Accepting counsel is a part of Christian obedience, living by Faith and worshipping ‘Him in Spirit and in Truth’ (John: 4 v24 KJV).
In the Therapeutic world we are expected to give counsel with empathy, having a calm and pleasant approach, listening attentively and being non-judgmental. This is the ‘ethical frame’ when conducting an objective and effective counselling practice. However, with close family and friends sometimes the non-judgmental approach goes ‘out the window’, as Counsellors are a subject in that relationship so push for change sooner rather than wait patiently and treat their loved ones with the same degree of empathy.
Being Professionals as well as Christians, Holy Spirit should dwell within us; therefore we must practice the Fruits of the Spirit and there are nine which include love, patience, kindness and gentleness (Galatians: 5v22-23).
The Bible teaches how we should deal with people who put their trust in us for help and restoration. Jesus Christ is called ‘Wonderful Counsellor’ (Isaiah: 9v6). Why is this? One Theologian writes:
‘I studied every major encounter Jesus had with individuals who came to Him for counsel. He always knew what to say, when to reach out to a seeking heart, and when to rebuke an impetuous soul. Even his enemies testified, “Never did a man speak the way this man speaks” (John 7:46).
As Christians we must choose to follow the principles and practice of our Lord Jesus Christ; therefore when we counsel our approach should imitate Him. When Jesus ascended to Heaven, he sent His Holy Spirit to guide and teach us ‘that small, still, quite voice’; he also gave us His word (scriptures) written by men but inspired by God (2 Tim 3v16) and gave us a true leader, the Apostle Paul who with Christ's authority lead the First Century Christian congregation. One Bible scholar writes ‘The Apostle Paul influenced Christianity second only to Jesus Christ’ (About.com.Christianity).Paul counselled with love and wisdom. This is very noticeable when he approached a very dysfunctional and segregated Christian congregation; the Corinthians. He received reports of their extreme misconduct, but when writing to them he wrote with compassion and love (1 Corinth 1v2-3 NIV). First, he reminded them of who they were in Christ. ‘To the church of God in Christ, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy .......................’ Then with a mild and calm approach he states (v3) ‘Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’. Paul always counselled with the knowledge and recognition of Holy Spirit. 'We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us’ (1 Corinth: 2v12 NIV). Paul knew when he comes from the standpoint of God’s Holy Spirit his counsel would be acknowledged and respected.
I am aware I have offended many of my friends, family and acquaintances in the past for my inconsiderate approach and by brutal delivery; that I then called ‘tough love’. Those who truly know me would initially get angry and withdraw, but would soon return reluctantly and say ‘Eyvonne thank you... I didn't’ look at it that way’. They know that my counsel was delivered with a sincere heart and concern for them. However, this does not excuse my approach of insensitivity. I now acknowledge my faults and have taken heed to a more subtle approach to counselling my loved ones.
I am convinced by adhering to God’s Holy Spirit and using His Word (The Bible) as our written lifesaving manual we can all be winning Counsellors and our fellow Christians and loved ones will be physically and emotionally restored in love and wisdom.