Hiding From Love:
How to Change the Withdrawal Patterns That Isolate and Imprison you

by John Townsend, Zondervan, 1991, 288p.
Reviewed by Jack Heppner.

Hiding from Love is a virtual toolbox designed to help ordinary Christians grow into the lives they were meant to live. Townsend insists that while we may have committed our lives to Christ, we are none the less unfinished persons. At the same time we often fear what we really need for healing and growth. So, he suggests, we have the tendency to keep the unloved and often wounded parts of ourselves under wraps – a place where they can not be healed.

Townsend recommends that we learn to identify and develop those areas of our lives in which normal maturing growth is happening. However, he says, there will always remain those areas in which restoring growth is required. In the latter case we must admit that some things are broken in our lives, usually as a result of a combination of our own sin and someone else’s sin against us. Our injured selves often keep us from appropriate attachments and separateness, from resolving the good and bad within us, and from becoming fully adult persons in control of our life processes.

In order for us to heal, suggests Townsend, we need to recognize the difference between helpful and harmful hiding. Sometimes it is necessary to withdraw from those situations that keep harming us in order to find healing. But hiding becomes harmful when it takes the form of denying our own woundedness. In such cases we invariably develop false solutions which, in the end, hurt us more than help us.

But for those who are willing to come out of hiding in a caring context, there is abundant healing and grace for the restorative work needed in our souls. Unfortunately, the church has often not encouraged such healing processes, either because they are too messy or because they threaten the triumphalism that was such an integral part of revivalist theology. This book can help reverse that trend because it offers healing and hope for all those who recognize there is much restorative work to be done in their souls. At least it did that for me in the context of a caring group that studied this book together for two consecutive winters.

Hiding from Love will take you on a journey of discovery toward healing, connected relationships, and a new freedom and joy in living.