Peter Scazzero’s book, The Emotionally Healthy Church, is a book different than the others that have been used for this course. In this book, Scazzero scrutinizes the often mishandled topic of emotions and leaders. His goal is to demonstrate the need to accept and confess the wrongful state of Christian’s emotions that lead them into spiritually unhealthy relationships and decisions. The first topic that piqued my interest was Chapter One, the church reflects the leaders.1 He is quick to point out that the state of the leaders determines the state of the church. If the leader changes, he must implement that change within the church. He writes, “Neither of us had ever sensed a ‘permission to feel’ like this before.” Scazzero was describing emotional truth, an all-too-often slippery slope. Emotional truth among church leaders is hard to accept and understand. Working for God does not necessarily translate into a perfect humanity, but often many church leaders fall under this false pretense.
Chapter Six laid out Scazzero’s second principle, breaking the power of the past. In this chapter, Scazzero discusses how, despite family background, Christians are able to be reparented. Children of alcoholics, placed into foster homes, or raised in abusive homes can still overcome their fears, behaviors, and emotionally unhealthy habits. In the case of Scazzero, suppression of his emotions and inability to confront people led to crisis and division within his marriage and church. Through the help of the blood of Jesus, Christians have to the power to break free from their past and must learn to find their worth in Christ. Setting limits is actually an example set by Jesus during his time here on Earth. Spiritual warfare arises in this chapter when Christians are tempted to cross the limits God has set.2 Accepting the humanly limits and others as well requires maturity. Leaders must learn to set boundaries in order to keep within their limits. Those that do not learn eventually become harried, depressed, overwhelmed, and burdened.
In order to be able to: abstain from crossing our limits, remember our family, and for the leader to be healthy so the church may follow requires the cultivation of integrity.3 Integrity with God and us is essential. Removing yourself from the daily duties and taking time for God creates a renewal of the spirit. Taking one day throughout the week to abstain from leadership work is to keep the Sabbath.
After reading Scazzero’s book, I could not help but find myself in many of Scazzero’s failures. For years I have struggled with keeping up appearances. Family strife has caused a form of isolation around my family. I have very few people to confide in and many times I find myself questioning people’s motives, even when they are being friendly. Recently a friend sent a picture text containing a picture of myself and a small start-up church with a funny caption. He meant it as a joke, but I was offended. I texted back I found it funny, even though I had not, and proceeded to tell my friend what my ministry plans were for the next several weeks. Afterwards, I reflected on my actions and realized I was trying to validate myself. I apologized to God and reached out to my friend to right the wrong. Learning to break free from a family’s past, a generational cycle, can be a struggle. A series on such a subject would be suitable in a church environment. Today, more and more people are trying to break