As we turn towards the meat of this book, it is important to remember that people have problems, and problems can have (as in to dominate) people. Essentially, people are more than their problems just as the principle of scripture (or Spirit) is infinitely more important than the letter (the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life, II Corinthians 3:6).
Thus, in using the scriptures referenced in this book, remember that the person you are talking with is your central focus. He/she deserves your very best, is created in the image of God and is intimately loved by Him. He/she requires your attention, listening ear and kind intention as you share with them biblical solutions. Again, try to listen for the root problem, not just the surface presentation. For instance, if they are contemplating having an abortion, telling them what God says about the topic and encouraging acceptable alternatives is most appropriate (as well as a referral for counseling). However, if they have had an abortion, it is important to ascertain their feelings, perceptions about their behavior (anger, guilt, fear of judgment, self justification), and then present a more biblical solution (forgiveness, repentance, accepting responsibility without condemnation, grief and mourning).
Once you have presented the scripture and talked through its meaning, always encourage acting on their new information: This can include
- Church, etc…
Action is necessary, not just insight.
A word of caution is needed: know when to refer. If someone is suicidal, if a child is thought to be abused, or a woman in a volatile domestic situation, don’t try to be hero. Often the best counsel we can give is a well informed and professional referral. Who Is The Counselor?
The scriptures indicate (John 14-16; II Cor. 1) that the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, is our divine counselor leading us into all truth. Further, Paul stated that all believers as paracletes (counselors/comforters) are to assist others in the areas where comfort, courage, strength or counsel has been received from God.
Thus, the approach for Christians as equipped counselors is to rely on the Word of God for guidance, combined with practical wisdom, as guided by the Holy Spirit to assist fellow strugglers on their road to change, growth and maturity.
As such, trust the Lord. He is willing and able to assist you in your ministry. Remain teachable, always learning, so that you can fulfill your destiny in God while blessing others through your words, and loving deeds.
Now we move on to some specific, though not comprehensive, problems often faced by the counselor in the counseling office. This is but a brief sample of the material covered in the book…which I really do hope you purchase as a resource for your counseling ministry.
Until next time,