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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Emotional Dependency, Codependency and the Bible

I recently got an inquiry from a reader about what the Bible says about emotional dependency.  Here's my favorite quote:

"                                                                                                           "

Yes, that's right.  The Scriptures don't talk about emotional dependency, just like they don't talk about addiction or spending too much time on the internet.  It does not mean that such things automatically get the 'Biblical Seal of Approval,' it just means that they are not there.

Unnatural attachments have always been with us.  So have a plethora of other emotional disorders that the Scriptures don't talk about.  Why?

Because these are generally categorized as 'personality disorders.'  Personality has long been a source of curiosity.  For example, the Greeks theorized about the 'Four Temperments' as far back as the 5th century BC: sanguine (pleasure-seeking and sociable), choleric (ambitious and leader-like), melancholic (analytical and thoughtful), and phlegmatic (relaxed and quiet).

The study of personality goes along with man's curiosity about his body.  We seek knowledge about how we exist.

Spirituality is not about how we operate, but why.  The Bible is not meant to explain why you have a belly button, but it can tell you that the belly button is there on purpose.  The Bible gives meaning to the world, rather than a description of the world with oodles of details and satisfactory assurances that it will all work as designed.

Rather, we learn that these things have intended purposes, but we don't always experience them as intended.  Rather than delving into the mysteries of DNA, the Bible prepares us for when DNA does and does not work.

The underlying message is that personality is really not a barrier to God.  Unlike, let's say, Buddhism, in which the circumstances for Nirvana require a certain quietude and studiousness that most people are not born with, Christianity does not require a particular personality type in order to be saved.  Now, the Buddhist takes comfort that if this life does not work out for the purposes of enlightenment, you get another shot at it through reincarnation.

Christianity offers no 'do-overs.'  The Bible is pretty clear that 'now is the acceptable time.'

So, it is up to us to take the grand vision of the Bible and apply it locally.  If we are codependent or dependent, then it is up to us to look up from the problem and see the goal that lies far away.  It is also up to us to ask God to provide a way out.

And, He will.  There are enough of us around to prove that you can get there from here.  It just takes a lot of work and a miracle.  The encouraging news that God will provide the miracle even when we don't deserve it is there in the Scriptures.

1 comment:

  1. A timely article Father because today I have been spending much time in self-examination to determine what part of a problem to accept as mine and which part is that of the other person.