How to Begin Again as a Family

Article by Dr. Les Hollon, Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Edited by Dee DeWitt


Family.  When you hear the word “family,” what do you think and feel?


I’m convinced that family strengths can continue to strengthen us throughout our lives. What enables the family positive to remain positive in our lives?  The key is to accept “the blessing” and live “the blessing” …


I’m also convinced that “unfinished family issues” will play themselves out until we deal with them.  How?  The key is intentionally to live beyond “the family shadow” … 


When I am working with engaged couples, in premarital counseling, we talk through the foundational issues that can form a lifelong covenant for a successful marriage.  Among the five practical issues is our family of origin:


•”What are qualities from your first family you want to build into your married family”?

• “What are the family traits that you want to shed”?

• “How do you answer these questions about your fiancé’s family”?


God intends for families to be “blessings and not curses.”  And we can intentionally partner with God to make this happen.  The saga of:  Abraham & Sarah, Isaac & Rebecca  Jacob & Rachel, Joseph & his brothers -  conveys the tensions of families trying to work through family strengths and weaknesses (Genesis 12 – 50).


From them we learn as much of what not to do as what to do.  Their family album conveys the whole story.  Let’s focus on Joseph’s story (Genesis 37-50) and see what comes into view by initially identifying the underlying issues.


•Joseph’s father Jacob had resolved & unresolved issues with Isaac & Rebecca (his parents), his brother Esau and brother-in-law Laban, his wives Rachel & Leah plus their households. 

•Jacob grieved for Rachel (his favorite wife who died during Benjamin’s childbirth) in such a way that positioned Joseph as his favored child. 

•Which enflamed jealousy & envy from Joseph’s older brothers towards him and resentment towards their father; 

•They did not know how or chose not to talk through the grief, perceptions, and realities which divided their family. 

•Joseph’s unique giftedness (keen intellect, spiritual intuition, handsome & self assured appearance, ambitious energies) challenged him to grow in confidence without becoming arrogant. Joseph failed in this challenge until he was 30. 

•The brothers failed a major moral crisis and their sin enslaved them by the chains of mutual shame & secret.

•Joseph entered a long anguishing stage of spiritual-self development.  During this period of spiritual formation, Joseph realized that God’s redemptive power could turn intended family curses into family blessings.  Placed into God’s hands, Joseph’ & his life circumstances were reformed to position Joseph to save his family and region from physical starvation, and to redeem family relationships.  How he did what he did is the stuff of legends:


His dreams.   

His coat of many colors.   

His brothers selling him into slavery.

His forced walk across Egypt.  

His rise to influence in Potiphar’s house.  

His refusal to Potiphar’s wife.    

His being wrongly accused & unjustly imprisoned. 

His faithfully living as a servant leader in Pharoh’s dungeon.

His dream interpretations. 

His being forgotten by Pharoh’s cupbearer whom he had significantly helped.

His interpretation of Pharoh’s dreams with “real world” applications.

His rise to power in Egypt.    

His reconciliation with his brothers.     

His reunion with his father. 

His impact on Pharaoh. 

His saving a nation & a region from starvation.  

All of this and more … became his story 


For Joseph’s family to have their breakthrough, they needed to talk through the basic unresolved issues.  They did.  God blessed.  And with their individual & family life healed, they lived in the blessed land of Goshen.  And so can we …


Pastor Les Hollon


Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers.  And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.

 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.”  When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!  And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.  For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping.  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.  He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.  Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt.  Come down to me; don’t delay.  You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me – you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have.  I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come.  Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’

 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you.  Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”

Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping.  And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.

-Genesis 45:1-15 (NIV)


This article was written by Les Hollon, Pastorof Trinity Baptist Church.  For more information about God and your place in His world, contact Dr. Hollon, click over to Trinity Baptist Church.


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Posted on 24 January, 2010 in Finance & Family, Happiness, Spirituality
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