The more I’ve worked with addicts and dealt with my own sins, the more I’ve realized that most churches are falling short in a very important area–freedom from sin. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Most churches teach freedom from sin. Most command freedom from sin. But very few are helping people become free from sin. Most of them simply tell people to quit sinning and then slap them on the wrist when they catch them sinning again or belittle and shame them for doing so. What can we do about this?
***WARNING: This is the second in a series of three posts on this topic. And I repeat yesterday’s warning. This post will be specific, factual, and even explicit. However, I will try not to be gratuitous or graphic. But if you normally let your kids read these posts, you may want to read it first. If you’re good with that, click the “Continue Reading” link below.
***WARNING: The trouble with writing on this topic is it needs to be done, but it is hard to do so in the confines of propriety. This post will be specific, factual, and even explicit. However, I will try not to be gratuitous or graphic. But if you normally let your kids read these posts, you may want to read it first. If you’re up for that, then click the “Continue Reading” link below.
I’m going to take a quick break today from our series on the Jerusalem church. I am presently reading Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life* by Susan Forward. A paragraph really jumped out at me yesterday. I’d like to share the paragraph with you.
The single most dramatic difference between healthy and toxic family systems is the amount of freedom that exists for family members to express themselves as individuals. Healthy families encourage individuality, personal responsibility, and independence. they encourage the development of their children’s sense of adequacy and self-respect.
Unhealthy families discourage individual expression. Everyone must conform to the thoughts and actions of the toxic parents. They promote fusion, a blurring of personal boundaries, a welding together of family members to know where one ends and another begins. In their efforts to be close, they often suffocate one another’s individuality.
–Read on my Kindle, Location 2644-2653.
As I was reading, the thought came to me about congregations. Doesn’t this apply to congregations to? Consider the following adaptation.
The single most dramatic difference between healthy and toxic congregational systems is the amount of freedom that exists for the congregation’s members to express themselves as individuals. Healthy churches encourage individuality, personal responsibility, and independence. they encourage the development of their members’ sense of adequacy and self-respect.
Unhealthy churches discourage individual expression. Everyone must conform to the thoughts and actions of the elders/preacher/brotherhood concensus/watchdogs. They promote fusion, a blurring of personal boundaries, a welding together of church members to know where one ends and another begins. In their efforts to be close, they often suffocate one another’s individuality.
That just really hit me and I thought I’d share. What do you think about it?
By the way, there are definitely associate links in this post. Help a guy with two housepayments out and click on one of them to buy some stuff.
*While I highly recommend Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life to learn about damaging parenting, how to avoid it and overcoming the results of it if you grew up with it, I warn you that some of the content is disturbing as it describes the extremes of toxic parenting. Further, the author did not edit the language of the clients she used as illustrations. Therefore, there is a great deal of what many of us would call foul language.
The number one thing our spouses and kids want to know today is that we love them and are proud of them. The number two thing is to know that we will still be around tomorrow to love them and be proud of them.
Granted, freak things happen. We can’t guarantee anything about tomorrow. But we can start working to stack the odds in our favor. For instance, don’t text and drive. (I’m writing this because today I forgot and texted in a quick note, only to almost find myself eating a bumper. I need this reminder.) Start getting your anger under control so you don’t blow up at the wrong person or road rage your way into a wreck.
Something I’ve started working on is my health. I’ve learned this past week that with good diet, exercise, and stress management many of the frightening diseases of our time can be prevented, sometimes even reversed. I’ve been reading Dr. Dean Ornish’s book, The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain Health. I’m really learning a lot. It’s exciting to me and I know it is helping Marita feel a bit secure with me and happy in our marriage.
I can say this. I feel better as I’m making some changes. I feel better about myself. My family feels better about me. Maybe one day I’ll even look better (but that may not have so much to do with diet and lifestyle). One of the great things I’ve learned is we have a spectrum of choices to make with our health. They are not necessarily good/bad choices. They aren’t necessarily a moral choice. Eating fruits and veggies tonight won’t mean I’m a better person and eating a pepperonin pizza won’t mean I’m a bad person. These are simply choices we can make about our health. The best thing to do is simply get educated about it so we can make our choices in an educated way.
I highly recommend Ornish’s book to you. Click either of the affiliate links in this post in order to learn more about his book.
Have a great day with your family.