Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ A Childish Clarification

          Although I get a little disappointed when I realize I miscommunicated something, I also appreciate the opportunity to elaborate on a point that may require a little more attention. So, with a hopeful heart, I clarify something I stated in my last blog-post, “Attachment Pain and the Comfort of God.”

          The statement that did not come across clearly was this: "A conclusion I have come to after a decade of working with children is that children need to be taught not to attach."[1] By this, I did NOT mean that we “need” to teach this to children, or that we “should” teach this to children. In no way would I ever advocate deliberately teaching children that they should not attach to their family, friends, and caregivers.

          Rather, what I had hoped to communicate was that children would never think negative thoughts about attaching unless someone taught them that viewpoint. In other words, children do not develop a fear of attaching as a normal part of growing up. Someone would “need” to teach it to them, otherwise it would never occur to them to fear something as wonderfully designed into them as attaching to others.

          While a decade of working with children has convinced me that they would only fear attachment if they were taught to do so, my couple of decades of working with adults has led me to conclude that few of us (if any) escape our childhood years without some form of hurts that have gone underground. Because we were created with a masterful complexity as creatures made in the image of God, we end up in quite a mess when we get broken. The many forms of dissociative disorders[2] are expressions of something God made very good being broken into many pieces.

          Putting the two worlds together (children and adults) has helped me to see why so many adults have unresolved childhood issues. It is because we were never taught how to bring our heartaches to God and people when we were children. If we have never brought out those heartaches when we were young, someone needs to teach us how to do it no matter how old we are now.[3]

          I have had people tell me that Christians do not have childhood issues to deal with because Jesus dealt with all those things on the cross. That is like telling someone that they do not have cancer because their son went through medical school and is now a cancer specialist. Jesus provided for the fullness of the new covenant to be applied to all who would receive it, but much of the transforming work of the gospel happens as people interact with God and with one another in the church. In other words, life-change is a life-time commitment!

          I love the way Paul expressed it: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”[4] Yes, we are “being transformed” as we grow up together in Christ; but, it is from one degree of experiencing the glory of Christ to another.

          However, it includes God’s modus operandi of leading us to see our poverty of spirit (like attachment pain), bringing us to mourn the condition of our souls, leading us to meekly acknowledge another area of our lives we cannot fix ourselves, and so causing us to hunger and thirst for the righteousness of being full of joy like Jesus Christ.[5]

          The bottom line is that, we should not accept a fear of attachment as a good thing when it is really a sarky expression of self-protection that limits God’s relationship-building work in the church. Instead, we should present our fear of attachment to God so that his perfect love[6] can so heal and overcome what others have done to us, even what we have done to ourselves, and we can grow up to know that we are beloved children of God who imitate God’s fearless love in the way we relate to one another.[7]

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] I have changed the sentence to read: “A conclusion I have come to after a decade of working with children is that they instinctively know how to attach to others, but would only develop a fear of attaching if it is taught to them.”
[2] I believe that all dissociative disorders can and should be brought to Jesus Christ through the soul-care of the Church so that everyone experiences the soul-rest Jesus promised in Matthew 11:28-30.
[3] Praying through the Psalms is one of the best ways of teaching children of all ages to pour out their hearts to God for the soothing, comforting, and healing of their souls.
[4] II Corinthians 3:18
[5] Matthew 5:1-12 ~ The Beatitudes show us the qualities we can expect to see in the people God is blessing with the transforming work of the kingdom of heaven.
[6] There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  We love because he first loved us. (I John 4:18-19)
[7] Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

1 comment:

  1. Funny how we can so easily draw a wrong conclusion from how something is worded. This was a really good clarification. That sentence was easy to read both ways.