A new heart: Grace and truth in biblical counseling


Some time ago a movie came out called “What Lies Beneath”.  I didn’t see the movie, but it’s a great way to introduce what happens in biblical counseling

Imagine, if you will, what it would be like if you had someone to whom you could pour out your heart. Someone who would not judge you, but whose aim was to understand you, commune with you, stand with you in solidarity. Most believers are very hard on themselves. They often project harshness on God that is a product of their own childhood. But In an atmosphere of trust, a hard truth can be spoken without damaging the soul. Biblical counseling is the art of speaking the truth in love. It is the process of change from the inside out, not just behavior modification. It is discovering that divine dance which somehow incorporates our cooperation with Divine sovereignty. The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. (Proverbs 20:5).

What about sin? It is only in an atmosphere of love and trust that people really take a hard look at sin in their life. That is why the 12-Step program for addiction recovery works. There is open confession, and in the face of this truthfulness the enemy loses his hold. Shame is confronted, and lifted as the believer asks for God’s forgiveness, and His strength to overcome. Other people become fellow soldiers, not judges. And there is accountability. The grace of God is manifest in an atmosphere of truth and so there is a release from habitual lawlessness

Who needs counseling? Everyone. Including the counselor. I truly believe there is a direct ratio of holy desperation to inner healing. The people coming for counseling are humble enough to reach out to another human being to help them. But beyond that they are actually calling out to God, appealing in all honesty for Him to come to their aid. The biblical counselor becomes an ambassador of hope, a companion on the journey, a trained listener that reflects the listening father.

Biblical counseling encourages hope. Evil hates hope. The enemy does not want believers to imagine a different future is possible, and that God’s intervention and promises will come to pass. But uncovering this despair and confessing it to another makes hope possible. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13).

Biblical counseling uncovers the well-worn paths of old family dynamics that are repeated again and again. Often people are blind to the patterns that are perpetuated in their current relationships, and are unaware of what’s driving them. They ask themselves, “Now, why did I do that? Why did I say that? Why did I get so upset”? Counseling brings what lies beneath to the light so that the believer can understand themselves, make new choices, and move in the direction of forgiveness towards others and themselves. For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. (Proverbs 24:6).

“Biblical counseling is a good conversation built on a biblical way of thinking” (Dr. Larry Crabb). The biblical counselor walks with the person through their suffering. This alone is healing. They are no longer alone. This suffering can be an addiction, life crisis, family relationships, an eating disorder or any distressing situation.

The counselor creates a safe place for the person to open up, take off the mask, and then the Holy Spirit is able to penetrate and heal the heart. The spiritual remedies of confession, forgiveness and reconciliation are applied throughout the process. The biblical counselor believes that the life, truth, peace and grace of God are always available to the believer no matter what the battle.