HOW times have changed!

Back in the forties when I was a boy, the church and Christian circles had neither time nor tolerance for life’s raw realities. Words such as rape and incest, homosexuality, and child molestation were never heard from the pulpit and seldom, if ever, discussed in small groups.  Those who were the involuntary victims of divorce or the objects of brutality were left to suffer in silence, feeling alienated and ashamed.

By the time I entered the ministry in the early sixties, the evangelical Christian community was a bit more open and realistic but still guarded and certainly reluctant to get involved. Families who struggled could find perhaps a  caring pastor or a compassionate counselor, but the hope of receiving help from support groups in the church was virtually nonexistent.  Those in the church who wrestled with an addiction were more often than not told to confess their sins and get a grip on themselves. And it wasn’t uncommon for preachers to use the Bible as the basis for such exhortations. If the troubled individuals didn’t “snap out of it.” They were labeled as “sick” or, worse, “rebellious.”

The painful truth has finally been allowed to come out of the closet. At long last, pastors and congregations have stopped whispering and started addressing the secret struggles that plague many, if not most, families. Rather than pounding pulpits and demanding instant change, we have acknowledged that dysfunctional families are often in the church, that recovery takes time and is a painful process, and, in fact, that the process cannot be accelerated by cramming more and more convicting Scriptures down the throat of the abandoned or the abused. Guilt and shame are not friends of grace that prompt inner healing.

One of he benefits emerging from the long-awaited and much-needed change is a growing number of books that are designed to help those who hurt find healing. Unfortunately, many of these books are long on psychology and short on theology.  The timeless principles of God’s Word are eclipsed by human reasoning and man-made techniques and conclusions. They may sound plausible and make good sense, but they lack the power to effect lasting recovery. Frequently, these books reflect the bias of one author’s pet hobbyhorse.

But don’t think this is just another book on troubled families. This one is hard-hitting, insightful, unpredictable, direct, and refreshingly candid. Best of all, it is realistic. The book promises no super-quick fixes, no surefire guarantees, and no airtight solutions. It does, however, confront the issues that must be addressed, and it does ask the questions that need to be answered in order to find recovery.

I am encouraged that you are about to discover some essential secrets of your family story and that the all-important process of inner healing will soon be under way. Consider yourself fortunate to be living in the twenty-first century. It is doubtful that a book this straightforward would have even been published fifty years ago. If It had been, most in the church would never have read it.

I’m glad times have changed!

Chuck Swindoll
Pastor, Author, Radio Bible Teacher

Praise for Unlocking Your Family Patterns

Written by long-standing friends of the AACC, these seminary-trained clinicians bring their best insights to Unlocking Your Family Patterns.  These guys know what they are talking about, and this book will guide you on life’s journey so that you don’t repeat what you didn’t like about some of your own family experiences.  Starting with famous families of the Bible, you will begin to understand why each of us, in our own families, needs daily help to do things differently.  Unlocking Your Family Patterns will walk you through that journey.

Dr. Tim Clinton, president
American Association of Christian Counselors