[stextbox id=”info”]Here’s a practical post for people who are involved in counselling and ministering to people. Its contributed by a psychologist friend of mine by the name Vini Lillian from Hyderabad. I pray that the Holy Spirit who is the best counselor ever will impart into us his quality of being sensitive to people and their needs. Please feel free to leave comments and opinions.[/stextbox]

 

A wholesome view of reaching out.
  • Introduction

Here are a few things that I have heard around the corner.

  • Why is he making a big deal out of that? It is only a small issue.
  • He smokes and drinks. He must be a bad person
  • Counselors are for those people who do not know Christ.
  • Christians do not need a counselor.
  • I have counseled him. I told him never to do that. But he still does not listen.

May be its time we widen our horizons. Everyone goes through problems big or small. But sometimes they might need help from outside to deal with them. Let us have a look at what counseling is all about.

  • What is counseling?
Let us have a quick peek into counseling. It definitely is NOT GIVING ADVICE. It is being able to listen, understand and help an individual to resolve his/her issues.
There are three levels of looking at some one’s problems.
  • Pity – Feeling sorry for some one
  • Sympathy – Feeling sad for some one
  • Empathy – Feeling what the other person feels
People expect the the third level. Placing yourself in their shoes and seeing their perspective. It is not easy. It comes with a lot of practice.
Counseling Principles : – Some of the basic principles of counseling are
    • Mutual Respect – The person who comes to you to share his/her problems is most likely to feel apprehensive. Any sign of disrespect will be picked up by them immediately and everything you try doing for them will backfire.
    • Confidentiality and Trust – Most times people share intimate detail. We lose their trust in us when we share it with others without their consent.
    • Empathy – To be able to understand what emotions the other person is going through is empathy. An example from the Bible is in Job 2:12 – 13. When Job’s friends saw him they did not just sympathize but were part of his suffering.
    • Acceptance – To be able to accept the person irrespective their backgrounds, their behavior or their habits.
  • Counseling in Ministry – It’s Importance
As Christian leaders we not only need to understand the spiritual aspect of people but also their psychological issues.
Each person’s issue is HUGE for himself. What may seem like a molehill to us can be a mountain for the person going through a crisis. As Christian leaders we are to show compassion which helps us reach out. It is human nature to get judgemental about people but as Christ could accept even a prostitute we are also expected to accept each and everyone as they are.
To reach out at the spiritual level in a person you need to pass through the emotional realm. We can make a start by applying these basic principles of Counseling.
  • Personal issues
Just because we have accepted Christ does not mean that we wont have issues to deal with. Everyday is a battle in itself. There are times when we get bogged down with problems. There are times we need to share it to someone. There are times we breakdown. That is why the Bible says in Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens…” As leaders I feel we must make it a point to spend time sharing our burdens; not just spiritual one’s but also emotional issues that we struggle with day-to-day. It would help if we form small groups and spend time sharing about each other’s issues and help each other grow.

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