This book provides a well-researched biblical and scientific overview of abuse. A broad overview, it deals with the various types of abuse, the various effects of abuse, and the means of healing. Abuse can be sexual, physical, neglect, spiritual, and verbal. The chief arguments pursued throughout the book are:
(1) abuse is far more rampant than most Christians realize, but due to human depravity and satanic influence, widespread abuse is predicable.
(2) All types of abuse create profound, long-term soul damage due to the way abuse perverts various aspects of the image of God.
(3) God is the healing redeemer. Human salvation came through horrible physical abuse.
(4) Healing must take place in the context of relationships.
Humans are deeply impacted by others due to being made in the image of God. Just as surely as abusive relationships have tremendous power to wound the soul, so healthy relationships have tremendous power to nurture and heal the soul. Questions answered in the book include:
- How can a genuine believer abuse a child?
- Why would someone abuse a child?
- How can parents and children's workers identify abusers?
- How can abuse victims heal?
- What does genuine healing look like?
- Is anger appropriate or hurtful for abuse victims?
- Where does forgiveness fit in?
This second edition has been updated to reflect research conducted and published in the past 15 years on abuse and trauma. It accounts for the significant social changes and increased mental health struggles in our culture, including dramatic escalation in rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, and isolation, which exacerbate the effects of abuse and complicate the healing process. Based on their now-extensive trauma care experience, this new edition helps readers how to minister to new domestic and global victims such as sex trafficking survivors, foster children, refugees, and survivors of genocide. Examples and illustrations are updated with more recent ones from high-profile abuse cases and the aftermath of the #MeToo movement. The appendixes include lists of helpful resources for child protection policies, worker/parent child abuse education, warning signs of potential abusers, and general abuse resources (books, internet sites, and organizations) to equip ministry leaders are provided in appendices. Illustrations, case studies, and art therapy drawings.
About the AuthorsSteven R. Tracy is Professor of Theology and Ethics at Phoenix Seminary in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary (MDiv, ThM), and a received a PhD in New Testament from the University of Sheffield, England. He was a pastor for fifteen years and has extensive pastoral counseling experience. He and his wife Celestia, who is a family therapist, are the founders of Mending the Soul Ministries, a non-profit Christian organization that provides training, curriculum, and education on abuse prevention and healing. Dr. Tracy is the author of various articles on abuse and sexuality, serves on the Governor's Commission to Prevent Violence against Women for the State of Arizona, and serves on the Fatality Review Team for the City of Phoenix. A Mending the Soul workbook is available for individual or group use, and can be obtained at: www.mendingthesoulministries.org.
Celestia G. Tracy (MA Counseling/Psychology, Lewis and Clark College) is the vice president and resource director for Mending the Soul. Celestia draws from eighteen years of classroom, and professional clinical practice specializing in early childhood development and trauma care. She now works alongside her husband in collaboration with interdisciplinary teams to create accessible trauma-care resources that integrate scientific and social research on abuse with biblical and theological truth. Celestia and Steve have facilitated trauma trainings throughout East Africa since 2007. Their sustainable trauma care models are now being implemented successfully around the world.