February 1, 2009
We are talking about Parental Elephants. We are talking about those creatures that are tearing up our homes. They’re tearing up our living rooms. They’re tearing up the walls. They’re tearing up our relationships. They’re tearing up people. What are the elephants? They are the obvious, damaging truths that we choose to ignore. I will say it one more time. They are the obvious, damaging truths that we choose to ignore. They tear up our home. Elephants aren’t made to live in our home. They’re not made for our home. They roam. They go a lot of miles to find food. And they tear things up that get in their way. Tonight we’re going to talk about trampled. What happens when an elephant tramples you? It tramples your furniture? We’re talking about places in your heart.
I have this chair here and this chair is broken. And the broken chair is the elephant in the room. All of us, whether we want to admit it or not ‑‑ all of us parent, to some degree, from a broken chair. You know in the Bible the chair is a place of authority; it’s a place of influence; it’s a place of leadership in the home. As a parent the chair is where I hold my kids and the chair is where I mold my kids. I hold them and I mold them from this chair. Now if you notice, there is a leg that is broken on this chair. I don’t know about you, but have you ever eaten in a restaurant where the table leg is not right. Have you ever sat on a chair and it’s not right. So you go to the bathroom and get some toilet paper, wrap it up, and stick the toilet paper under it. Have you ever done that? I’ve done that. You take napkins and do what you can do to stabilize the chair because the chair’s unstable. And see, the broken chair is the hidden wounds in my heart. And hidden wounds inside my life are different than physical wounds on the outside. Physical wounds heal a whole lot faster than hidden wounds do. Here’s what happens: Just like with this chair, when I’m parenting with unhealed wounds and I’m parenting from a chair of unhealed wounds I’m very frustrated as a parent a lot of times. Here’s the thing, it doesn’t work. Parenting from a broken chair doesn’t work. It’s broken. It doesn’t work. So what happens is I am parenting from an unhealthy position. It is unstable. It diverts my attention. I’m constantly unfocused and I’m parenting from a distorted perspective, a lot of times. It doesn’t work. See, when I’m parenting from an unhealthy position I recreate unhealthy positions. Unhealthy positions never reproduce healthy. Unhealthy doesn’t reproduce healthy. Unhealthy reproduces unhealthy. Are we tracking so far? Now, by the way, if you’re new here that’s kind of like, you’re not asleep out there, are you? Are we tracking? Good. Now you say well, how does the chair come in? The broken chair is memories in my life. It can be broken because of decisions other people have made. Stay with me. Hang with me. It is memories of rejection. It can possibly be memories of abuse. It can be memories of addiction. It can be memories of prejudice. It can be memories of abandonment. It can be memories of criticism. There are multiple places where we can experience this elephant trampling us. It can happen at school, on the school yard. Would you agree that kids are mean? I was brutal as a kid.
Even to this day I will come across people I went to school with on Facebook and I’m almost reluctant to talk to them because I was so cruel to them as a kid. I am so ashamed of that. Maybe it happened from your ex. Your ex broke the chair.
It can happen at work. It can happen in the neighborhood with friendships and it can happen at home. All of us, different degrees of it ‑‑ I realize nobody is perfect in here. Some of us, we’re parenting and our chair is a little bit off but for the most part you’re pretty healthy. But some of us, and I’m in this group, our chair is pretty broken. When I parent from a broken chair I parent out of fear. I parent out of frustration. I hold and mold my kids out of anger. I hold and mold my kids out of regret. I hold and mold my kids out of a chair that has a broken leg. And it affects my parenting just like it affects the meal I eat from a broken chair. Because parenting from a broken chair doesn’t work. Here is what really happens: When I parent from a broken chair I end up possibly breaking their chair. Oh, no. I don’t want to ‑‑ yes. See, if I don’t deal with my broken chair it doesn’t get fixed. Here is, as human beings, what we want to happen. When I come back in this room this chair is going to be fixed. So we walk away thinking that while we walk out that somehow that chair is going to be fixed. But we move back in to holding and molding and we sit in it and it’s broken. And it’s frustrating and unstable and it gets irritating. It just frustrates you. Let me tell you what else we do: We overcompensate in other areas. See some of us think, you know what ‑‑ a book here on “Good to Great.” How many of you have ever heard of the book “Good to Great”? You know what I’m going to do? I am going to make a list of everything ‑‑ I am going to go from being a good parent to a great parent and that’s noble. That’s not a bad thing; it is just not what stabilizes but we do it. We put it there and say I’m going to get this chair stabilized. And some of us have books on economics. We think here’s the deal, I parent out of fear because I worry about money. So if we had more money, if we had our home paid off, if the economy was more stable then my chair would be stabilized. So I get this under this side. I’m sorry; we have Dave Ramsey on this side. I like Dave Ramsey, he’s just not God. I’m not against him. We teach his stuff here. I like Dave Ramsey. Then we have a history book. You know what, I will do what I have done and if I will do what I have done, what I have seen modeled, then that will fix the chair. Now notice this, is the chair more unstable? Look. It is more unstable. It is out of whack even more because I have tried to stabilize it with the wrong things.
Let me tell you what else I do. I say, you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to put a new cushion on this chair. If I put a new cushion on this chair it is going to fix this chair. I am going to pad my life with more comfort. And if I can pad my life with more comfort then that is going to stabilize my life. Are you tracking with me? Yes.
And then sometimes, here is what we do. We say you know what? We’re going to repaint this chair. So we get our can of paint out and we repaint this chair. On the outside we’re repainting. Everything looks better. Everything on me looks better. I smell better. I talk better. I even look better. But I’m still broken.
Now here is the good news, Psalm 147:3. I love this verse; what a promise. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Who’s the “he”? It’s Jesus. Say it with me, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up his wounds.” Let me clear the air with everyone in this room. LifePoint Church is a place that we can be broken about broken hearts. This is not a churchy‑church. This is not a church where we’re going to be satisfied being fake. You may go somewhere else to find that. You won’t find it here. I’m open about my broken heart. And here is what I found to be true in my own life. Until you’re open about your broken heart, your broken heart will never be healed. As long as you deny your broken heart, your broken heart will not be healed. As long as you try to repaint your broken heart, your broken heart will not be healed. As long as you try to hide your broken heart, your broken heart will not be healed. As long as you try to overcompensate as a parent for your broken heart, you will be parenting from an unhealthy position. And unhealthy never reproduces healthy. Are we tracking? You say so Brad, how do I deal with this? I agree with you, Brad. I’m parenting from a broken chair. I have been trying to hold and mold from a broken chair. Does that mean you get everything wrong? No. It means it doesn’t work. It means you are not allowing Jesus to remake you even as a Christian to bring lasting healing in your life to where you could be the mom or dad or friend or wife or husband that God made you to be. You cannot enjoy life to the extent that God wants you to enjoy life because you’re parenting from a broken chair. You’re living from a broken chair. You’re employed from a broken chair. You’re dating from a broken chair. You’re friends with people living from a broken chair. You’re dreaming from a broken chair. You’re buying from a broken chair. You’re scheduling from a broken chair. And doing anything from a broken chair is doing that thing from an unhealthy position. You’re seating in an unhealthy position. And we can say you know what, God is so good. And he is good, but that doesn’t fix the chair. You know what? I don’t think it’s broken. If you just ignore it long enough you don’t realize it’s broken anymore. You may not realize it but people looking at you do. You know what? Here’s what I think. I believe in the power of positive thinking. I think if you don’t think about it and you focus on everything else eventually somebody else comes along and fixes the chair. It doesn’t happen. That’s a lie. I’m living from a broken chair.
How does the chair get stabilized? Are you ready? I’m going to give you three things and then you’re going to go party for the Super Bowl. Number one, I admit the chair is broken.
My chair is broken. Say that with me, my chair is broken. Say it again, my chair is broken. Look what the Bible says in Psalm 39:2, “But as I stood there in silence, not even speaking of good things, the turmoil within me grew worse. The more I thought about it the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words.” In other words, David said this: The longer I denied the brokenness, the more hot I got about it. In other words, the more I denied the broken leg the more I overcompensated; the more I got bitter; the more I got frustrated; the more ‑‑ are you with me? First I must to come clean that my chair is broken. And that’s hard to do. Because we hold ourselves to a standard that God doesn’t hold us to. We hold ourselves to a standard that we can’t have flaws. God doesn’t hold us to that. He doesn’t hold us to that to the extent that he sent his Son to pay for our flaws. We hold ourselves to a standard that our family can’t have flaws. What’s holding you from dealing with your chair is you’re afraid if you deal with it, it’s going to make your family look bad. No parents are perfect. Listen, I’m not a perfect parent. I’ve told you before; we stopped putting money in our kid’s college fund. We started putting it in their therapy fund, okay? Nobody is perfect. And your parents probably did the best they knew how to do. That’s not the case in every situation. Some of you did have whacko parents. Some of you did have the ‑‑ in most cases; your parents did the best they knew how to do. The thing is, you were raised by people with a broken chair, most likely, that denied they had a broken chair. And so because they denied they had a broken chair, your natural MO is to deny you have a broken chair. But here’s the good news, you don’t have to thanks to Jesus Christ. You don’t have to reproduce the broken chair. You don’t have to do that. I’m going to show you how in just a minute.
You have to come clean about it. There are three people we need to come clean with. We need to come clean with God. God, I am wounded. Now I realize sometimes, you can be so removed from wounds either by years or because there is a lot of scar tissue between what you remember and the wound. So you really can’t be specific what the wound was but you know something inside is not right. And I’m not talking about just doing life without Jesus. There are Christians, billions of them, that live with Jesus in their heart and they parent from a broken chair. You better believe it. Being a Christian does not exempt you from a broken chair. It avails you to the power that can heal the broken chair that you cannot have on your own. I admit to God, I come clean with God. Does he get shocked? No, he knows it. He was there when the wound happened. He was there when the abuse happened. What’d he do? He wept. Just like he wept when he saw his Son die on a cross, he wept when you were abused. He wept when you were abandoned. He wept when you stood there waiting for your dad to pick you up because it was his weakened and he didn’t do it and you were a brokenhearted little girl. He wept. You better believe it. He did. He wasn’t asleep.
Why’d he let it happen? You’ll have to ask him that. I don’t know. There are things about God that I don’t understand. It’s true but I don’t understand it. But he was there. So you come clean with God.
Number two, you come clean with yourself. This is empowering. I’m broken. I’m broken. It doesn’t mean you’re bad. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It doesn’t mean that you’re a loser. No, you’re honest. I’m broken in areas. There is something inside of me that’s not right.
I’m having panic attacks and I don’t totally know why. That’s brokenness. I’m angry all the time. I’m uptight all the time. I’m trying to hold on to my kids so tight ‑‑ I know they need freedom but I’m so afraid to extend the rope. I’m broken. I’m broken. The chair is broken. I say words that are cruel and damaging to my children. I allow them to say that to me and I don’t do anything about it. I’m parenting from a broken chair. Last weekend I spoke on discipline. Some of you went whoop when I talked about that. Do you know why? You are unwilling to discipline your children because you’re parenting from a broken chair. You’re afraid they won’t accept you. You’re afraid they won’t be your buddy. You’re afraid they’re going to hate you and have a picture of you with a bull’s eye on it when they get older. Here’s what happens, when the elephant breaks down my chair he breaks down my self-confidence and I parent from a position where I lack self confidence. He breaks down my security. That’s what abandonment does. That’s what abuse does. My pillars of security and in my life are removed so I feel vulnerable so I am parenting from a position of extreme vulnerability and I am terrified of it. And sometimes the chair is broken sexually. And I have a distorted view of sex because of how it was broken in my life as a kid or as an adult, if you were raped. And it goes on and on. But I come clean with myself. I share my chair, with God, with me ‑‑ then here’s where the power comes in ‑‑ with one other person. That’s where God brings his church into your life. That’s where God brings life groups into your life. That’s where God brings people into your life, people you can trust, people you can open up to. You say listen, I’m terrified of that. I know. When somebody says to me as a pastor, whether it’s through an e‑mail or on the phone or in person they say Brad, I’m going to share something with you that I’ve never shared with anyone else. I get excited. Not because they’re going to tell me some juicy tidbit that I can’t wait to hear. What they say is irrelevant from that standpoint. The reason I get excited is they’re about to experience freedom as they’ve never experienced it before because they have told somebody what’s inside of them. See the lie from the enemy is when you share it they’re going to scream. But here’s what happens: God puts people in your life and you share it and they go you know what, that’s wild. That happened to me. Or you know what; I have a friend in my lifegroup that went through the same thing. Can I connect you guys together? All of the sudden this thing that you thought people were going to scream about ‑‑ you had an affair? You’re addicted to porn?
They say you know I’m with you. All of the sudden this thing that I thought was so big and bad, when it comes out in the light, it gets down to the actual size that it really is and we can deal with it. So I admit the chair is broken, number two.
I release those who broke it. Romans 12:17‑19, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord.” You have to let it go. You have to admit it’s broken. You have to release the person who broke it. You have to release your brother. You have to release your sister. You have to release your boss. You have to release your ex. You have to release your in‑laws. You have to release your mom. You have to release your dad. You have to release your uncle. You have to release your grandparents. You say but Brad, if I let it go they’re going to get away with it. No, they won’t not according to the promise God made. I will take revenge. I will pay them back, say the Lord. You’re putting it in God’s hands. You can’t repay it in the way it needs to be repaid anyway. You’re repaying from an unhealthy decision. You’re repaying from an imperfect position. God takes care of it from a perfect position. You have to let it go. You have to forgive. There are a lot of I’s. You have to let it go. You don’t hold it against them anymore. You have to let it go. See ‑‑ this is a powerful truth. Those I resent one day I will resemble. Did you hear that? Those “I resent” eventually, “I will resemble.” You will become just like the people you don’t want to forgive. Well that sucks. I know it does. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is.
Number three, I stabilize with truth. Romans 12:2, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person.” Aren’t you glad that Jesus can make us new, by changing the way you think then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect? Now watch this; this is what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to burn the old books. I have to start a fire. I have to get honest about it. And I have to start a holy God fire in my life and throw the books into the fire of God. Now the chair is still unstable. I need to burn the books.
Number two, I need to by the book. That’s the action step for many of you in this room. You don’t own a Bible. Go get a Bible. Buy a Bible. Buy software on your iPhone that is the Bible. Get a Bible. We will teach you how to use it. Burn the books. Buy the book. Learn to live by the book. Are you with me? Now what happens. This leg is as much unstable as the thickness of my Bible. Now it’s stable. I stabilize with truth. Listen, I don’t want to be foggy with you. I want to be very clear before we pray. Here is how I stabilize. I learn what Jesus says about me.
And I focus on learning how to believe that. And I replace the lies with the truth. Now this not easy. It’s not automatic. It’s now over night. It’s not one and done. It is a lifetime. You grew up hearing you’re fat and ugly. Jesus says I’m crazy about you. You grew up hearing you’re not lovable. Jesus said you are lovable. Jesus said you are valuable. Jesus said he took great detail in every facet of your brain and body. He knows how many hairs are on your head. He knows everything about you. He loves you. Nothing is hidden from him. You are fully known to God. He knows you fully.
And he is crazy about you. He has plans for your live that are bigger and greater than any plan you could ever comprise for your life. He loves you. You’re valuable. You’re accepted. I will never you. Now those are promises. I could go on. We could stay here all night and go through thousands of promises that are just as real for you as they are for me. They’re just as real for us as they were for Abraham. They are just as real for us as they were for Peter and Paul and Mary and Martha. They are just as real for us. The issue is, learning to believe them. Learning to focus on those things. Learning to make a lifestyle out of in taking those things.
Here is what will happen. He will stabilize your e‑motions. It won’t be over night, but he will. He will stabilize what you fear. He will stabilize your relationships. He will stabilize your finances. We have learned that together. Some of you have experienced God at a level. He has provided for you and done things you were terrified for months ago. And you learned how to bring God your first and he stabilized your finances. The chair didn’t go from being this chair to being a La-Z-Boy. It didn’t go from being this chair to being a Victorian, $10,000 chair. It’s still the chair. But it is stable. And that’s what we’re about here. We’re not perfect. We don’t always get it right. But we’re learning as moms and dads and boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives as friends and as kids, we’re learning. Week by week, little bits by little bits, is how he stabilizes the chair. Amen.