Within this purview of self-defeat and self-damage I would feel remiss not to include the interesting effects of a popular therapeutic idea generally known as “codependency”. Literally translated it sounds like a fine practice to encourage. I am sure that many Christians do tend to look to each other for support in worship and prayer, for example. I am also sure that that is not what these practitioners mean.
As the Women’s Liberation movement gained legitimacy in the U. S., the codependency approach was born and brought forward hundreds of women, and men equally, from the forest of emotionality who had apparently felt a need for independence, control and various other powers; and with good reason. Unfortunately many of them had been practicing their own brand of “control” overlong by forming relationships with anyone who seemed to need them sufficiently-- and proceeded to take on the role of over-giver, often to the point where the selected needer grew quite churlish and sometimes dangerously destructive about it. Amazing it was, to see how many apparently relatively clean-living men and women found mates with what could only be seen as serious character flaws. (This is not the old ploy of blaming the victim; I have spent enough time in crisis centers to know that as a frequent dodge by perpetrators-- and to recognize the difference. Behavior patterns gleaned from well organized family case-histories are helpful here). I want to add however, and not only by way of a peace offering, that a very useful and valid device known as assertiveness training (as well as other modalities), has been honed to a fine point in the codependency field, and has proven a boon to many in individual or group therapy encounters. After one gains some self-understanding it is an excellent idea to “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Col. 4:6). And simply let your yes be yes and your no be no, too. Always speak the truth, especially if you have learned what the truth is.
But His ways are wonderful, and His understanding no one can fathom, so he filled the world with many sorts, with many different people having different talents and proclivities-- and that is wonderful too. Genetic or learned, nature or nurture, given enough opportunity, all of us have the ability to learn. We have been given a wonderful capacity to change and adapt to different conditions-- if we so choose.
At this juncture we begin to look at some ways by which troubled underlying tendencies, together with their damaging behaviors, may be replaced with something more life-oriented. The road must take a turn if the journey is to proceed. Look again at the phase “if we so choose”.
Even though you can and should choose to change your life, it is entirely possible that this choosing may not have a very profound effect all at once. As with salvation and faith itself, in some sense the Lord seems to have to choose you too. Spiritual gifts! How do believers know the Lord is in their lives? It appears to me that to become a believer is to learn that you were foreknown, that you were predestined, and came to the Lord because you were chosen to do so. On that basis please note that you are not expected to clean up your life first, in order to come to the Lord-- you can’t! You must have God in your life to do that. There is nothing you can do to earn forgiveness. The GOOD NEWS is that Jesus has done it all for you on the cross!