Webster’s defines dysfunction as “impaired or abnormal functioning”. I don’t see dysfunctionality in Webster’s as a noun, just dysfunctional as an adjective describing something that has dysfunction. Sin makes us all dysfunctional.
How do we go about dealing with our dysfunction? Do we feel bad about it, and try harder, hoping and praying that we’ll behave in a manner that is eventually pleasing to God? That’ll we’ll eventually act holy enough to be OK with God and the church? That we’ll eventually do enough volunteer work, or service to others, so that we’ll be good enough?
At LifeGuard Ministries we walk alongside men and women every day who are dealing with SSA. We have dear relatives and friends who come to us for advice on how to help their family member or friend who has SSA. In every single person I have talked with there is frustration and/or a sense of failure over the inevitable behavioral shortcomings. Does this mean we’re failing as a ministry?
2 Cor 5:21 says “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Tullian Tchividjian writes in One Way Love, “The one-way love of God meets us in our failures. Our failures make His one-way love that much more glorious. What qualifies us for service is God’s devotion to us — not our devotion to Him. This is as plainly as I can say it: the value of our lives rests on God’s infinite, incomprehensible, unconditional love for us — not our love for Him. Such relief! We can finally exhale!
…In Christ, the ultimate demand has been met, the deepest judgment has been satisfied. Jesus took on himself all the judgment we deserve from God, so we can be free from the paralyzing fear of judgment. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. We no longer need to live under the burden of trying to appease the judgment we feel, full stop. In fact, the judgment we feel is just that: a feeling — no longer a reality. We may judge others, and they may judge us; we may judge ourselves, but God does not. His love is one-way, and it is inexhaustible.”
Only trusting in and resting in His grace can bring us true peace, and give us the ability to freely act out of a love-response to Him, not a white-knuckle I’ll-do-better-I-really-mean-it-this-time approach. The behaviours may look the same on the outside, but the inner peace of letting His spirit lead us and guide us to do things for others makes all the difference. This is the cure for dysfunctional people like you and me, whether we have SSA or not. This is the hope that we love to encourage one another with!