One of the struggles that most biblical counselors encounter in the course of providing care for others is finding the balance and timing of correcting verses connecting with individuals. After all, isn’t it our job to lead broken people into the truth? Because as we all know, it’s the truth that brings freedom!
I must wonder, however, if that is where many of us lose the individuals that may take a bit longer to journey alongside. Is bringing the truth to someone more about my “performance” than the desire to walk with someone as they slowly and painfully at times take one step forward and two steps back towards truth?
I know for me, I am so grateful for the precious folks who walked with me during some very difficult and dark seasons in my life. They were willing to hold out a lantern for the next step and provide the courage and support I needed to take it. If someone would have told me how long that journey would take, I would have said, “no thanks!”. (By the way, I am still on a journey to wholeness and from time to time, need someone to help me navigate the path)
I admire the words of Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Now I know as believers we are not meant to focus on how we or others are feeling. But you see, that is the very point of difficulty where I believe we do not have a complete view of how Christ walked on this side of eternity. He DID value people even when they were actively living in their sin. He did not let the expression of pain and search for value and belonging in this life often found in offensive vices and expressed in destructive ways affect his perspective of their divinely designed value as a child of God. As an image bearer of our Father, He instead met them right there in it.
We all know the stories: the woman at the well, the blind beggar, Nicodemus (who came in the middle of the night so no one would see him, by the way) Peter, Thomas, on and on and on. I invite you to search the Scriptures for yourself. Go back and read the Gospels (the Good News) and see how Jesus did this. You will find that He, without exception, always validated and valued the person, before he respectfully stated (sometimes with great passion) the Kingdom Principle to the person. He made them feel valued and not as an object of ministry or a great story on a newsletter. This is difficult. This is the Kingdom. This is the King we follow.
Will this cost us something? Yes. Time, energy, and perhaps our reputation. After all He was known to the religious leaders and crowds as “Jesus a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 11:19).
Am I willing to be known in my circles of influence as that? Do others come to me to find water in their thirst, food in times of want, companionship in times of captivity or sickness? Are we willing to walk in the dusty roads of high human need and get our hands and feet dirty? He did. He still does. He will continue to do so.
Perhaps the greatest miracle of all is when we reach out to others in their felt place of need and value their God designed image - we can speak truth and life. As we seek to connect, to our shared DNA, our shared humanity, it is exactly there that you and I can, with great respect and care, hold out the truth and freedom of the Kingdom of God to others. As Romans 14:17 states, “ For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of food or drink, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”.
Right standing in relationship with God, ourselves and others; peace, that we are never alone; and joy that serves as a byproduct of this relationship. The world around us is literally dying for this. It is out of connection that correction comes!
1 Peter 3:15
Written by Bethann Miller
Bethann has been involved in ministry and missions for 26 years and has traveled to 48 nations thus far. Along with her husband Tom she is a full time member care provider and co-founder for Safe Place , a ministry they founded in 2014 to provide care and support to those who serve others. She is a Board Certified Biblical Counselor through the IBCC, Member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Holding certificates in Biblical Counseling , Grief Stress and Trauma Care, and Elder Care. She is an avid motorcycle rider, Pittsburg Steeler Fan and loves to spend quiet evenings with her cats and her husband sitting around their fire pit.