrender is not weakness, it's strength under control. Surrender is really the pathway to being satisfied, and the safeguard against jealousy. When I'm in service, and when I surrender. Trey, when I'm worshipping, when I surrender. I'm not putting my hands down, I'm putting them up. I'm saying, hey God, here I am, it's all yours, it's out of my control. It's all yours. My surrender to God is not weakness, it is strength under control. Learn to surrender. Amen. Brother James.

James Greer: 27:33 First Corinthians 3:3 it says "You're still not spiritual, (Why?) because there's jealousy." Jealousy is an indication you're not spiritual, or you're not saved. You're quarreling among you, and this shows that you're not spiritual. You're acting like people all over the world. God says, listen, when you're saved, when you began to mature. You ready? Your behavior changes. See, jealousy is so powerful, it can divide nations, it can divide the closest friend. When you feel jealousy coming, start focusing on all that God's already given you, and what God's already done for you. I mean, Saul became jealous of David, and the relationship, turned the love to jealousy, and he almost tried to murder him. He tried to kill him, but David kept serving him anyway. And what happened is Saul lost his kingdom, and David got it.

James Greer: 28:30 Okay, we got to close. This is heavy duty. Can you imagine preaching to yourself about four times the same message, and then have to come preach it. Knowing that I do, and you do, and everybody I know struggles with some form of jealousy. And then when I understand jealousy is my lack of faith and trust in Jesus Christ. There's only one way to overcome jealousy, and that's through love. See, First Peter 4:8 says, "And above all things, have fervent love, one for another. (Why?) Love will cover a multitude of sin." The opposite of jealousy is love. The true definition of love is wanting the best for somebody else, in spite of your present circumstances and situation.

James Greer: 29:21 We've got to start closing, but I want you to know that jealousy reveals your lack of faith in God. Jealousy destroys relationships. That the only way to overcome jealousy is love. The Bible says your faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. See when you really become jealous, you ready? You put your faith in that person. You're saying, I'm looking for that person to meet needs that only God can. Don't allow jealousy to destroy your relationship. The only real cure for jealousy is love. The only true love that I'm talking about comes from God.

James Greer: 30:05 And God loved me and he loves you enough that he sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross, and raised on the third day, and if you've never accepted him as your personal savior, today is the day to do that. Some of you need to come in just a moment, I'm going to ask you to stand and pray in just a moment, you need to say, Hey, God helped me overcome jealousy. Listen to me, don't justify why you've done it. I didn't say that your mom, and your dad, and your boss, and everybody else will unfair, I'm telling you, life is unfair. God's worried about the way you respond, God, quite capable of taking care of them. Surrender it to God. There are some people here today need to ask God to help them with their jealousy, to overcome it with love. There's some people here today, they have responded ugly while there are jealous, and they need to go back and ask those people to forgive them. You want to know the quickest way to quit responding the wrong way, is you go back and ask the people to forgive you that you offended, because you don't like to do that. That's called humility. Yet the Bible says, confess your trespasses one to another, that you might be healed. There'll be some healing emotionally and physically that'll never come about, until you humble yourself, and ask the other people just forgive you.

James Greer: 31:22 Would just stand with me now, bow your heads. God, you are a powerful God. God I know the Bible says you're a jealous God. Yours is a love jealous. You love us so much, you don't want to be in second place, you want to be first place in our life. You love us so much, because you want what's best for us, and you know what's best for us. God, I pray if there's those here today that have never accepted your love, your gift, Jesus Christ. That today that they would walk to the front and say, Hey, I want that love. For those that have struggled with jealousy or they're struggling with jealousy like we all do. You're going to come today and say, God, I never realized that jealousy was birthed out of a lack of my love and faith and trust in you. And God the next time I start getting jealous, I'm going to turn it over to trust and faith and love in you. Some of you need to come and ask God to forgive you, and then you need to ask other people to forgive you. Some of you need to say, Hey, I've been coming to this church, I need to join today, I need to be part of this family. Some of you need to follow through in public, biblical baptism, the death, the burial and resurrection. And every one of us, we need to just come and say, God, I surrender my problems to you, I know there's absolutely nothing too hard for you. In the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360