As a youth pastor I spent so much time dealing with teen behavior. Most talks Youth pastors give are about behaviors, they are about sex, not doing drugs and staying away from alcohol. Behaviors have to be dealt with or else utter chaos occurs. Where do these behaviors come from? How can they be dealt with in a way that really creates change? If we as the Christian community are being effective in the way we deal with problems then why is the world or more importantly America declining in "Christian morals"? In my mind in just dealing with behaviors we are never getting to the root cause of the problem. By the time it has become a behavior it has gotten past being just a thought, it has traveled through the process of a feeling that has now been acted upon.
Why do any of us pick unhealthy habits? Example: smoking, porn, unhealthy relationships, abuse of alcohol, or even biting our finger nails? Is it a coping skill that we have used in order to make us feel better on the inside? I am pretty sure most of us don't pick up destructive habits on purpose. We don't one day say my life is good but I would rather be an addict. In my mind these behaviors are just an outpouring of the emotions that are going on in the inside. When some one hurts us what do we do? This action we do to deal with this feeling is a coping skill and it can become a cycle in dealing with pain, hurt, or even anger. We may subconsiously do these because this is a habit we picked up many years ago, or we not know a better coping skill than what we currently do. We may think that when we get angry at least I didn't punch some one instead I drank 17 beers and I am not driving anywhere. Ok in some ways that may be a more positive coping skill but there are still going to be negative effects from that coping skill.
As I have thought about Christianity and behaviors I think that we need to continue to extend grace to people. If we want people to deal with things in a more healthy way we have to teach them. We also have to realize that we have coping skills of our own that are not 100% healthy. Next time you feel stressed see what the first thing you do is? It may not be alcohol, it may not be going and getting a gun, but does your dog have broken ribs?