If we wish and intend to counsel others, our attempts to restore must be presented in a spirit of meekness, with a kind and patient heart. Many of the people we meet with have never heard this kind of truth before and while what you say will be plain to you it may not be to them. Much of the church is very psychologized and is accustomed to seeker driven theology that does not emphasize the disastrous role of sin in our lives. Patience is required as you may have to explain the same truth over and over as you help them to grasp the truth. There is occasionally a temptation to become angry or impatient with them, especially if they tend to make the same errors repeatedly. It is usually not worth it to rebuke this counselee in anger or display a harsh attitude toward them. Also remember to consider yourself as you teach, rebuke, correct and train others. Some of the best counseling that takes place in my office is happening to me! Galatians 1 instructs us to be very careful about this business of discipling others because it is so very easy to become prideful in the process. Think about name brand pastors who were involved in counseling and are now divorced or have scandal attached to their names because of a hard fall. They said it could never happen to them, they would not, could not ever sin like the other guy! You and I are only one thought away from acting on the worst of sins. We must examine ourselves honestly in the light of Scripture. If you have a tendency to be critical it will serve you well and hurt you as a Biblical Counselor. Discernment is of course crucial, but beware that you don’t become strictly a fault finder. If you are blunt or pointed in speech it is easy to be misunderstood as harsh and uncaring. We have to be loving in our dealing with people. Remember that you are as liable to sin the very same sin as they are! If you were in the other chair, how would you want to be spoken to? What would prick your conscience? If you were looking and listening to you what would you as the counselee see? Angry face, clenched teeth, rolling eyes? Remember that the counselee is gathering data on you too as you speak to them! Sometimes your counselee will hit a nerve with you. Or their problem will be one that you know you have but have not dealt with. God is gracious in that while we pray, and prepare to minister to our disciple we are also preaching to ourselves. How good are you at preaching the truth to yourself? As a counselor people will see you as a light for the blind and as a leader. I know there are some people who believe that leaders should be bullet proof, that they should never show weakness or be vulnerable. I disagree with this idea. I think it sets us up as somehow superior to the people we minister to. People will respond much better to counsel when they know that I am a real person, with real problems, just like them! I do not ever want to present myself as a person who has it all together or has no problems. I hope my counselee’s understand that I have burdens in my own life to bear and deal with. This comes out as I gain involvement, in talking and connecting on a peer level with them. This is an advantage we have to not being “professionals!” We are encouraged to connect with them on their level and to meet them at the level ground at the foot of the cross.
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