Going Back in Order to Go Forward
Encounter: Make space for prayer and begin your time by reading slowly through Genesis 50:14-21 NIV and 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 The Message, underline words or phrases that talk about what message God is giving through Joseph’s life and new life given through Christ.
When I served our country in the US Army back in the 80’s, I was assigned the job of Morse Code Interceptor. This meant I would go through a yearlong training at the Military Intelligence headquarters and learn a new language. This new language “spoke” through a series of dots and dashes arranged to represent the letters of the alphabet and when combined in a certain coding order would carry secret messages known only to the sender and the receiver. The only time these messages would be understood by someone outside is when the message was intercepted, copied and deciphered by the analyst on duty who could break the code. If there was some sort of threat or danger this message was passed on to those who could respond to preserve health and safety.
From the time we were born into our families of origin (or adopted into them), we were sending and receiving messages as we learned the secret language spoke only by our family of two to four generations. We learned through the dots and dashes of our own value systems certain ways of relating and how to live in this world. The messages we received at the most formidable times in our lives now affect every facet of our lives today, from how we understand God, our identity, the relationships we choose, education, work ethic and from the core of our soul, our emotional health and how it connects with our spiritual life.
Pete Scazzero writes, the choice to embrace our past grants us certain opportunities and gifts. It also hands us a certain amount of “emotional baggage” for our journey through life. For some of us this load is minimal; for others, it is a heavy burden to carry.
Going back to intercept, copy and decipher the messages we have collected over time can help us “break the codes” that can help free us from destructive patterns of our past, no matter how small or secret they are, so we can go forward and live the life of love that God intends. God then intercedes for us as we pass these messages on to Him as one who can transform us and teach us a new language. A language that sends and receives messages that bring life, truth and love that transform us to be more like Jesus.
Fifteen people are going through the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course to learn a new language and many of you are reading the book on your own. The hopeful thing is that when we do this kind of work in our generation, we ensure that the messages we send and receive will write a new story, a magnificent story, God’s story written through our lives for His glory and His name through a new language. We surely are a Masterpiece in Progress.
With you on the Journey,
Reflect: We were born into a certain family, with many positive and negative aspects that affect our lives. Often, we try to deny the pain and dysfunction of our family of origin or try to create a false persona to avoid dealing with it. How does living in denial or illusion about our family of origin hurt us and hinder us from becoming spiritually and emotionally mature?
Encourage: God allowed the evil of his brothers to take place. He didn’t cause it. Joseph trusted God throughout the process of going from the pit to the palace. In the end, God defeated the evil against Joseph by accomplishing something great—Joseph’s family was saved from famine and the nation of Israel was able to flourish. How does this encourage you concerning how negative things from your family have affected you?
Gather: With a friend, your Life Group or Triad, Read Genesis 45:1-3. Discuss how being honest about your pain, sadness and loss helps you break free from family dysfunction and hurt. Pray for one another and ask the Lord to heal you from your past. What messages can you rewrite? Share these new messages with one another.