I am so excited to finally begin my journey to becoming a Christian counselor! In a week I will be starting online classes through Liberty University. I am eager to learn how to apply the gospel in every difficult situation that one might be facing. I can’t wait to be pursuing a career that will help others be successful in this life through a godly perspective. On Christmas Eve I was given a book to help me begin this journey before classes start. It’s called “Gospel Conversations” by Robert W.Kellemen. One of the questions that Kellemen poses is that of truth and love and which is more important when counseling. The answer may come as a shock to some – he says that they are equally important. He bases this conclusion on 1 Thessalonians 2. In this passage Paul describe the many different ways in which he balances truth and love when dealing with those that God has entrusted him with. Kellemen breaks it down into 5 different portraits for a biblical counselor:
#1 The Love of a Defending Brother
– “For you yourselves know, brothers,[a] that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.” -1 Thessalonians 2:1-2
#2 The Love of a Cherishing Mother
– ”But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” -1 Thessalonians 2:7
#3 The Love of a Shepherding Father
– “For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” -1 Thessalonians 2:11
#4 The Love of a Longing Child/Orphan
– “But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face,” -1 Thessalonians 2:17
#5 The Loving Respect of a Proud Mentor
– “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” -1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
It occurred to me after reading this that we are all counselors. God uses us in the lives of other people all the time to provide counsel through the difficult seasons of life. Whether it is a friend, a family member, a stranger, a believer or unbeliever, God can put people in our path for the purpose of receiving guidance and direction from Him through us. How do we react with those people? Do we show love and patience while speaking truth into the life of an unbelieving family member? Do we show affection while pouring scripture into the life of a friend struggling with addiction? Are we caring while sharing the gospel with a stranger? How we present the message is just as important as the truth of the message. I pray that as we go about our week that God would use us to shower all those we come in contact with with love and truth!
Ally Lang has served part-time and volunteers at America’s Keswick. She is married to Jim Lang, Director of Guest Services.