How to Change Your Family

Posted by Jim Murphy on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Do you ever look at your family and wonder, “How on Earth did I end up with these people?” You’ve seen normal families on TV. Maybe you even know some families who seem normal, but that just doesn’t look like the people who live at your house. This is especially frustrating since you’re kind of stuck when it comes to family. You didn’t choose them. And while you can “un-friend” someone you can’t “un-family” them. So what are your options when it comes to a family that often feels “less than ideal”? In the Bible, Joseph was faced with the same question. And though he had every reason to walk away from his family forever, what he did instead gives us a clue how we can find the silver lining in our family story, even when circumstances aren’t perfect.


TRUTH: God wants you to have a great family.
REALITY: We usually respond to our family’s problems by ignoring them, playing the victim, or quitting. 


Joseph (Genesis 37:3-4; 45:4-11)


  1. Find Compassion – This may be hard to believe, but when God sees you, He doesn’t see your or your family’s dysfunction. He chooses to see you with compassion. He doesn’t see you as the sum of your mistakes or your family’s messed up tendencies. He sees you and your family members as people first. People that He loves. In the same way, when you choose to see your family members with compassion, not just all the ways they have let you down, hurt you, or annoyed you, you will have an easier time finding the silver lining. You will love more like God loves. And you may be surprised how you begin to see your family differently.
  2. Build Character – Character matter to God and in life. Without family, it would take us a lot longer to learn some of the more necessary lessons of life. Family, even dysfunctional families, can teach us to share time and space. They can teach us how to put others above ourselves, how to handle conflict, and how to live with people who are totally different from us. It can be a painful process, but there’s a result at the end totally worth it. It’s like working out. I never, and I repeat, never enjoy exercising at the time. But I’m always, and I repeat always, am glad I did it.

The truth is, your family may not act great, but God will help you respond in a great way.


Help students identify—take responsibility for—the way they respond to their family problems; and to encourage them to respond with more compassion.

  1. What are some odd things your family does?
  2. How do you tend to respond to family conflict? A) Ignore? B) Play the victim? C) Give Up/Quit?
  3. Why was Joseph’s response to his family so different than expected? (Leaders, be prepared to recap the story if necessary)
  4. Define the word compassion. How would your family look different if you responded with compassion?
  5. Complete the sentence...”Instead of (choose A, B, or C above), I will _______________________.”

The content of this post is based on curriculum provided by Orange: XP3.

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These posts are from the weekly lessons at Wednesday night FUEL. They are designed to share with you an outline of the content of our discussions, the small group questions, and ideas for conversations at home. Feel free to use these for your own conversations or lessons.

Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy, Associate Pastor, NextGen MinistriesAssociate Pastor NextGen Ministries

218-751-3699 ext 14



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