Providing Compassionate Christian Counseling to Hurting Families
Q. What is your approach to Christian counseling?
A. My approach to Christian counseling is based upon several personal beliefs. First, I believe the bible to be God's Word which is sufficient for our instruction and growth in righteousness. Second, I believe Jesus Christ, through his death, resurrection, and shed blood, has provided the means for progressive sanctification through the work of the Holy Spirit as He conforms us to the image of Christ. And third, I believe that true believers are new people in Christ, and one of the major issues that keep believers from experiencing greater victory in all areas of life is their lack of knowledge, understanding, and application about who they are in Christ. The believer's relationship with Christ is the key to successful Christian living through God's unfailing love, grace, and mercy.
Q. I grew up in an environment that used God's Word with harsh judgment and condemnation that produced shame and guilt. What is different about your use of God's Word?
A. I agree that sometimes well-meaning parents and preachers use the Word of God in a legalistic manner which often does more harm than good. I have worked with clients who have abandoned their faith as a result, or their view of God is distorted where He is seen as setting on His throne waiting for them to make a mistake. This is not the kind of Godly fear that the bible refers to.
The God of the bible is full of compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and He is slow to anger. While He certainly is not happy about our sin, He has made full provision in Christ for our cleansing and transformation when we are repentant. A Christian counselor's task is not to condemn, judge, or beat any one over the head with scripture, but his or her responsibility is to provide hope and encouragement. A Christian counselor is an ambassador of Christ whose mission is to help people find healing and deliverance from the things that keep them from living the abundant life Jesus offers (John 10:10).
Q. I have been a Christian for many years, but I have had an ongoing battle with sexual lust and pornography. I have kept this secret hidden from everyone, including my wife and pastor. I feel so ashamed and guilty, and yet I keep doing the same behaviors over and over. I feel like God has given up on me. Is there hope for me?
A. There is definitely hope, and let me assure you that God has not given up on you. 1 Corinthians 10: 13 tells us that "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." The key here is to take the way of escape God provides. Counseling can help those who are in bondage to pornography and other negative sexual behaviors to find the path out. It is not easy, and it takes time, but if you are serious about forsaking these behaviors, you are half-way there.
I think it is important to mention here the confidential nature of the counseling relationship. As a counselor, what you share with me is kept in absolute confidence with the exception of harm-to-self or harm to others. I have found that once a man, or woman, gets this secret out of the darkness and into the light, there is generally an immediate sense of relief. And, you will find no judgment or condemnation here.