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Attachments 20

(We are now coming down the homestretch and we are only a few furlongs from home.  We are bringing all of this teaching together now to benefit us in our attachment to Jehovah God.  Because of time, we are going to skip three very important chapters, but I hope you will read those chapters on your own.  I have read those chapters and done a lot highlighting in them.  We are moving on to chapter 12, on page 257.)


Breaking Free!

An Attachment Prescription for Changes That Heal

Never give up!

–Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was one of the leading statesmen of the twentieth century and was a legend in his own time.  Born on November 30, 1874, he overcame multiple learning differences as a child before becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940 to 1955.

In the middle of World War II, Winston Churchill was asked to address a graduating class of students at a noted university in England.  He rose…walked to the podium…and he uttered just twelve immortal words in a speech that lasted less than two minutes.  They were:  “Never give up...Never, never give up...Never, never, never give up.”

I hope we can grab a hold of these twelve immortal words tonight!  They can take us through things that we would think believe impossible to go through.

       “When… life-changing experiences come, when we approach these moments—these crossroads—the choice may not be just a choice between behaviors; it is more likely a choice between the pathway to healing and the pathway to continued pain.”[1]

       “If you haven’t come to one of these life-changing forks in the road, we can almost guarantee that you will.  How are you going to respond?  What process can yo use to decide how you’ll respond?

       May we suggest the first step?  As Shakespeare said, ‘Know thyself.’  The difficulty with that thought is how threatening and tough it is to face the truth about who you are.  It’s far easier to live in denial, to just go on with life as it is.  But the first step to knowing which prong of the fork to take is to face the absolute truth about ourselves and what brought us to where we are.  It’s time to stop and take an inventory.  To get honest sets the stage for us to be set free—free to know God’s peace and contentment deep in our souls, free to fulfill our destiny, to mature into all that God and life hold for us, and free to love and be loved again.  That is what this chapter is all about.”[2]

       Those who have been around THOTL for any time, know that this I believe knowing oneself is very, very important in knowing and dealing with others.

       In addition, I’m reminded of the fork in the road that motivated me to begin to get to know myself.  After two leaders shared their startling evaluation of my personality, I vowed, “No one will ever again share something with me or about me that I am not aware of!”  The motivation was to protect myself against embarrassment and attack, but that motivation led me down a path which became more and more positive.  That motivation was transmuted or transformed into the positive motivation to know myself.  I found out that the more I knew myself, the more I was able to know God and to know others.

       Paul put it this way in

Romans 12:3 (NASB-U), “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

Paul is saying that every Christian out to avoid thinking of himself/herself more highly that he ought to think:  that’s pride.  Paul says that every Christian ought to think so as to have sound judgment.  The idea in the Greek is, “Get an accurate estimate of one’s self.”  Therefore, Paul is also saying that it is very important for every Christian to know himself/herself.

       But why is it important that we get an accurate estimate of ourselves?  Besides the fact that pride is a sin, Paul relates our estimate of ourselves with our spiritual gift or gifts.  Many people generally take this Scripture to mean that God has given to every sinner a measure of faith that s/he can use to be saved.  Through further indepth study, you will see that this is not the case.  The context of Romans 12:3-8 is spiritual gifts.  God does not give a measure of faith to every sinner.  God gives saving faith to every sinner who volitionally trusts Jesus according to a correct understanding of the Word of God, with the proper corresponding emotions, in other words according to Romans 10:10, “with the heart man believes”.  He gives to every sinner, who believes with his heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead for his sins, a measure of faith.  That makes him/her a believing sinner, or a saved sinner!  But the subject in Romans 12:3 is not salvation, but service; not the sinner, but the measure of faith that the believing sinner has already received.  The subject of this passage of Scripture is not saving faith, but serving faith.

       Yet, saving faith is the basis of all other kinds of faith.  The saving faith that a believer receives upon salvation is a measure or fitting amount of faith that includes the seed and potential for all other kinds of faith.  So when a sinner trusts Christ, based on a correct understanding of the Word of God, with the proper corresponding emotions, he/she is given a measure of saving faith which corresponds to the job, ministry, gift, task, or service that he/she has been called to accomplish, and this gift is operated much more effectively when a person knows who s/he is in Christ rather than being driven by pride.

(All right!  Let’s move on to the next section.)

Soul Hunger

       This section is about what we all hunger for deep in our souls.  We were created to hunger for significance and and security, i.e. that we matter and that we are secure in our relationships with God and others.  Larry Crabb does some excellent work on this subject in his earlier books, one of which is Effective Biblical Counseling.

       This is intimately related to having a healthy attachment to God and others.  Let’s take a moment and just touch on our need for security in our relationships with God and others.

       First, we have a deep longing for relationship with God.  We were created with it, and we experienced it early on, in the Garden of Eden.  So, there is a God-shaped vacuum in our lives that can only be filled by God.

       Secondly, we have a deep longing for relationship with other human beings.

“Before The Fall, I believe that Adam and Eve were both secure (i.e. their deep longing for relationship was met).  From the moment of their creation their needs were fully met in a relationship with God - unmarred by sin.  Security was an attribute or quality already resident within their personalities, so they never gave it a second thought.  When sin ended their innocence and broke their relationship with God, what formerly were attributes now became needs.  After the Fall, Adam and Eve hid from God, fearing His rejection.  They both blamed another for their sin, afraid of what God might do.  They were now insecure.”[3]  Praise God that He now offers a remedy to our insecurity in born-again relationship with Him, through His Son Jesus Christ.  So, there is no way for people to be psychologically, emotionally, socially, or spiritually healthy, without addressing the deep longing for relationship.

Larry Crabb wrote another book entitled Connecting.  It is an outstanding book.  I quit reading Larry for a while, because he seemed to be wandering around and I didn’t know where he was going.  Now after my own personal experience with this, I understand it to be a function of mid-life re-evaluation and clarification.  Be that as it may, he has come out of the woods in the book Connecting, and I like where he has arrived and seems to be going.  He calls his vision of connecting “a radical new vision.”[4]  As I read the book, and I have read most of Larry’s books from the beginning, I did not find a radical new vision.  I found it to be an old, old biblical vision that he has been evolving towards from the beginning.  I’m sure that many in the professional psychological community and some in the Church will see it as a bold new vision and as a departure from where Larry was, but when we read the next quote from Connecting and compare it to the earlier quote that I just read, I believe we will see that it is a continuing evolution of what he believed in the beginning.  Larry Crabb said “At the exact center of the human personality is a capacity to give and receive in relationship, a capacity or possibility that defines what it means to be alive as a human being.”[5]  Of course that capacity is dead in sinners and only resurrected and alive in those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.

       Like Larry Crabb, although some see me as going off in a bold new direction, it is really just a further growth and evolution towards the core belief that the most important thing in the universe is relationships and the gifts of the Holy Spirit will allow us closer, more intimate, fellowship with the true and living God.

(Okay!  We move forward to:)

Finding a New Life:

The Corrective Emotional and Relational Experience

       The “…journey to healing involves a corrective emotional and relational experience, a journey at the center of which God lives and works.

       This experience is designed to bring God-imbued healing into our injured souls and apply an emotionally therapeutic salve to the wounds in our hearts.  It helps us work through powerful, long-buried feelings within warm, safe, supportive relationships.  And as we process these feelings, we revise our relationship rules, those core beliefs we hold about ourselves and others.

       These revised relationship rules replace our old ones so that now our relationship behaviors promote closeness and intimacy.  And as we grow closer to one another, we move closer to God and begin to live our faith in new, more courageous ways.  We learn to stop hiding; we give up on isolation.  Instead we learn to break out of our fantasy world and live totally in the present, in the now—not in the past or future, here and right now.”[6]

       This is also the goal of the Grief £ RecoveryÒ Program, and these actions are very much like those in the Grief £ RecoveryÒ Program.

       Now, “…the corrective emotional and relational experience consists of a series of well-defined steps.  And there’s nothing particularly new about them.  They lie along a well-traveled path, one trod by a great many people over the centuries.  As a result of the clinical experience of Clinton and Sibcy, affirmed by the work of quite a few pioneers in the field, they have defined a pathway with five distinct steppingstones, and it leads right to healing.  These steps are applicable to nearly any person who has experienced an attachment wound, and that’s just about everybody.”[7]

Step One:  Remember Your Story

Remembering history can be a great blessing or a great curse.  When an attachment wound occurs and we try to forget it, we risk being wounded again.  “We want to take George Santayana’s famous phrase to heart:  ‘Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”[8]  On the other hand, when we remember attachment wounds this can also bring back some bitter images and devastating pain, both of which can erode the spirit and scar the psyche yet again.[9]

       G. K. Chersterton said, “We are destined to misunderstand the story we find ourselves in.”  So, we want to remember our stories.

       “You may be thinking just the opposite:  I can’t get it out of my mind.  I don’t want to keep dwelling on what happened.  We don’t want you to dwell on what happened, either; we want you to talk about it to a trusted other and get it out in the open.  In doing so, the experience moves from being pictures in your mind to pictures with a story.  Ironically, this kind of remembering is empowering.  It’s the type of personal recollection that has a corrective nature all its own.

       “As you formulate your story, do the following:

·        Recall the facts.  Describe, in play-by-play fashion, specific painful events.  If you’re angry because your father ‘let you down,’ describe the specific events that typified what he did.  How old were you?  Where were you?  What was the situation?  Who was there?  How did the situation unfold?  What exactly did he do that hurt you?  What resulted from the hurt?  How long ago did this event occur?  How did the situation end?  Describe it factually, much like a newpaper reporter would.

·        Retrace the path of the pain.  By describing the facts, the past comes alive in the present.  Of course, it’s always been alive—covered up, but alive.  How so?  Your past hasn’t really passed if you still carry its pain.  As you describe the wound, this confrontation may become tangled with emotion and discussed in the present tense, as if the situation were ongoing; you may tell the story with flushed face, raise voice, and exaggerated behavior.  But once the painful events are released into words, it’s possible to heal the soul wound.  The wounded self is no longer cloaked in denial.

Now complete the story.  Access and remember the feelings that burst to the surface.  Were you angry?  If so, what about?  Were you afraid?  How afraid?  Terrified, maybe?  What did you think was actually going on?  What did it mean to you?  What did you want to happen that didn’t?  How did you respond?  How did you want to respond?  How did you feel as you responded?  How did others respond?  How did this incident affect you?  How does this incident affect you now?  How do you feel, right now, as you relive the event.”  “We want to take George Santayana’s famous phrase to heart:  ‘Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”[10]

       “Answer these questions and your whole story begins to emerge.  And as you translate your life experience into a story, you externalize it, you place it in the open air so those who are helping you heal can better understand you and what brought you there.  Using words to describe what happened to you also helps you gain control of the event.  Once it’s told as a story, the thing that happened to you has a beginning and an end and words with finite meanings describing it.  It’s no longer some unrestrained, giant, all-consuming, never-ceasing turmoil you could never hope to deal with in a million years.  It’s now bounded by meaningful words, and you can now begin to deal with it.

       The goal for a healing participant or a helper during this process is quiet simple:  Help facilitate the story and encourage it along when the person is hesitant or fearful.”[11]

(Let’s move on to:)

Step Two:  Recognize Your Pain and the Need for Healing

“Professional counselors often say, ‘You can’t treat what you don’t see.’  These first two steps, remember your story and recognize your pain, have been defined to help heighten your awareness of the pain that plagues your soul.  But why experience that pain all over again?  We think you’ll see why this step is necessary as we guide you through this part of the process.

·        See purpose in the pain.  Pain has a purpose….  Giving yourself permission to feel primary pain tells you that you were right to feel as you did.

In addition, when we acknowledge our pain and vulnerability, we become more aware of our need for God.  Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28).  To come to Him with our burden first requires us to acknowledge that we have one, and that we’re weary and anguished from carrying it.  And as we lay it at the cross, we quickly find He’s our soul’s great Comforter, our refuge from life’s storms.”[12]

       In 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, Paul described his struggle with personal weakness, weakness he saw with divine purpose.  God told him, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Paul then decided he would ‘boast’ in his weakness, ‘so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’

       It follows then that when we disavow our raw emotions, we deny that Christ is powerful enough to help us deal with them honestly.  Our denial pushes Him away.  Soon, if we push Him away enough, we experience Him as a distant, uninvolved, even uncaring Engineer of the universe.  We become emotional atheists, denying the reality of God’s ability to touch our hearts and heal our deepest wounds.”[13]


·        “Validate your anger and mourn your losses.  When you have been wounded by attachment injuries, anger swells.  And as we’ve discussed in previous chapters, this anger is appropriate.  But you want to get past it, and the best way to do so is to first own it and then validate it.  You can say to yourself, I was wronged, and it’s okay for me to be steamed about it.  I needed you to be there for me and your weren’t.  Attachment injures create a sense of loss.  So give yourself permission to grieve, to feel sorrow, to cry, and then cry out to God, who will come and be a great consolation.  True sorrow is an aspect of spiritual brokenness that especially attracts the comfort of the Holy Spirit, who comes into the life of the sufferer with considerable power and effect.”[14]

I need to give you one warning.  Grief is a unique experience and no one can tell you whether you are ready to enter into that experience and deal with that experience.  If you are having flashbacks, or you are feeling overwhelmed, or unusual anxiety, or suicidal urges, it may be best for you to quit the Grief £ RecoveryÒ program and get some individual therapy or counseling.

Well meaning people who have greatly benefitted from doing the Grief £ RecoveryÒ program are urging others to push past their fears and get going.  We believe that most people can do the work of the Grief £ RecoveryÒ program with great benefit, but there are some people who have been so traumatized that trying to navigate the Grief £ RecoveryÒ program without personal guidance can be very dangerous.

Homework:    Attachments (pages 266-275).

The word of the Lord for tonight come from the words of David in

Psalm 62:8 (NASB-U), “Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.  Selah.”

(Now is the Day of Salvation!  Come to Jesus, Now!)


Call to Discipleship


[1] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 257.

[2] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 258-259.

[3] Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr., Effective Biblical Counseling, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1977, p. 61.

[4] Larry Crabb, Connecting, Word Publishing, Nashville, Tennessee, 1997, Cover.

[5] Larry Crabb, Connecting, Word Publishing, Nashville, Tennessee, 1997, p. 35.

[6] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 262-263.

[7] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 263.

[8] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 263.

[9] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 264.

[10] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 264.

[11] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 264-265.

[12] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 265.

[13] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 265-266.

[14] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 266.

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