This Christmas season, I was with a former celebrity actor's family who "loves the Lord, cooking, and eating together." But it was not so prior to their family transformation and healing about five years ago. This family then fits Barbara Ehrenreich's morbid picture of it: "Not the ideal and perfect living arrangement but a nest of pathology and a cradle of gruesome violence." With God's therapy, the family members stopped being worst enemies of each other and started growing in faith. How happy I am witnessing this family's journey of recovery and wellness!
Still, important though psychological treatment may be, it remains incomplete when the damage inflicted on the family by personal sin is not thoroughly dealt with. Sin and psychopathology are closely intertwined. Sin destroys a family. Personal sins of the past, though already acknowledged at the mental and emotional level, may continue to haunt a family without spiritual treatment and intervention. It's like a stone you throw into a pool, the ripples continue long after the stone has reached the bottom. All sins then, both those committed routinely and in secrecy damaging the family, need to be absolved through a deep process of confession, grace, and forgiveness.
No therapy can substitute for spirituality to complete the deep process of healing and wholeness. Sin destroys our ability to truly love God, our self, and others. Only the Christ of Christmas can fully restore and heal it.