Many Christians shy away from mainstream psychiatry because they feel it isn't Biblically based, but what about Christian counseling? Is counseling in all forms wrong, unbiblical, and unhealthy?
In John 4: 44, Jesus gives us a clear description of the enemy and his biggest tool: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 4:44b (emphasis mine)
Many Christians have been lied to so much they are scared of anything that seems abnormal or uncomfortable. They try so hard not to be deceived, yet they have already been duped by the father of lies. Satan wants to keep us under foot when it should be the other way around. Satan wants to keep us trapped in bitterness, anger, misery, guilt, shame, fear and a whole host of other fruitless strongholds. Biblical counseling can help set us free, but Satan has lied to us about that too.
Jesus said: “The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ John 10:10
Jesus came so that we could live redeemed and restored. Counseling can help us realize, recognize and deal with issues that have deep roots. Once we've realized and recognized, we can be set free by the blood of Jesus.
Let's dispel some lies about biblical Christian counseling:
Lie #1 – Biblical Christian Counseling is only good for stuff like worry or fear, but not “real” problems like physical pain or mental illness
Did you know that many physical issues are symptoms of spiritual roots? Generational issues, demonic possession, roots of bitterness, self-hatred and more can manifest as physical problems ranging from arthritis to scoliosis.
Lie #2 – Biblical Christian Counseling is just like Sunday morning service
Counseling is not another 4-point sermon preached on a one-on-one level. It should be Holy Spirit led therapy in which issues are brought to light, analyzed, and prayed through with the Word of God. It should also be 100% confidential.
Lie #3 – I shouldn't have to pay for Biblical Christian Counseling; I can just talk to my pastor or my church friends
Hopefully your Pastor is a loving, caring individual who will partner with you in prayer. However, that doesn't mean he or she is a trained pastoral counselor who can devote hours to research on counseling issues. Your friends may mean well, they may pray for you and they may be eager to give you advice. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to find friends who are unbiased. Why? Because they are your friends. They love you, they don't like to see you in pain and more importantly, they are filtering their answers through the lens of their lives and past hurts rather than approaching things from an unbiased, Spirit-led perspective.
Lie #4 – If the counselor doesn't have a degree in psychiatry, he or she could be dangerously wrong
Biblical Christian Counseling should always be spirit led…..Holy Spirit led. If your aversion to mainstream psychiatry is that it isn't Biblically based, then a pastoral counselor who is led by the Holy Spirit should make you feel at ease and at peace with taking their advice or having them pray for you.
Lie #5 – A Christian should not need counseling. We have the Word of God; it has all the answers we need
I saved the biggest lie for last. I could write a whole post on this one lie – that all we need is the Word of God with no further instruction. But let me see if I can sum it up in a few sentences.
“Through insolence comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.” ~ Proverbs 13:10 NASB
Counsel is for the wise. To reject the need for counseling, advice and prayer is a foolish thing. We are not meant to go it alone in this life. As the saying goes: we are not lone rangers.
We see too that the Word of God is not the end all of our knowledge in the passage below:
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” ~ John 16:13 ESV
I have been to both Biblical Christian Counseling and a mainstream psychiatrist, actually two of them. I felt more at peace and had more breakthroughs and change as the result of Christian counseling than in the plush office with degrees decorating the walls.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.