Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
People, including yourself, are not just individuals but individuals in relationship. Your relationships, starting with your family, mark and shape you in good and bad ways. You cannot really know yourself, or your spouse, unless you are consciously aware of the various relationships you have, starting with the family that raised you. Much of the focus on human beings and their behavior is centered on the individual and their personality but neglects the system they were raised in and the system they are currently living in.
Family systems research concludes, “Systems thinking involves a number of elements. When considering human behavior, people generally think about the individual. Behavior is often explained on the basis of the internal processes within the person. Systems thinking, however, places the person in a context of relationships. Individual behavior emerges from the relational activity of the family system.” (1)
Furthermore, “Systems thinking represents an emerging paradigm in the life sciences. Rather than focus on the functioning of individual parts that make up a larger whole, systems thinking looks at the way in which the parts interact with one another to create the larger whole, and how the larger whole, in turn, regulates the parts which make it up. The back-and-forth interaction between the parts and the whole is observable and predictable in living systems. Systems thinking focuses on the facts of how the parts of a network interact and under what conditions the patterns of interaction change.” (2)
As Christians, we worship the Trinitarian God who is relational and emotional, and we learn about each member (Father, Son, Spirit) by understanding them in relationship. Being made in God’s image and likeness, we too are part of an emotional and relational system.
The Bible is clear, for example, that everyone is either part of Adam’s family in the system of sin or Jesus’ family in the system of salvation (Romans 5:12-21).
Do you want your future family to be more the culture of the Spirit or the flesh, and are you willing to make the necessary changes in belief and behavior needed to cultivate a culture of the Spirit?
- FAMILY SYSTEMS: A Journal of Natural Systems Thinking in Psychiatry and the Sciences, Fall 2021 | Volume 16, Number 1, pp 49.
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