Written by Dr. Cliff Garrison – Anchor of Hope Counseling Ministries. -Angels by Grace Pub. May 1997
The scene usually includes two people – sometimes three or four. One party is generally feeling pretty overwhelmed having tried all the answers that used to work in the past but now don’t seem to. Christ-centered counselor’s are really not that much different. They have hurt in many of the same ways as most people they see. And through their own weaknesses they have experienced the reality of God’s love, strength, and healing power. The Lord during these difficult times has revealed some basic principles that the counselor can then use to help others in their times of testing.
First and foremost the counselor is there to hear accurately and sensitively the story which the hurting one is trying to tell. He wants to listen in such a way that can put himself in the other’s shoes so that the other knows he has been understood, accepted, and received. The one hurting needs to know he is loved, and a precious treasure to the Lord. He is a child of God – not better than or less than any other child of God.
Besides being accepted and understood, the counselee needs to feel the respect for the journey that the Lord has him on in this point in life. He needs to realize that this time of difficulty is no accident. God’s hand is on him to bring new life from the darkness. The Lord even says He gives treasures of darkness. (Isaiah 45) Our suffering is the setting the Lord uses to draw us closer to himself. As long as we have no needs – we also have no need for a Savior. God’s love will allow us to see our need.
Christian counselors can help the counselee see their need from God’s perspective. Counselee’s are way ahead of many of us because they see themselves in need. Therefore they are open to God’s help. Now the counselor, with God’s help can assist the counselee to see regular patterns that seem to ongoingly emerge and create problems in the counselee’s life. So working together in a shared partnership God provides the atmosphere for healing and transformation to take place. Life’s lies, coming from false messages given many times during childhood, are brought to the light. And as the truth begins to emerge and take hold there is an experience of God’s love and goodness even in the midst of pain.
Through prayer and the willingness to be open and transparent God will allow the root of the problem to be revealed. Then we can find the blocks, that is strongholds that keep us from doing the things we want to do or keep us from doing those things we don’t want to do. When the root of the blocks is revealed it can be severed by forgiveness and repentance. And so we discover we are like Paul, the Apostle, who had the same experience. (Romans 7)
There was an answer for Paul and there is an answer for you. Don’t give up hope. God can redeem any mistake and bring hope into the most hopeless of circumstances.
Blessings to you.