Monday, March 21, 2011

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands

Are you a counselor?   I don't mean a certified professional who gets paid to solve people's problems.  I mean, are you a regular person living in the world, who has people in your life who need help with problems?  Yes, of course you are.  We all are. So you should read Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands.

I love the subtitle:  "People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change."

I've had this book for a long time and had started it more than once. For some reason it took me a few tries to get into it and finish it.  I can only assume my timing was bad because this is a wonderful book.   The author, Paul David Tripp, is associated with the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation and has written other titles for the "Resources for Changing Lives" book series.

Dr. Tripp teaches the process - what we need to do - for counseling: Love,  Know, Speak, Do.  

If we are going to help people, we need to love them.  Yes, we need to love all these pesky, annoying people in our lives.  That includes the the young mother who doesn't seem to be able to discipline her children, the friend who is always complaining, the woman who worries that she's never doing enough. Sometimes they are hard to love, but they are made in God's image, so... we make the decision to love them.

We have to know them and know their problems - their real problems, not necessarily the troubles that they present to us - if we are going to help them.  We don't assume we know without asking a lot of questions and getting true understanding of what's really going on.

Then we have to speak up.  Kindly, in love. We don't avoid confrontation.  Sometimes this kind of speaking is hard.   But,
... I am afraid we have replaced love in our relationships with being "nice."  Being nice and acting out of love are not the same thing.  Our culture puts a high premium on being tolerant and polite.  We seek to avoid uncomfortable moments, so we see, but do not speak.  We go so far as to convince ourselves that we are not speaking because we love the other person, when in reality we fail to speak because we lack love.
Then, as if the speaking wasn't hard enough, there's more: we need to do what we can to help. This is the hardest part to accomplish and the hardest to summarize.
The final aspect of our model, do, teaches us how to apply truths we have learned, personal insights we have gained, and commitments we have made, to our daily lives.  Here we teach people to be dissatisfied with the gap between their confessional and functional theology.  We lead them to live out their identity as children of God, claiming the rights and privileges of the gospel.  Do trains people in the decisions, actions, relationships, and skills of Christ-centered, biblically informed living.  
This is not just theory.  There are many practical examples that helped me see exactly how to go about this process.  It's designed to equip, not just educate.

And it's not just for people planning to become professional counselors, though it is on the curriculum.  It's for people like me who seem to be placed in counseling sessions all the time.   People like you, too.


Click the link for more information or to read the first chapter of the book. If you read it, I'd love to know what you think of it.

1 comment:

Maria said...

I keep meaning to get back and finish the rest of the chapter! Shame on me for not making time :)

However, as I am someone that a few friends, for some strange reason, consider a worthy counsel, I am inspired by the Good News.

It should be at the base of any heartfelt listening and counsel! How simple to keep in mind. It puts me at ease and I am open to listen without thinking of my next sentence!

Not too sure if that made sense,haha.