The need for full Christian counseling
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14)
There are times when a person needs counseling in life due to various problems, trials, decisions etc which come up in the course of life. It does help to be independent in the sense of having a rightful opinion of oneself and living a disciplined life. However, it’s even wiser to get wisdom and counsel from a person who truly walks the talk. I mean the walk with Christ. If one can expect a counselor to be so pristine in action and words then what if you were to be in a situation where you have to counsel someone? You too then need to be good enough.
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22)
Now in your life you won’t always be the one in need of counsel from others in the Christian faith. There may come an occasion in which you need to counsel others. Perhaps they might be children or someone facing trouble in life and you are the only person available at that point of time to help them. What would you do then? It would be unwise to shun people who willingly ask you for advice. Obviously its your responsibility to live a holy and prayerful life and give wise counsel in good faith to those in need of wisdom. The thing is you must be able to give full Christian counseling. In other words, please don’t give incomplete guidance to anyone. It won’t help them as much.
So let’s think of an example of full Christian counselling. Let me present to you the issue first. A typical issue is about disharmony between teenagers and their parents. So we have a teenager, let’s call him Adam and the rest of various counselors he meets, we shall name them as we go along. Here he visits various people one by one for counsel in the church premises during a seminar at church. (Though on a cautious note, I would always recommend anyone who needs counsel, to know if the people who are going to counsel you are really worthy and safe enough to give you counsel. You need genuine Christian counseling not foolish worldly counseling)
Adam: “My parents tend to get very angry all of a sudden with me. The arguments then go very long. I don’t say a word back but they keep yelling and asking me to get better in life. But they don’t say where to change. Please help, tell me what to do”
Now come a bunch of typical responses to Adam’s predicament:
- Harry: “Forgive them.”
- Tessa: “Everyone has to face challenges in life.”
- Jacob: “You must learn to be patient.”
- Gwen: “Pray about it.”
Each of these four responses are good but they still not complete. I will get to a more complete answer in a bit. But so that things get more clear, I shall mention two more responses before that.
Then we have a response, which is not actual counsel. At times you got to be honest that you don’t know the answer instead of wasting time. Here’s what would be the response:
John: “I don’t know to say but I want you and your family to be happy. Please, can you go to preacher (insert any name) at Camden? He should be able to help.”
Then we also have another response which does raises more questions rather than be a good answer. Here we go:
Gemma: “O dear, my child that’s really bad. I’d suggest that you study hard, get a job and move out of your home. Be independent, that should take care of it all”
Such an answer put’s undue pressure on Adam to get working and excludes any possibility that Adam’s parents are at fault. It would make him look solely responsible to set things right. This answer doesn’t talk about depending on God and neither about being in good standing with one’s parents. Besides, it does not address any depression that Adam could be facing.
Now here’s a more complete answer to Adam’s problem:
Barnaby: “Indeed Adam this is a tough situation you are facing. It could be that your parents have noticed something wrong but are not able to express themselves clearly and have obviously gone too rough with that. What I suggest that you be calm no matter what happens. Forgive them their faults and don’t get discouraged. Many others do face similar challenges but not everyone has a happy ending. You have a choice to be victorious in all this. With God at your side you aren’t alone. He understands your feelings so cast all your worries upon him as he cares for you. Read the Bible especially the Psalms and Proverbs to know the principles of progress and peace in life. This will give you guidance when you desire to do what is right to be a success in life. Knowing what is right will then be useful in keeping away from all silliness of life. I shall later pray for you but I ask this one of you; that you daily pray that your parents are at peace with you. Pray also that every evil power be it visible or invisible, I mean everything from the devil is removed out from the relationship between you and your parents. Remember this is more than being an achiever, this is about relationships. So conduct yourself with due honour to parents and also to God. Be of good courage Adam as the Lord God cares for you.”
The response by Barnaby is one which full in wisdom and counsel. No bits and pieces here but rather he tried to cover everything the best he could. He didn’t go by impulses when speaking to Adam. He was realistic about the problems and about the parents. Such a response would help Adam to have better chances of being at peace with his parents.
By this example you’d notice that it does take some level of maturity and understanding to counsel others. Showing empathy is vital to show your solidarity with the afflicted person you are counselling. Having a sound knowledge of the principles of the Bible will help you to this effect. Above all, pray to Christ our Lord that he strengthen you by the Holy Spirit so that you can give hope that is consistent with the Bible to anyone that comes your way.
Christ be with you!