Unless there’s a severe mental or personality disorder involved, there’s one thing that is the source of all dysfunction. These 2 scriptures give us clues:
1) [Psa 19:1 NKJV] 1 …The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
2) [Col 1:17-18 NKJV] 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
From #1, when considering our universe, if the earth were 1 inch closer or farther from the sun, then our planet could not sustain life. The critical importance of the sun being at the center cannot be overstated. It keeps the universe in balance.
From #2, we see the God’s design for the individual, marriage, family, and church is that Jesus is to be like the sun in-and-to us. Head (means supply), center, first, and preeminent. And when He’s not these things, we have chaos, disorder, death, breakdown….dysfunction.
So what dislodges Jesus from being central? Juiced down to the core element, it’s self. Selfishness. Think about everything that you’ve experienced when dysfunction was present, and you’ll find someone putting their needs/wants/desires into the space of centrality. Nobody is perfect and we all do this from time-to-time, but if it’s a pattern then the “system” in which someone’s self is being consistently inserted will eventually decay and die; whether it be a marriage, friendship, church community, etc.
Also from #1, in Him all things consist. Jesus holds all things together. Our universe, our marriages, our relationships, our church communities, etc. So, when they don’t consist and they fall apart, we know He wasn’t center and preeminent.
If you’re experiencing dysfunction and breakdown, then you’ll be tempted to blame, make excuses, self-protect, and more; but all these are from the self, and contribute to the decay and dysfunction.
The key to turning dysfunction around into a growing and fruitful situation, is to consistently, day-in and day-out, month-after-month, year-after-year, decade-after-decade, put Jesus into His rightful place as head, center, and preeminence. And then you’ll see a proper orbit, balance, consistence, sustaining, and healthy growth.