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Part Five: What kinds of people miss the healing benefits of wise counsel?

What kinds of people miss the healing benefits of wise counsel?

Not all counseling is effective. The failure may not be with the counselor, but with the one seeking counsel. Before we identify six types of people who lose the benefit of counseling, we must note that occasionally a person's problem is organic in nature. That person may need physical help—the attention of a medical doctor. With that in mind, let's now identify the ones upon whom counseling has minimal effect:

Those who forsake the truth—Prov. 10:17: "He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray" (See Matt. 23).

Those who want only to talk—18:2: "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions."

Those who are angry and do not want to change—19:19: "A hot tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again."

Those who despise the truth—23:9: "Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words" (See Matthew 21:23-27).

Those who cover up or defend their inappropriate laughter or hostility—29:9: "If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace."

Those who simply give no response—29:19: "A servant cannot be corrected by mere words; though he understands, he will not respond."


The Counselor Who Is Always Available

Isaiah 9:6 tells us: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

When the prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of Christ, he included in his description of Jesus the name "Wonderful Counselor." Today God's counsel is conveyed through the printed Word and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit. There is something about the piercing and penetrating truth of God's Word that man cannot resist. Anytime, day or night, the door to His office is open. To enter His counseling chamber is to open the pages of Scripture and allow its words to address the needs of our hearts.




Learning From Opinion Polls

Have you learned to pay attention to the concerns of people around you? Do you listen to what they say or to what they feel? I believe that if we are going to be effective as people helpers, knowing what our friends and family are saying about various issues and concerns can be very valuable to our effectiveness. For instance, in our local paper I recently saw an opinion poll that revealed some of the concerns of today's young people. What should we do with that kind of information when we see it? Whether the poll is completely accurate or not, we should pay attention to it. It can be helpful to us, because it may represent what is in the mind of a good portion of our population.

To illustrate how important that information might be, think with me about the findings of this poll for a moment, and then let's quickly see what we might do with our reflections. The Roper Organization poll recorded the responses of 1,000 boys and girls age 8-17. (The Bellingham Herald—March 11, 1987)

When asked which things would make home life better, they said:

  1. Get along with siblings—39%
  2. Talk openly with parents—39%
  3. Be treated more as an adult—37%
  4. More time with parents—35%
  5. If family had more money—34%
  6. Having more responsibility—32%
  7. If parents didn't expect so much—23%
  8. If parents got along better—18%
  9. Parents less involved in personal life—18%
  10. Parents more involved with personal life—14%

How about the happiness aspects of their home life? This is really an interesting question, for it shows what they are happy about. The poll revealed the youth who responded were happy about the:

  1. Amount of love parents show—93%
  2. Size of family—91%
  3. Amount of time parents spend with you—79%
  4. Amount of work around the house—75%
  5. Relationship with siblings—62%

Where should sex education be taught? The young people said at:

  1. Home—61%
  2. School—55%
  3. Religious groups—9%
  4. Other—2%

What does that say to us? What might we do when we are made aware of these kinds of responses?

Here are some of my questions: Is this an accurate assessment of kids? Of Christian kids? What would my kids say about this poll? In general, what is the model for love in the respondents' home? How much influence does Seinfeld have? How about the church? How can we as Christians show the model of Christ's love to those around us? Why did the church get such a low rating with regard to sex education? How many parents in our church have adequately given their kids sex education? From the first question, what is the skill that needs to be taught to the whole family? How should that be taught? What kinds of problems could good communication eliminate?

These are the kind of questions we might be asking ourselves, because a good people helper will be conscious of this kind of input. A good counselor might note the needs expressed and begin to ask questions, search the Scriptures, and prepare for a wise and godly response. In other words, as with the prophets of the Old Testament, we need to keep our heads in two worlds. We should be generally aware of what is happening in this world, and at the same time have our heads in the Scripture, seeking answers and praying for wisdom.

Let me ask, what kind of influence do you think Christians would have if they began to take seriously the needs and concerns of those around them? What would be the result if we prepared ourselves to give wise and apt replies to those needs? The results would be very positive, because the world isn't giving answers, it's only giving trends. Its solutions are not permanent, only temporary. Christians, on the other hand, have immediate and eternal solutions. That, by the way, is one of the main reasons we are giving ourselves to a study of wisdom, with particular emphasis on "how to bring healing and an apt reply to a friend." We believe it is a mandate of Scripture, and it is certainly needed in our culture today among Christians and non-Christians alike (see: 1 Peter 3:15).