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Friday, March 5, 2010

the dreaded "C" word

It really is a dreaded word, ripe with all sorts of cultural connotations, most of them undesirable. It evicts images of embarrassment and failure. But it shouldn’t be that way! Some form of the dreaded word “counseling” is used over 80 times in Scripture.

Did you know that a person who seeks counsel isn’t a failure or a “loser” who can’t cut it himself? Not at all! Proverbs 12:15 tells us “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” In other words, the guy who thinks he has it all figured out and refuses to hear advice is – you got it – a fool. Who among us is so smart, so wise, so godly, that he doesn’t need the counsel of trusted and godly friends?

According to Proverbs 1:5, “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel…” It is the wise person that seeks wisdom from others. Indeed, the way he becomes wise is to listen to mature Christians who have gained wisdom in their Christian walk. Do you desire godly wisdom? Proverbs 19:20 tells us “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.

Our rugged, individualistic, self-sufficient culture frowns upon seeking counsel. But that is worldly wisdom. If you have an issue you’ve struggled with, a major decision coming up, or want to know how to deal with a particular situation, get with a mature brother or sister and talk. We are to bear one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2). Older women are to instruct younger ones in wisdom (Titus 2:4). Men are to sharpen one another (Prov. 27:17). The elders of the church are to instruct and exhort and encourage (2 Tim. 4:2), both publically and privately (Acts 20:20). We really do need one another.

Getting counsel may be a one-time conversation, or it may involve meetings over a longer period of time. It may be very informal, or it may be in a more formal setting. No matter the specifics, the Christian who seeks counsel is the one who exhibits wisdom and humility, because he knows he doesn’t have all the answers.

There is no need to dread the “C” word – indeed, there are many reasons to treasure it, for it is one of God’s ordained means to help us live in a way that is pleasing to Him. So, fellow Christian, when the hard challenges of life arise and the situation warrants, will you seek counsel?

(P.S.  We practice and recommend only true biblical (nouthetic) counseling, ie NANC.)

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