dys-func-tion |disˈfəNGkSHən| – deviation from the norms of social behavior in a way regarded as bad.
- Apple Dictionary
Everyone has some dysfunction in their lives. We may call it something else like our failures or weaknesses, but dysfunction is present in all of our lives.
I have my own failures and dysfunctional parts of my life. For instance, I failed to intentionally keep up with my vertical time and studies over the course of ten days. This may not seem like much on the surface, but I was not following through on a commitment that I made to myself, my mentor, and God. Failure to follow through on a commitment is a “deviation from the norms of social behavior in a way regarded as bad.”
We can make excuses about why the dysfunctional parts of our lives exist, but excuses don’t matter. Why don’t excuses matter? J. I. Packer puts it this way:
We live day by day through being forgiven, and we couldn’t live one day without being forgiven.
Excuses don’t matter because forgiveness does.
I’ve been hard on my daughter lately. Like any child, she sometimes does things that make you just wonder “Why?” Anytime I ask her why, the answer is the same “I don’t know.” I tell her that she needs to think about things before she does them and have a reason for doing them. She should be purposeful in everything she does. Where is the forgiveness there? I want top break patterns of dysfunction, but to say that everything she does has to have a reason is doing nothing but teaching her to make excuses. I live my life through grace, so why shouldn’t I extend that same grace to my kids?
Living life through grace, how do we overcome dysfunction? Often times, it is only through grace. I love Jack Hayford’s definition of grace that I mentioned when I wrote about discipline. In spite of our dysfunction, God has the ability to fulfill His will in our lives. Grace supersedes our dysfunctions, and our dysfunctions help us realize our need for grace. God still uses us for His will, dysfunctions and all.
Here are my questions that I am still seeking His wisdom about:
Although God’s grace never runs dry, do we sometimes need to grow out of a certain dysfunction to fully realize His will for our lives?
Even with grace, we have a responsibility to do better than before. Grace is more than just forgiveness. Like Hayford said, grace is “God’s ability to fulfill His will in our lives.” Grace carries us through the weaknesses that we cannot overcome ourselves in order for God’s will in our lives to be fulfilled.