The Price for Harmony
The psalmist sang a song that challenged the worshipers: How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God’s people to live together in harmony! How many of us can say: I have a wonderful, pleasant and harmonious family, siblings, father-mother in law, daughter-son in law? We have heard the story of Jacob’s family, especially Joseph’s life as part of the devotional readings. The book of Genesis has fifty chapters and thirteen chapters are dedicated to the life and testimony of Joseph. In these thirteen chapters the biblical narrator gave me three models to understand the cost of living and rejoicing in a family with harmony. Also, what it means to live in disharmony and its product in the short and long range. At the same time the Scripture presented the prescription with the correct dose to eradicate the disharmony in a family.
First model: Jacob as a father lived captive by the lie of his children for 22 years (Genesis 37: 34-35; 42:38) The emotional, physical and mental experience lived by Jacob today is called: Grief & Loss Syndrome.
Second model: Joseph’s brothers lived accused by their consciences for 22 years after they sold their brother to Egypt. Judah seeking to alleviate his conscience separated from the family only to worsen his condition. If we take a closer look at Genesis 42: 21-22, today they would be diagnosed with Guilt Syndrome.
Remember last week: “There are life’s storms that we have to face as a result of the neglect of others. Storms like the one lived by Joseph. Jealousy and envy, the absence of responsible dialogue, the preference for a child over others, turned a family situation into twenty plus years of life’s storms for Joseph.” Remember? Third model: Joseph, Jacob’s son with a vision, attitudes and determination to overcome the disharmony and dysfunctionality of his family. Joseph’s purpose was to realize himself at any cost. Joseph’s dreams were his life mission. Twenty-two years it took Joseph to reach out to accomplish his goals. What was that mission? To become a man of influence and power. Joseph’s life is assimilated with the slogans we have today: Be everything you can be. Dream is a vision until you do something. Dream big with defined goals. Your best life is now, live the moment.
Joseph was forced to leave his family. To leave our disharmonious families and realize ourselves individually is not a crime. Divorcing ourselves from the dysfunctionality of our family to attain our dream is not a sin. The truth is that there are thousands of people who divorced from their dysfunctional families and realized their dream, Joseph lived it: Genesis 41: 38-44. It is also true that those thousands of people who have succeeded in overcoming family disharmony have replaced family memories with objects and other persons, Joseph did it: Genesis 41: 51-52. We know of thousands of people who drown and consume themselves in their labors until they become influential and powerful people, Joseph did it Genesis 41:49.
Joseph did triumph. But if he succeeded, why did the reunion with his brothers disarm the whole structure that he had designed so carefully and accurately for 22 years? Because we all have been created to live in family. We all need to feel and live the experience of giving and receiving harmony in the context of our natural family. To realize ourselves as individuals divorced from our family or fail as individuals disconnected from our family only contributes to the disharmony and ensures continuity of pain and tragedy.
What price are you willing to pay for a functional and harmonious family? Triumphs or failures have not given anyone full joy and peace. If the triumphs gave full joy and peace: Why does the suicide statistic of well-educated and high level people keep racing? If realizing and converting dreams into reality would produce harmony in the human being: Why the pandemic of misuse of narcotic drugs? Why do artists and celebrities still appear dead leaving notes of emptiness and unhappiness? Why do the violence and the rage consume our news every day?
If being divorced from the dysfunctional and disharmonious natural family was the right thing to do; why are we raising a generation lacking in family and civic values? Japan already developed an entire detoxification program for children addicted to gadgets. We are growing a whole generation divorced from their natural family. What has been our fruit? Our fruit is a whole generation of adolescents hurt by our pain, disharmonized by our disharmony, unable to connect with the traditional and generational values of a family. Why? Because we do not know how to pay the price for family harmony.
Harmony in the family is a product of forgiveness and restoration. Each family has a collection of memories that distinguishes it and makes it unique. We have positive and negative family memories, pleasant and unpleasant. We all have memories that we wish would never have happened and we all have memories that we want to repeat and make them permanent. We all have repressed family experiences. Today they are called the Conspiracy of Silence. As a head of my family I have a goal; it is to create and live in an atmosphere where conflicts and differences are not hidden. It has been possible because we understand that each conflict is an opportunity to improve our understanding of each other. It has been possible because we are working hard in searching for harmony. What price are you willing to pay for Family Harmony?
The truth is that creating an atmosphere of harmony in today’s family will cost. A family in harmony is one that has learned to live with the disappointment and frustration of its members. Why? Because they have learned that understanding, love and forgiveness are more valuable and powerful than perfection and withholding resentments. Living in harmony costs many disagreements and reconciliations, discussions and receptive attitude. It costs a lot, but the investment is worth it.
What price are you willing to pay for harmony? Maybe the reencounter with your parents, brother or sister. How much will it cost you to forgive the person that harmed you? Take it out of your heart, out of your life, out of your past. It will be the only way to be free in your present. Joseph lived it, Joseph did it. Three steps: Reencounter yourself in the traumatic moment and situation, emotions and feelings. Name the crimes and abuse committed against you. Let the offender know your wiliness to forgive above your lost or pain. Move forward with your life with an act of restoration and reconciliation (Genesis 45:2-5). Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. If we invite God to lead us, teach us, form us in the project of building a wonderful, pleasant and harmonious family GOD will. God’s presence, harmony and generational blessing will be manifested.