1 Peter 3:15 says:
…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
This verse summarizes the challenge that we all have to be prepared to offer people hope whether we are sharing the gospel with them for the first time, or talking to them about a life struggle of some sort. At any given time, we are all struggling with something. And most everyone around us is also struggling with something in life. Do we know how to biblically speak in to those struggles?
I did not become a Christian until I was 30. Prior to that, I would have told you I was an atheist. My entire worldview and belief system was secular, humanistic psychology that was prevalent then and still is. I thought that all of life's answers were held in that realm, and that any problem you had could be addressed by it.
I worked in the field of psychology professionally for many years before I became a Christian, and for a few years after that. As a young Christian I continued to adhere to my belief, based on my training, that people are inherently good and that once you address their strengths and lift their self-esteem, they will be on the road to doing better in life.
Once I started going to a bible-believing church, I heard that we are all born sinners and that there is nothing good in us apart from Christ (according to His Word). This was my first experience with a worldview collision.
Eventually I left that career behind. I had been a Christian for several years when I realized that I was carrying some guilt I had not really dealt with, so I thought. I wanted to figure out how to “forgive myself”. So, I went on a quest to explore my old passion of psychology at the same time as searching the bible, and tried to learn how to forgive myself by mixing the two.
In that quest, through a friend who knew my struggles, I came across the ministry of biblical counseling. With help, I learned that I had some thinking that was much more pop psychology than it was biblical. I learned that “forgiving yourself” is not found anywhere in the bible. It is just not there. We hear this all the time "you really need to forgive yourself" or "I just can't forgive myself".
This is unbelief. Unbelief is sin. I needed to repent of my sin of unbelief, I did not need to forgive myself!
We do not need to pay for something that has already been paid for. Jesus’ death on the cross is enough. He forgives me, erasing the perceived need to forgive myself. My thinking was held over from my old worldview...forgiving yourself comes straight out pop psychology, not out of the bible.
It was at this point that I learned about something called “biblical counseling”. I had never heard of it before, not even in my bible-teaching churches. The more I learned about it the more I realized how much of my thinking needed tweaking – the old worldview still had remnants in my belief system and God started a process of rooting them out. We are all prone to falling in to humanistic teaching if we are not careful. Why? Because it is all around us, not just in the world but also at times in the church.
We must develop discernment and seek the Scriptures in order to allow God to transform our minds. I am a work in progress, how about you?
Do you call sin a “disease”?
Do you explain that someone’s past is their excuse for their sin?
Do you talk about self-esteem, self-assertiveness, self-awareness and self-help more than you give biblical hope and help to those who are struggling?
Do you encourage peacekeeping instead of peacemaking?
Do you believe that all emotional struggles are mental illness?
Do you believe that we need to mix man’s psychological theories with the bible in order to help people?
Do you believe that behavior management and emotional comfort are good counseling goals?
If you answered “yes” to the above, ask The Lord to show you that there is a better way. His Word is sufficient and offers the answers.
1 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
My biblical worldview says that God’s Word is sufficient. I pray that He will continue to correct any wrong thinking that comes to my mind, and to yours.
In what ways has your thinking or belief system been challenged as you grow in discernment? Are there any areas of pop-psychology ideas that need to be replaced with Truth?
NOTE: This post first appeared at Biblical Counseling for Women
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