The role of "self" in the context of the family : a pastoral-theological study
This study deals with the role of 'self’ within the context of the family, from a pastoral point of view. A number of questions arise within the topic, including: • What is meant by 'self from psychology's point of view? . • What is meant by 'self from a Biblical point of view? • What is the role of 'self within the context of the family? Psychology has wrestled with the concept of 'self since the days of the ancient Greek philosophers where 'self was deemed to be the core of personality. Psychology's current viewpoint is that it is difficult to define 'self as various fields of study within psychology ascribe various meanings to the word, and 'self is often interpreted from a behaviouristic point of view. The result is that a universally accepted definition of 'self is lacking, and 'self is often described within the parameters of a reflexive noun, i.e. 'self-image', 'self-worth' and 'self-concept'. Theology defines 'self as the soul of man that was given to him by God as a dichotomous part of his creation. Scripture refers to the soul as the person's 'heart', 'life', his 'mind' and 'himself, indicating that the soul of man is also his 'self. Scripture also indicates that the original sinless 'self’ enjoyed perfect harmony with God and creation and his spouse, Eve. Since the fall of man destroyed this situation and brought him in to a situation where the ever-present debilitating effect of sin ruled his life and relations, it is only the redemption offered in Christ that can amend this situation. The aim of this study was to utilize the guidelines posited by Zerfas, to investigate the meta- and basis-theoretical perspectives of 'self and to develop a practice-theory for pastoral theology. Research indicated that, as 'self refers to the soul and heart of man, and this is in turn has direct implications for his relationship with God and other family members, counselling people in regard to 'self also means a journey into the spiritual life of the counselee. Healing the wounded 'self is connected to the Biblical concept of sanctification, and similar strategies and methods can be employed. The conclusion of this research is that individuals who suffer from a dysfunctional 'self, or, interchangeably, dysfunctional relationships within the family can be assisted to overcome these problems and enjoy a restored relationship with God.
- Humanities