Counseling Goals Conflict

gdpit_com_63508937_28As I am reading “Transforming Grace” by Jerry Bridges, it is confirmed again and again that a Believing counselor, one who is serious about following Scriptural commands, is regularly in conflict with what most would consider ‘normal’ counseling goals. Normal counseling goals in a school setting is to assist students in adjusting the school climate, motivate them to pursue excellence in academics and activities, and to assist students in establishing goals for earning, learning and living. If a survey were taken of most educators who are serious about their faith, with one question being, “What is a daily priority for you everyday on the job?” I am sure there would be a wide variety of answers, many unrelated to what Scripture has to say. Answers would be similar to the ‘normal’ counseling goals suggested above. But if we are to love God with our whole self, and love our neighbor, these normal goals often become the antithesis of the called life of a Believer.

Our whole culture is saturated with the attitude of pursuing either power, possessions, or pleasure. Our entire educational system supports this cultural ethos. How does the individual Believing counselor / educator deal with cultural pursuits (self and those we work with) while earnestly following Jesus’ commands? Love for others from the ten commandments perspective is a list of don’ts, backed up by Leviticus 19, and enhanced by 1 Corinthians 13. The story of the good Samaritan further defines love. Teachers, and hence counselors, have a high responsibility to communicate in a clear distinct manner what God desires, whether we are working in a faith setting or cultural setting. There is no difference. It is too easy to hide behind a wall of ‘public education’ and the idea of being tolerant toward everyone and everything. Love (based on God’s grace) is the motivation for everything. It is the motivation for obedience to Him, not earn any favor or credit for something later, but merely gratitude for what God has done for us. Fleshing all of this out everyday is not an easy thing.

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