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Mending the Soul: Understanding and Healing Abuse Paperback – April 27, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

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 childrens' 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? Helpful sample child protection policy, application, screening interview, and warning signs of potential abusers equip ministry leaders. Illustrations, case studies, and art therapy drawings.

About the Author

Steven 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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (April 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310285291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310285298
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joseph E. Brackman on April 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I could write a novel about this book, but I'll try to keep it brief. The reader of this review should know up front that I'm biased; I know the author and his wife well, and have served with them in their ministry. I greatly respect them both, and so my opinion of this book is in no small part shaped by my affection and respect for its author.

Dr. Tracy spends a great deal of the book showing hard research on the devastating effects of abuse. So many churchy people want to act like abuse can't happen in the church; Dr. Tracy was in the same boat until he found out that a fellow pastor in his church was beating his wife.

Also, each chapter is prefaced with a real-life personal story that illustrates the point that the chapter is making. Chapter topics include ideas like (ungodly) shame, denial, emotional deadness, and many of the other common results of abuse.

Practical issues like forgiveness and reconciliation are covered, but with much more care than most theologians exercise. For instance, when Luke 17:3 says, "If your brother sins against you rebuke him. If he repents, forgive him," doesn't that imply conditional forgiveness? Dr. Tracy parses this as "relational forgiveness," akin to reconciliation. That is, biblically, we aren't required to enter again into a close relationship with someone who hasn't turned from their abusive ways. How many times have you ever heard this? Rarely have I, but it's right there in the Bible. A different sort of forgiveness, according to Dr. Tracy, is unconditional, and that is simply giving up one's desire for vengance against the abuser.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read many different books on abuse, from both the abused point of view, and the counselor's point of view. This is the most thorough, concise and "user friendly" book I've ever run across. It's thorough and concise in that it gives strong teaching in not only what abuse looks like, but how to unlock the damage done. It's "user friendly," in that it provides several "real life" illustrations that more clearly define the teaching that's being done. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to both abuse victims, and their counselors. I learned more from this book than I've ever learned from any other given resource. If you are an abuse victim, or one working with an abuse victim, this book is a DEFINITE "must have." I recommend that you read it slowly, and carefully. It's RICH in content.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How could one little book save our economy hundreds of millions of dollars? Not to mention avert the suffering and shame of untold thousands? If church leaders and laity alike, heck, if the English reading public at large would read this book and apply it to their businesses, homes, and churches could you imagine the results?

How about the early discovery of abuse, the breaking of the cycle of abuse in our society? To abuse: means to use wrongly, or improperly, or to misuse. Imagine if our society could identify abusive people, families, and institutions quickly based on key indicators? Imagine if the scandalous handling of the abusive priest situation in the Roman church had been handled according the tenets of Mending the Soul? Steve Tracy tells us why abuse is rampant, predictable, and most importantly, redeemable.

Written by a theologian with help from his counselor wife, Mending the Soul helps us to understand the effects of abuse including shame, powerlessness, deadness, and isolation. Steve Tracy lays out the healing path to face the brokenness, and to rebuild intimacy. Forgiveness is discussed including helpful and harmful models of forgiveness.

Start a group within your neighborhood, small group, or workgroup with this book. Or perhaps read it and recommend it to a friend of relative. If knowledge is power- this book is dynamite!

Scott Brewster, B.S. Finance, M.B.A., Ph.D. © Church Administration
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Format: Hardcover
I am a Christian survivor of incest. I have read many books on dealing with and healing incest issues. This is the first book I have read that presents material for Christians, and it has had a profound effect on the issues I have faced. Not only does it address the nature of abuse, it also addresses the aftereffects of abuse: shame and powerlessness. In my opinion, the most important section of the book is The Healing Path. It gave me hope and explained the steps needed for the survivor to know God can indeed heal the soul.Other books address the mental and emotional aftereffects of incest. This book addresses the most important part of abuse: the damage it does to the soul. As a believer in God, it gave me a path to follow to heal my soul. For anyone raised in a church and felt abandoned by God because of incest, this is a must read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, written by one of the foremost experts on abuse and recovery in the country, provides great insight on the healing process and provides hope to the wounded. Dr. Steven Tracy has a remarkable way of packaging truth and love, enabling those healing to move at their own pace while at the same time challenging them to grow. This book is written to the professional counselor providing a framework for guiding another through the healing process. However, it is just as readable by those suffering from the lingering pain of abuse, providing a refreshing breath of hope as one heals. I highly recommended this book to professionals, lay counselors, and especially suffering individuals. This book will become an indispensable part of your healing library if you are suffering from the pain of abuse, know another who is or provide help to those who are.
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