Guest Author - Dountonia S. Slack
In biblical counseling, if counselors do not address the heart issue, then all they are doing is crisis management which is counsel that looks more like the world’s definition of help instead of the model that Christ left for us to follow. Christ’s model of counseling is person-focused which embraces the counselee in authentic love and causes him/her to examine his/her heart and connects him/her to a person – Christ through the counselor. Colossians 3:3 makes this clear, “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Therefore, counselors must die to self daily and allow Christ to be magnified in their relationships and walk with others toward the light of Christ which illuminates both the sin of the counselee and the counselor as each examines his/her own heart.
Matthew 13:44-46 accentuates the value of God’s treasure. Meaning unless someone really grasps the totality of the Kingdom, he/she will never be able to let go of all he/she values here on earth. A very profound question to use to help counselees answer (as the counselor answers the same for him/herself) is “Lord, what is it that You value that I do not?” Simply telling people what to do and never getting to the heart of the matter leads people nowhere. Not to mention, counselees are aware of the good things about God they just have a difficult time living like they know the good things. Therefore, it is important for one’s fruit to be consistent with one’s heart (Matthew 12:33) because the job of the counselor is to show people the Kingdom of God.
But, how can counselors show them the Kingdom if they are totally focused on the problem as linear-based counseling is designed to do? Biblical counselors should change the way they think of counselees as a project to be fixed and be willing to share the burden with counselees with the tenacity to stay in the fight and not let go of him/her in Christ’s strength. Hence, good counsel is an overflow of love that gets to know the other person, holds him/her in genuine care, and is centered on Christ and how He takes weaknesses and uses them to serve others.
God is so patient with His children and reveals the heart issues to them that need to be surrendered to Him. Yet, it is always amazing how in brokenness God still uses imperfect people for His glory and the good of others. Counselors should be encouraged to counsel on full by spending time with Him, confessing and repenting sins, and in diligent study of His ways in order to discern the root problems in a counselee’s life that causes a heart change which is real change with the help of the Holy Spirit.