Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Story Continued...

Absalom commanded his servants, saying, "See now, when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, 'Strike Amnon,' then put him to death. Do not fear; have not I myself commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant." The servants of Absalom did to Amnon just as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose and each mounted his mule and fled.  2 Samuel 13:28-29
(II Samuel 13:28-29)
Absalom, who has lost trust in and respect for his father, takes the issue into his own hands and kills his brother Amnon.  Again David is grieved by his family and Absalom must go into exile for three years; but nothing else is done.  Absalom was continually reminded of Tamar’s pain for she lived in his household.  That so impacted him that he even named his only daughter ‘Tamar.’  He had never learned from his father how to correctly handle pain and hurt, though.  A scapegoat is found to blame for family problems in many dysfunctional families.

Absalom was clearly the scapegoat in David’s family.  He acted out the pain everyone else felt.  He didn’t go along with the ‘rules’ of keeping everything quiet and stuffed within, of blaming one’s self and avoiding the real issues.  Thus, to those in the family HE was the real problem.  If he’d have kept quiet all would have been fine!  Absalom just couldn’t keep his emotions locked in.  He created crisis after crisis.  He murdered Amnon, set Joab’s fields on fire and started a national civil war. 

Dysfunctional family members hope that the passage of time will heal the problems.  After Tamar was raped, no one did anything.  Even Absalom waited two years before killing Amnon, then waited five years to see what his father David really thought of him.  Dysfunctional families ignore hurts and emotional pain, hoping that time will heal the soul as it does the body.  Instead of fading, the hurts go deeper and continue to grow.

Finally, David allowed Absalom to return from exile and live in Jerusalem.  Absalom had to really force the issue to finally, after being back for two years, get to see his father David (II Samuel 14:30-32).  It’s important for a child, especially a son, to know where he stands with his father. David kissed Absalom but it was very superficial and no change or reconciliation took place, despite Absalom really wanting and needing this. This seems to have been the last straw for Absalom.  He set out to destroy his father.

David’s family is not the only family that has had these problems.  They are common today; even in churchgoing, religious, families.  In fact, being a good Christian family doesn’t guarantee immunity from dysfunction.  The signs in David’s family are not uncommon to all dysfunctional families:

·      trouble handling emotions
·      denying feelings
·      inability to express motions correctly
·      blaming others
·      overreacting to small things, etc.

These things are usually passed on from generation to generation.
Dysfunctional families are nothing new.  We can change ours so we don’t pass these things down to our children.  Do you recognize any of these signs in your family or family of origin? Who in David’s family do you most identify with?  What can you do right now to start moving into healthy relationships?  Each journey starts with one step. Take your first one now.

Scripture to Claim:
A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. O LORD, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of my soul, "There is no deliverance for him in God." Selah. But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. Psalms 3:1-3 

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