I have always considered counseling a beautiful opportunity to get into peoples lives and help them. It is there we can be completely honest, open about our darkest secrets and where we can discuss our frustrations.
I started counseling about seven years ago when I worked at a local pregnancy center. We offered biblical counseling to the community for any issue. It was an amazing experience and gave me the opportunity to meet and share in the lives of many people.
I Don’t Need Your Rules
As is usual in life many people blame their childhood experiences for the way they are now. One particular situation taught me a lot about the effect we have on children in the way we present Christianity to them.
A young man was brought up under strict rules that stemmed from his parents denomination. They weren’t mean, but they were strict. At least in his eyes. What he saw from Christianity was a series of rules that must be kept in order for someone to go to heaven.
He didn’t see these rules as stemming from the Bible, but from the denomination. Denomination was emphasized in the lives of the people he knew. What he took away from Christianity was that there are rules, you must follow them to get into heaven, and Christianity is about going to the right denomination.
He didn’t get an overwhelming presentation about Jesus Christ, who God is, and why we need Christ in the first place. He didn’t get any sense of the gospel. His complaint wasn’t, “They shoved the gospel in my face; I am sick of hearing about Jesus Christ; I don’t like the God of the Bible.”
When this young man got older he decided he had enough of this legalism. There were too many rules, too many restrictions and too much talk about doctrines he knew nothing about. He wants nothing to do with church, God and religion.
Lessons From The Counseling Room
Here are some questions I asked myself as I heard this man’s story:
1. Where in the Bible does it correlate salvation with denomination?
2. Where in the Bible does it say we must follow a lot of rules to be saved? I might be in a lot of trouble if that is true.
3. Where does Jesus encourage us to talk about denominations with unbelievers? If I am not saved, will I care or understand that conversation. Does my Spirit need enlightened first to understand the Scriptures, or where the Scriptures even presented?
4. Isn’t there an inherent danger in presenting denomination over Jesus Christ? He died on the cross for us. He is the way. Are we denying that?
5. Wouldn’t it be better to offended by the gospel, by Jesus, then by your denomination?
6. Where is grace, love, and forgiveness?
7. Why wasn’t this man taught about repentance? What do you do if you don’t follow the rules?
I don’t judge the parents for the way they brought up their son. I am sure my kids could be in counseling some where telling about how I messed up their lives. I do want to learn, however, from the people that I meet, so that I can be a more effective counselor, and Christian.
People need Jesus Christ to be saved. We can’t follow all the rules. That’s the point of Christ. It is only through Him that we can be empowered and given the ability to obey. It is only then we will have the desire to obey.
It doesn’t matter what denomination his parents followed. Each denomination has a set of hidden, or not so hidden rules, that one must follow to be saved. This is because we are all sinners. Even when we try not to enforce legalism on others we often do.
I have never heard anyone say they were offended by their parents living out the gospel, sharing about Jesus Christ, about showing grace and love. I have never heard anyone say they were offended when their parents tried to help them see their need for Christ.
Let’s examine how we are living our lives, and affecting the people around us. Counseling has always put me in a situation of self examination, and that has been a hard and good place to be. I have always believed that God called me to counsel because He wanted to change me, as much as He wanted to help others.