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Christian Counseling: The Biblical Theology of Helping

Updated on August 30, 2018
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Paul Joseph is a popular freelance journalist and column writer. He is famous on the internet for his matchless poetical language and style

'Individual' is the stone on which the family is set up
'Individual' is the stone on which the family is set up | Source

Life is Getting Messy

People today are in a hurry to secure all the comforts that money can bring. Modern amenities and the latest technology are some incentives that drive people to race against time. However, when they realize that they are too stressed to enjoy the simple things in life, they would like to slow down and start living again. However, most of them think it is too late, and they have reached a point of no return. Many of them are victims of stress-related diseases like ulcer and high blood pressure. They live their hectic lives trampling on their fellow human beings in their race for success in life. However, most people realize that they need something different from what they regularly experience. This the context where Christian counseling becomes significant.

An individual is not just one person, but it includes diverse factors ranging from one’s kith and kin to the entire social system in which one is born and brought up

Happiness is Hard to Find?

Many human beings, appearing to be gentle souls in public, perpetrate unimaginable abuses hidden from public scrutiny. Fathers misuse even daughters, mostly with the connivance of women. The wealthiest people are worried about losing their wealth which is likely in case of economic failures. On the other end, a sizeable portion of world citizens lives a life of poverty, violence, and death without access even to basic technology. The rich-poor divide is widening. While the rich get to squander all the natural resources, the poor get a tiny fraction of their fair share. With all the development of science and technology, a sizeable portion of the world population does not have access to clean water and are very much worse off than pet animals of the rich.

No one is immune to pain and suffering. An individual is the miniature of the society, and therefore anything that affects a person has a long-term impact on the community as a whole. Worldly pleasures and abuses only numb the pain temporarily. No one is happy with his possessions. The urge to possess more appears to be insatiable. True happiness seems elusive. This is the reason why many youths become disillusioned and pessimistic and develop violent and destructive tendencies. Many others turn to ‘godmen’ who offer magical formulae for solving all problems. They finally realize their folly and fall into more profound misery.

Divinity constitutes the core of a Christian family
Divinity constitutes the core of a Christian family | Source

Why Christian Counseling

Clients have the right to choose counseling which is in congruence with their value systems and beliefs. The rise of spirituality has somewhat diminished the differences between different worldviews of counseling. However, mental health professionals and Christian clients still largely disagree on the belief and value systems that should form part of the counseling process.

People should show consideration to their fellow creatures (not only humans). The right of every living organism to get a fair share of the natural resources is absolute, and the concentration of purchasing power in some sections of the society should not upset this balance. The fundamental principle stressed by every religion is equality of all and universal brotherhood. No religion advocates cheating or causing pain to fellow human beings. As long as the client’s primary belief systems are sound, there is no need to burden him with other ideologies. There are many examples of people who have been of immense service to humanity, but who were too preoccupied to go to church, temple or mosque. In the light of the above, modern counseling should be based on universal value systems and principles and should help reinforce the positive aspects of the personality. It is possible only if the Church redefines its stance on individuals' moral and social development.

A counselor is one who unwinds the sophisticated pattern of relationships and social norms
A counselor is one who unwinds the sophisticated pattern of relationships and social norms | Source

Hawkin's Opinion on Christian Counseling

Christian counseling is rooted in theology. Holy Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Church, sin, salvation, angels, future and human beings are all part of the Christian belief system, and Christian counseling should contain all these components. Conflicting ideologies are truths which tend to confuse counselors as well as clients. According to Hawkin (2001), “good theology helps filter out the theological and philosophical error that pervades so much of our world today” (p.97).

Theological methods which are sensitive to the context and centered in the needs of the people are essential. Counseling should be rooted in divine wisdom. The counselor’s words are considered authentic “only to the extent that it is a faithful exposition of the truth received in the special revelation found in the scripture” (Hawkin, 2001, p.102). The counseling should model on the requirements of passion, compassion, flexibility, and practicality.

A Christian counselor should address the issue that is at the core of humanity’s dilemma. The prescription advised for a cure is the return to god. Modern thinking denies the existence of absolute truth and proposes that truth and reality are social constructs. The counselor should draw from the authority of scriptures and a self-revealing God.

Counselors speak of the existence of an infinite and personal God. God is always available to those who seek Him sincerely with passion. God is, “in all circumstances, too loving to be unkind and too wise to make a mistake” (Hawkin, 2001, p.106). Many times, when we pass through stressful situations and painful experiences, we may start doubting God. If we believe that all experiences are ultimately for good, it gives us the strength to endure them and emerge unscathed. Christians think that the wandering desire of man makes him fallen and susceptive to bad influences and wrong deeds. But since man is made by God in his image and vested with dignity, god always tries to bring him back to the path of good. Pain and suffering are designed by God only to bring humans to the right path.

Counseling should be a strategic devise for growing a Christian social system
Counseling should be a strategic devise for growing a Christian social system | Source

Thinking beyond the 'individual' is necessary to carry out counseling and therapy effectively when it comes to Christian perspectives of family assistance

To Remember

The Christian belief is that Jesus Christ was sent to take the burden of human sins. There is also a promise that God will send his emissary whenever a correction is needed. There is a parallel in the Bhagavad Gita, the holy book of the Hindus. It maintains that God will descend to earth as a human avatar to destroy evil and establish dharma. The promise of a bright future is what helps humans endure pain and suffering. The critical aspect of every religious belief is the promise of a happy future which can be obtained by following the path of righteousness. Though believers of different faiths may have a difference of opinion over the right path to God, the teachers of religion should have the basic understanding that any religion or faith which requires a man to follow the righteous path, show love and compassion to fellow creatures.

On the contrary, one should condemn and reject any ideology which requires believers to take up arms against people who profess to other religions or ideologies. The power of faith can move masses, and it is disheartening to see many groups with vested interests misdirect this power towards propagating hate, distrust, violence, and destruction. Every act of kindness and love brings forth the omnipresent God. Counselors should develop a genuine understanding of other ideologies and accept absolute truths irrespective of from where it comes.

Family Ethics: Practices for Christians (Moral Traditions)
Family Ethics: Practices for Christians (Moral Traditions)

This book is an excellent piece of literature on the Christian way of family life. Julie Hanlon Rubio throws light on the Catholic ideology of marriage and social life. It is a worth reading handbook for common people as it discusses the application of Christian doctrines in one's everyday life.

 

References

Hawkins, R. E. (2001). Theological Roots: Synthesizing and Systematizing a Biblical Theology of Helping. Faculty Publications and Presentations.

Comments

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    • Paul Dickens profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Joseph 

      19 months ago from India

      There you are! Denominations I mean, institutions. That's what the church today. If I would add to your point, Jesus even did not establish any Church. He proclaimed the Kingdom of God! nothing else. Conflict of opinion occurs when people understand things differently. I don't boast about my understanding or claim that my assumptions are flawless. I am open to others' arguments as well. I don't find much difference between our outlooks. regards,

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      19 months ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      actually there are no denominations in the real church of Jesus Christ. All denominations are the work of man. Scripture is clear there are and will be no divisions in the real church of Jesus Christ. What is taught to be "church" these days are divisions of the church system of man and have nothing to do with the real Jesus Christ. There are no buildings called church and no clergy in the true church of Jesus Christ. Only disciples of Christ are members as they are the living stones of which it is built. All disciples are sons of God and are royal priests and are the ministry of the true church.

    • Paul Dickens profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Joseph 

      19 months ago from India

      It is not anything about the Satanic cult or Godly one. There are hundreds of Christian denominations, and all claim they are the original one!! Strange. Truth is truth, and that cannot be many. PERCEPTION MATTERS. I placed the article under the appropriate head.

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      19 months ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      It it under the wrong heading it is ok under the sloppy main heading of religion and philosophy it does not belong under the subheading of christianity, the bible and jesus. Sorry I probably should have just said that but I get really upset when I see the fake new "religion (psychology)" connected to anything to do with Jesus as He taught to crucify our flesh not to understand and make room for it as this one of the newest satanic cults does. And your article is contrary to all that Jesus taught. He taught that the Holy Spirit is the ONLY place to find truth and that it has the answer to every

      need to every true follower if Christ. No one without the infilling Holy Spirit of God can understand scripture.

      neither of the books you reference are founded on scripture both are from the minds of apostate man

    • Paul Dickens profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Joseph 

      19 months ago from India

      Hi charlie,

      thanks for commenting. I don't understand what made you think the article is unGodly. It never said that Jesus is not the only savior. It is true that the article does not refer to any specific Cristian denomination. Please point out what the element in it that gave you this wrong message.

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      19 months ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      this is a most unGodly articale and does not belong under this heading. it apparently is right with modern church christianity but the scriptures and Jesus Christ disavow all of it. It is an unGodly man made mixture from the pit of hell. There is only ONE way to God and His name is Jesus Christ. He is the only pastor in this final age of man.

    • Paul Dickens profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Joseph 

      19 months ago from India

      Elijah A Alexander Jr,

      I do understand your concerns about the matter discussed here. I do take your suggestion seriously. Thanks for pointing out the omissions. In fact, when I said "A Christian counselor should address the issue that is at the core of humanity’s dilemma", I did not mean that other religions are exceptions. If it gives such a hint, sorry it's only an inadvertent 'glitch'. regards.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      19 months ago from Washington DC

      Paul, your statement that "A Christian counselor should address the issue that is at the core of humanity’s dilemma" is not only for Christians but every form of counseling. What is missed, more so by Christians than other religions, is the realization that all of human's dilemmas deprived from their loss of objectivity by embodying "the knowledge of good and evil." Thus, no counselor will ever correctly address human's condition without their having objectivity and understand all of of our drama is caused by our inability to overcome the mind of good, evil and the multitude of "judgmental adjectives."

      With that understanding we must first become "Christ Like" who admonished us to "Judge Ye Not" and overcome the multitude of judgmental adjectives many of which we don't even realize are judgments. What we don't realize is most "descriptive adjectives," love, beauty, positive, right, and others, are judgments with a counter part that are, respectively, hate, ugly, negative and wrong but not descriptive. Descriptive adjectives are things like color, shape, specific height or length which doesn't have a opponent and are far fewer than there are judgmental adjectives.

      Go to the garden to see the tree that produced human/woman (minds unable to comprehend all things because of being incomplete minds) is called "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" because fruit trees produces more and more fruit with each growing seasons. Thus, as soon as Adam (meaning man or mind able to comprehend all things) partook of it the judgments "pride and shame" followed because they became too ashamed to face god's voice. So, the only way to be a "Christ Like" counselor is to become free of "judgmental adjectives" so we can encourage those in despair to eliminate them out of their lives and we can see clearly the purpose for everything by first realizing they "Are What They Are" for a purpose to be comprehended.

      I didn't intend to say that but it came out, I had to follow my spiritual guide.

      Peace.

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