Biblical counseling is gentle and compassionate.
And eighth, biblical counseling is gentle and compassionate. We’ll talk about this when we talk about methodology. Some have wrongly given biblical counseling a bad name, saying we kind of beat people over their heads with our Bibles and they’re always condemning and judging. We and our counseling desire to be Christlike. And he was very gentle and very patient with his disciples. And we really yearn to show them the compassion and the grace. You know, Jesus said come unto me all you who are worried and heavy laden, I will give you rest. He’s gentle and compassionate. And we as fellow sinners know what it is to struggle with sin. We also in our gentleness and compassion will deal with different people in different ways. We’re sensitive to them. 1 Thessalonians chapter five verse 14 Paul says, “We urge you brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” There may be some people who do need to be admonished, firmly, yes, humbly graciously, but firmly. The man who is about to leave his wife and harm his children and break the hearts of so many needs the firmness that the scripture would say. Others, you have the woman who’s just struggling in her faith. She’s not measuring up to what her husband expects, what she expects of herself.
Encourage the faint hearted; help the weak. We should be gentle, and one of our verses is we use a lot and you’ll hear a lot is Galatians six how even if someone is caught in a trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a want in a spirit of gentleness. Each looking to yourself so you will not be tempted.
Biblical counseling is not merely for an elite group of professionals.
And then biblical counseling is not just for an elite group of professionals who are highly trained. All of us in a sense have this responsibility. Romans 15 verse 14 is actually from which J Adams got the title of his first book on counseling, competent to counsel, where Paul writes to the Romans, “In concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.” And that word admonish the Greek work nouthetó from which if you’ve heard the term nouthetic counseling, that’s where we get that word. We use that word, it’s in that verse, but some people call themselves biblical counselors who mix other things, so nouthetic counselors are relying on the word, but part of nouthetic counseling is that every believer has a responsibility to be involved in the lives of one another. Husbands and wives together, people in the community and the church.
Paul doesn’t say your leaders are able to admonish you, but that all of you he says I’m confident you’re filled with goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to counsel, admonish, encourage, each other. I’ve had people come up to me and say I could never be a counselor. And my answer will be actually you already are a counselor, the question is whether you’re a good one or a bad one. You have friends that seek your advice. You have children, sisters, brothers. People tell you their problems. People ask you questions. They dump on you whatever’s going on in their lives. And even your silence may be indicating approval. And so all of us are involved in each others lives. It’s also true that there will be some who’re more highly trained. That’s one reason we have this course. Our desire would be that everybody in a church would be at a certain level able to help to one another, but that some would be more than others.
Like, Titus talks about the older women helping the younger women. The elders as the shepherds of the flock should be able to handle almost anything. But every believer is involved. One thing that actually might comfort you a little bit is if you were to watch us counsel, you’d observe us and I’ve had this reaction from people who are observing us its well that’s not something new. You’re just saying what Paul might have said. I knew those verses. It’s not brain surgery; it’s not some mystical gnostic secret knowledge that only counselors have. It’s really taking the basic principles of the Bible and applying it to people’s lives. Sometimes what’s quite remarkable as I’ve had a lot of experience recently, counseling people who’re in full time ministry who know the Bible well but just taking the principles they already knew and showing them how they’re failing to use those principles like how God has been so gracious to us, like the servant who’s been forgiven the 10,000 talents and he wants us to gracious to others when they wrong us. Well the guy knew that, but he didn’t see it. He was totally failing in relation to his own wife and doing that. So, biblical counseling is something that all of us who are believers to a certain extent can do. We want to be learning more. Every one of us wants to be learning more so we can study the Bible and be able to help each other better.
Biblical counseling ideally takes place within the context of the local church
And tenth is that biblical counseling ideally takes place within the context of the local church. God has gathered his people in the local communities of believers in the church. And in the church, he set shepherds who are to be people who care for the souls of others. But also we’re in community together. And when you face great problems in life, and it could be bereavement, it could be illness, it can be family problems with children or spouse or when personally you’re going through times of great struggle. Gods design is that you would be part of a body. And then the church as that community and different people using their gifts and showing love and bearing the fruit of the spirit would help and encourage each other.
For us as IBCD, we actually do some counseling as a counselling center, but the reason we do it is we want people from churches who’re going to be leaders in churches to observe the counseling so they can go into their churches and do this work. And one reason we do counseling through a counseling center is there are many churches that don’t counsel their people or aren’t equipped. Now our desire would be when you come from counseling, bring somebody from your church. We want to train them too. We’re very committed that the church is the institution that God has established in this age through which he’s doing his work including caring for his people.