Untold people have lost marriages and careers because they were in a spiritual home that did not allow them the privilege of addressing their emotional wounds. I have known of married couples who were told that the whole problem in their marriage was based on the wife’s non-submissive character. So, the wife tried harder. And the husband continued on in what he was doing–working long hours, being emotionally absent, hiding addictions. Nothing improved simply because they tried harder.
I have known men to struggle for years with an addiction to pornography. Despite their desire to stop, they have been unable to break the pattern on their own, often too ashamed to admit the truth to anyone in the church family.
Others have had perhaps less overt wake-up calls that alerted them to their emotional bankruptcy.
David Eckman, in Becoming Who God Intended, writes about an encounter he had after leaving what he had experienced as a “wonderful, exciting, interesting and stimulating” seminary class.
I was walking downhill…Coming toward me was an attractive blond. The young woman’s face was covered with one of the happiest expressions I’d ever seen-simply glowing with joy. The thought leaped into my mind. “Ask her why she’s so happy!” Instantly another thought jumped out: “I wish I was as happy as she is.” With that another one popped out: “You should be as happy as she is because you are a Christian, especially since you just left a great theology class.” A quick shot of shame went through me as I recognized I envied her. I’m not a shy person, but now I was embarrassed. If I asked why she was so happy, I would be asking to find out for myself how I could become so happy. “I’m a Christian,” I told myself. “I’m supposed to be happy!” I did not want to admit that a happy stranger with a wonderful smile could so quickly reduce me to a state of envy (45, 46).
Whatever their background–whether as new Christians or ones who’ve been in God’s kingdom for years–many people within the church are trying to build a new emotional and spiritual structure on a faulty emotional foundation. Biblically speaking, it is the man building his house on sand instead of the solid rock (See Matthew 7: 26-7). This is not a wise thing to do, but, as church leaders, we are not immune from this practice ourselves, and we help others to do it every day! Why should we be surprised when they wander away from our church, Christian fellowship or from Christ Himself? We promised them an abundant life, but haven’t delivered.
Wounds we have can be healed. Find a counsellor.