Tonight I had the wonderful opportunity to have my convictions tested, only I did not realize it at the time. Tonight there was a showdown between psychology and biblical counseling, and it amounted to a stand-off. But the point of it all, was that they were shown to be wholly incompatible.
In short, the psychological method was very astute at naming, observing, and describing conditions. The counselors even had wonderful compassion. But in the end, they offered nothing short of hope that time would help. They could offer no suggestions, except that a quarter-life crisis is become more frequent, and that if a friend becomes jealous over something wonderful in our lives we should show extra sensitivity to them. It can be hit or miss, and in this situation was a textbook case of blaming the victim. Usually it is quite the opposite but in this case the counselors’ position was marked by inaction. There can be good advice, and there can be poor. And kindness and well-meaning is not enough, because there is no authority to mere opinion. In the end, there was a lot of talk, a lot of energy expended and nothing accomplished.
In contrast, biblical counseling should always bear fruit, and that confidence comes from the fact that the Word does not return void. Biblical counseling would rightly observe that the problems aren’t our circumstances, but our sin. We aren’t caused to do anything, and tendencies do not relinquish our responsibility. Counselors who seek to counsel biblically would also follow the example of Jesus and the teachings of the apostles, to weep when others weep, and to rejoice in their rejoicing. They would admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with them all. They would provide hope that nothing has overtaken us except that which is common to man, and we are no longer slaves to sin, plus we even have a priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses. The goal of counseling is growing in godliness and sanctification, and there is power to change because of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, it can be all theoretical, but today it was made practical. And I expect the differences, sadly, to become more profound as I learn more about counseling. One personal lesson is for sure – I was inadequate tonight not because of any shortcoming of the Word, but because of my lack of preparation and elementary understanding of the holy Scripture.
May that I be immersed and saturated with the Truth such that not only is my mind renewed with knowledge and understanding, but that my conduct conforms to the example of Christ. May that I love Scripture and refer to it constantly, and to appropriate the consistent practice of prayer in my ministry.