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How to Deal with Family Drama

Why is family drama so hard?

  • Expectations of our parents and siblings
  • Emotional intensity
  • The power of negative memories
  • Embarrassment over sin and mistakes
  • Differences in age, upbringing and perspective

But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said. So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said. But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them. GENESIS 50:15-21 NLT

To deal with family drama, I need to…

Do my part to bring healing

Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” LUKE 12:13-14 NLT

  • 8, Challenger: Deal with the issue but don’t destroy the family
  • 9, Peacemaker: Use your gifting but declare what’s right
  • 1, Reformer: Don’t focus only on the big picture or lose connection
  • 2, Helper: Step back and allow others to figure it out
  • 3, Achiever: See the person and the relationship as the goal
  • 4, Individualist: Don’t allow emotion to cloud your judgment
  • 5, Observer:Express your feelings as you share your thoughts
  • 6, Loyalist: Share your fears but listen to others’ words
  • 7, Enthusiast: Work hard to not give up if it isn’t going well

Own my part

Joseph was responsible for arrogance (GENESIS 37:5)

Jacob was responsible for preference (GENESIS 37:3)

The brothers were responsible for vengeance (GENESIS 37:18)

Honor my family

If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” EPHESIANS 6:2 NLT

Navigate difficult family members and avoid destructive ones

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. EPHESIANS 4:2 NLT

Be ready to forgive

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. EPHESIANS 4:32 NLT

Not give in to bitterness if it doesn’t go the way I thought it should

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words… as well as all types of evil behavior. EPHESIANS 4:31 NLT

Trust God in the process

My Notes

Discussion Questions

  1. In what ways have you encountered “family drama” and how has it affected or directed your life?
  2. Read Ephesians 6:2. What specific things have you done, or do you do, to honor your father and mother? In what ways has that honor, or lack thereof, affected your relationship with them?
  3. Read Ephesians 4:2 What are some of the ways that you are patient, or that you “make an allowance,” for your family and their quirks and in what ways could you improve?
  4. Read Hebrews 12:15. As you look at your familial relationships right now, who are you bitter towards and in what ways is that bitterness poisoning your relationship?
  5. Read Epheasians 4:32. Who in your family do you need to begin to forgive this week for what they have done to you?
  6. As the enneagram and this series helps show us our part in our family drama, who do you need to ask forgiveness from and what is your first step in that process?