By Dwight Oswald
Bluntly, I think the world (and so much of the church too) is full of “DIRT COUNSELORS,” These are supposed experts who get down in the dirt and filth with their counselees. They specialize in dealing with DIRT and they encourage the counselee to TALK about it and bring it all out. I often tell couples who are struggling to get along that we could air out all their grievances. She could bring out all the DIRT on him and I am sure it would all be true. He could bring out all the DIRT on her and I am sure it would all be true. (DIRT is no respecter of persons.) We could endlessly play the “BLAME GAME” (cf. Gen. 3). We could push all this “dirt/dung” around endlessly but what would it accomplish? (cf. Gal. 5:15) We would all get smelly in the process but nothing positive would really be accomplished.
Pushing DIRT around is NOT the key to edification! In fact, it is defiling in the process and not edifying. But frankly, this is what most counselors do! They are experts in over analyzing the “stinkin” realities of life and they encourage it to all be aired out with the goal of then cleaning the mess up. To state it in a more sophisticated manner, they are PROBLEM-CENTERED COUNSELORS.
How about a whole different approach? How about an approach that instead of FOCUSING on problems, puts the FOCUS on Christ? Yes, problems do need to be addressed, but the goal is NOT to FOCUS on PROBLEMS per se, but to CENTER on Christ, Who is the PROBLEM SOLVER. People need to get their attention off of self and on to Christ.
Instead of emphasizing “counseling” as is commonly done, how about emphasizing BIBLICAL SANCTIFICATION? Instead of people coming in for “problem counseling,” how about if they came in (i.e. to church) for INSTRUCTION IN SANCTIFICATION/DISCIPLESHIP? The emphasis here is much more “Biblical” and much more edifying. But sadly, people would often rather talk about their problems, their victimology, and man-centered solutions. Depravity doesn’t want the real cure! Focusing on Christ only works for those WILLING to focus on Him! (Funny how that works.)
When people get their eyes off of themselves and onto Christ it is amazing how this transforms the life and the relationships of life (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17). The GREAT issue in life for a Christian is to stay FOCUSED on Christ. It’s a challenge, but therein lies the ANSWER to all of our “DIRTY” problems! Cleansing does not come from looking in the mirror — no matter who is holding it. Change does not come from FOCUSING on the problem no matter how extensively it is analyzed.
Certainly, we need to acknowledge the problem in keeping with repentance, but the real POWER to effect spiritual change in our lives comes from Christ alone. Often what is needed is a whole reorientation of FOCUS! This in a real sense is what the teaching of the Word and Biblical fellowship are all about. They’re all about maintaining and growing “a Christ-centered focus”!
Corrie ten Boom well said, “Look around you and be distressed. Look within you and be depressed. Look to Jesus, and be at rest.” Instead of “problem-centered counseling” what the church really needs is BIBLICAL sanctification which is based on “Christ-centered discipleship.” “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.”
Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Galatians 5:15–16: “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
James 3:6: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”
Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, November-December 2016, Vol. 24, No.6)