Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Chapter 5

>> Monday, November 1, 2010

This Chapter is entitled "Going Back In Order to Go Forward." I think this is a concept that might be unfamiliar to most of us. I feel like for the most part we are taught to just get over it or move on and don't look back. As Christians we are called to forgive, but forgiving and forgetting are two different concepts. Wouldn't it be wonderful if deciding to forgive actually did erase the memory entirely? I was recently told by someone that they "chose to forget all the bad memories from their childhood and only remember the good ones." It's a nice thought, but it just doesn't work that way.
The author tells us that "it is not possible to erase the negative effects of our history. This family history lives inside all of us, especially those who try to bury it." I think this is a pretty easy statement to understand, even looking back to biblical examples. We see generations of lying; Abraham to Sarah, Jacob to everyone, all of Joseph's brothers. We see parental favoritism; Isaac favored Esau, Jacob favored Joseph and later Benjamin. We see bad marriage examples; Abraham had a child with Hagar, Jacob had two wives and two concubines. Scazzero lists the "Ten Commandments of your Family." Not all of these apply to every family, but he says the thing to be aware of is "when our family's invisible scripts are contrary to Christ's. When the family commandments passed on to us are so deeply embedded in our DNA that we cannot even discern the difference, the result can be tragic."

Money is the best source of security.
The more money you have, the more important you are.
Make lots of money to prove you "made" it.
Avoid conflict at all cost.
Don't get people mad at you.
Loud, angry, constant fighting is normal.
Sex is not to be spoken about openly.
Men can be promiscuous, women must be chase.
Sexuality in marriage will come easily
Grief and Loss
Sadness is a sign of weakness.
You are not allowed to be depressed.
Get over losses quickly and move on.
Express Anger
Anger is dangerous and bad.
Explode in anger to make a point.
Sarcasm is an acceptable way to release anger.
You owe your parents for all they have done for you.
Don't speak your family's "dirty laundry" in public.
Duty to family and culture comes before everything.
Don't trust people. They will let you down.
Nobody will hurt me again.
Don't show vulnerability.
Attitudes Towards Difference Cultures
Only be close friends with people who are like you.
Do no marry a person of another race or culture.
Certain cultures/races are not as good as mine.
Is getting into the "best schools."
Is making lots of money.
Is getting married and having children.
Feeling and Emotions
You are not allowed to have certain feelings.
Your feelings are not important.
Reacting with your feelings without thinking is okay.

Again, I do not think this list is probably 100% true for any family, but I thought it was very interesting to read. As the author says "the great news of Christianity is that your biological family of origin does not determine your future. God does!" We have talked about it before in this series, but I think the best biblical role model for forgiveness is Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery and told his father he was dead. He was falsely accused of rape and put in prison. After interpreting a dream for Potipher he is elevated to overseer of all of Egypt. Years later, during a famine, his brothers come to him, begging for food. "Joseph could have destroyed his brothers with anger. Instead he joined with God to bless them...Joseph made a choice. It is the same choice we make every day: Is God safe? Is God Good? Can God be trusted?" I say Yes. He. Can.

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