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Someone recently asked me, “Pastor Seth, do you enjoy counseling people?” I responded in a very un-pastoral way by saying, “No, I hate it. In fact, it drains me.” I think they were taken a back from my response, so they followed up with another comment (more like a comment and then a question). This person said, “Well, you are good at it; so how can a person who is good at something hate it so much?”
I think I added to this person’s frustration by saying, “Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you enjoy it.” I was thinking about a lot of things that a person can be good at, but then they do not enjoy doing it. Just take sewing for example. I am pretty good at it (because of my home economics class in 8th grade), but I don’t jump up and down in excitement when I have to tailor something. I’m pretty good at taking out the garbage (so I like to convince Christina with), but I am not passionate about it.
From this conversation, it got me thinking.
I guess a person can enjoy counseling people because of the role that they are able to play in another person’s steps towards transformation. But what is really involved in helping people change?
After all these years of ministry, I am coming to the conclusion that we cannot change anybody. I think I have given up on trying to change people some years ago. I don’t know how many people that I have tried to “help” but instead of seeing change in their lives, they have gotten worst. I am resolved and surrendered to the fact that only the Spirit of God can change people.
This is why when I go into a “counseling” session, I go in there prayed up because it will not be my persuasive words that will help people, but it will what the Spirit does through me.
Usually in my counseling sessions, I try to help illuminate inconsistencies in the person’s thinking. A lot of the problems and issues in a person’s life are connected to faulty unbiblical thinking. The person has a choice to either re-frame their thinking so that it will be congruent with God’s Word or continue to hold on to what is natural for them.
By the end of the counseling time, if the person can take steps of faith to renew their mind with God’s truth, then they are headed in the right direction. If the person can have hope that God can transform them, then they will have greater trust in God’s power. Ultimately, it will be God’s grace that will assist them in living in the truth. This is the reason why we have to trust that God loves His people more than anyone else will and that God is more than able about bringing change in a person’s life than anyone else can. This is why we confidently pray to the God that can bring change and transformation to a person’s life.