Grace based therapy emphasizes the importance for counselors to counsel others as if Christ Himself were directly speaking to them. The book of 1 Corinthians puts it like this in 2:16: “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has been able to teach him? But we have the mind of Christ. Also in 1 Corinthians 9, Paul gives us insight into what it means to counsel from a biblical worldview. Verses 19 and then 22-27 states
"I am free and belong to no one. But I make myself a slave to all people to win as many as I can. To those who are weak, I became weak so I could win the weak. I have become all things to all people so I could save some of them in any way possible. I do all this because of the Good News and so I can share in its blessings. You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. So run to win! All those who compete in the games use self-control so they can win a crown. That crown is an earthly thing that lasts only a short time, but our crown will never be destroyed. So I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something—not just the air. I treat my body hard and make it my slave so that I myself will not be disqualified after I have preached to others."
So what are God's standards for those who practice counseling based on a biblical worldview?
1).A Christian counselor must be "free from all men" vs 19. This means we are not bound to a counseling methodology that has to fit the cultural and political correctness of our day. Galatians 1:10 says "Do you think I am trying to make people accept me? No, God is the One I am trying to please. Am I trying to please people? If I still wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."
2).A Christian counselor must be a servant. Verse 19 states "I have made myself a slave to all. A Christian counselor is there for the counseling client and not vice versa.
3). A Christian counselor must be empathic and carting, never elevating himself or herself above the client. "I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some (Vs 22). This phrase indicates that we counsel from "their bent", not ours. There is an underlying proclivity toward certain behaviors in each of us. It is the duty of the counselor to discover those proclivities, identify with them if possible, and then use that knowledge and identification to help the client move toward positive choices that are emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy.
4). A Christian counselor must realize that the ultimate goal and objective of therapy is to advance the kingdom of God. We achieve this by providing sound principles derived from Scripture that can help the believer and nonbeliever alike through the difficult issues they face. "I do all things for the sake of the gospel" (Vs 23). Grace based counselors believe that ultimate change come from a theocentric rather than an anthropocentric worldview. (God centered vs man centered)
In our next post, we will talk about how I am preparing myself in order to best serve my clients.