There can be no doubt that the world has been in crisis for some time. Individuals, couples, and families are facing an extraordinarily difficult world with struggles that previous generations were not forced to endure, at least not to these extremes.
The pandemic has kept people isolated and in greater danger of hurting themselves and others in various ways. Anxiety and depression are on the rise. Hatred and prejudices are growing. People are afraid of saying anything that might accidentally “trigger” someone, inadvertently making themselves into a target. This has caused many to become even more secluded.
It is very easy to offend someone in today’s climate. At the same time, it is getting increasingly difficult to make friends and build meaningful relationships with the people around us. It has become nearly impossible to find common ground or even “agree to disagree” when there is conflict.
Even harmonious relationships are being adversely affected from the estrangement caused by modern technology. Restaurants are full of parents staring at their smart phones while their kids play portable game consoles with their headphones on. (How can you so much as ask your child to pass the ketchup if all he hears are Nintendo noises?) Furthermore, temptation to sin has never been more prevalent and made readily available than by technology.
Divorce numbers are lower than years gone by. However, this is not necessarily good news. Fewer are getting divorced because fewer are getting married in the first place. After all, who wants to risk the emotional pain and loss of a divorce?
Financial challenges are worsening as inflation rises. Folks are finding that their dollar does not go nearly as far as it once did, and the strain of high food and gas prices are bringing even more stress to couples and families.
Rape, murder, robbery, human trafficking, and other forms of abuse are happening everywhere. To make matters worse, the news and social media stir nearly everyone into a panic. As Scripture foretold, this age has become more brutal than at any time in world history, and evil will only increase to the end (cf. Matt. 24:12, 21; 2 Tim. 3:1 – 5, 13).
With that being said, Christians should not be afraid of these societal problems. They know the Lord’s promises about the demise of this evil world and the preservation of his people:
“When the wicked increase, wrongdoing increases; But the righteous will see their downfall.”Proverbs 29:16
Nevertheless, there has been no greater need for counseling to heal believers from harmful experiences of the past and prepare them to potentially face even more treachery in the days ahead. It is easy to see there is a very urgent need for counseling as the Body of Christ faces a time like no other.
We need to understand how to speak to one another with graciousness, kindness and empathy. We need to realize what is required to build and maintain friendships. We need our families to be strong, and couples to remain faithful, loving each other unconditionally.
We need to get our eyes away from the trash on our smart phones and TVs. Instead, we must spend time talking and listening to one another, doing outdoor tasks and having hobbies in nature. We need sunlight and nutritious food served at family dinner tables.
We need to make wise choices with the money God gives us. We need to make careful and conscious decisions, instead of acting rashly and foolishly. We need to avoid people who influence us to think and do wrongly, and surround ourselves with godly people instead. We need to lead and guide our children to do the same.
You may be thinking, “All of this is easier said than done!” Would you be surprised to learn that the Bible has something to say about all of these things? (OK…minus the smart phones and TVs.) God would not communicate virtues that were impossible to apply. He loves us and wants us to have victory over this world!
Qualified counselors are needed. According to God’s design, they are able to help people learn about his instructions for a better life, and teach them how to implement those instructions daily.
Like our Heavenly Father, a Christian counselor may provide comfort and loving concern (Isa. 40:1; 2 Cor. 1:3, 4). Like Jesus, our “Wonderful Counselor”, a Christian counselor may shepherd believers into a better relationship with God and help them improve upon other relationships, as well (Isa. 9:6; 1 Pet. 5:4 – 7).
Like the Holy Spirit, a Christian counselor may advocate and comfort the heart in times of trial and suffering (John 14:26; 16:7). As Paul ministered to Timothy (and Lois and Eunice before him, cf. 2 Timothy 1:5), the Christian counselor is both a teacher and a shoulder to lean on. This shows us that a godly man or woman can provide counsel when needed (cf. Tit. 1:9; 2:3 – 5). There are no gender limitations. Women may provide counsel to men and vice versa (e.g. Acts 18:26).
Although “CHRISTIAN COUNSELOR” is not a church office mentioned in Scripture, the ministry of counseling is a duty performed by spiritual shepherds, teachers, and other equippers mentioned in Ephesians 4:11.
There is ample Biblical support for counseling within the Body of Christ and for “works of service” to build up “according to needs” (Eph. 4:12, 29). There is no support for going to worldly counselors who possess no godly insight and no respect for God’s word.
In a time when both confusion and deception are spreading like gangrene, receiving “wisdom from above” is absolutely critical (Jas. 3:17). Numerous Old and New Testament passages stress its essential role and function for believers (e.g. Prov. 1:1 – 3, 5; 9:9; 11:14; 12:15, 18; 13:10; 15:22; 19:20; 20:5, 18; 23:23; 24:6; 27:9; Rom. 15:14; Gal. 6:1, 2; Eph. 4:29; Phil. 2:4; 1 Thess. 5:11; 2 Tim. 2:24 – 26, et al).
Now is the time to receive “teaching with all wisdom” (Col. 1:28). Now is the time to receive “counsel in the way you should go” (Psa. 32:8). Now is the time to receive encouragement and warning against “the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13). We cannot change anything about the past, but we have hope for a better tomorrow with godly counsel. – Michael A. Hildreth