A Gentle Spirit

A Gentle Spirit

A gentile spirit is not often observed in our day. Many have harsh spirits displayed openly to all. Do you have a long or a short fuse? It is rare that a person remains gentle every hour of every day. When a believer is harsh and disgruntled it is not because the fruit of the Spirit is not available–it is because he/she is walking in the flesh. You can either walk in the Spirit or walk in the flesh, but you cannot do both at the same time.

Have you ever been to Disney World? It is proclaimed as the happiest place on earth! My wife and I were visiting there and observed many families. They were supposed to be happy in this happiest place on earth. While watching those families we discovered that not everyone was happy. Many of them had short fuses. Their wonderful environment did not seem to have a positive effect on their negative spirit.

Obvious problems in the visiting families of the happiest place on earth needed to be addressed. Yet, to address a problem does not mean it is a painless experience. Suppose I have a splinter in my hand and I ask you to remove the splinter. The use of a needle to help extract the splinter would be helpful. A needle is not gentle, but I hope that in the process of using the needle you will be gentle. You cannot ignore a splinter. The pain continually reminds you of its presence. Hopefully you can find someone with a gentle hand to help you. Some things in our personal lives are also not pleasant to deal with, but need help.

Have you noticed how people can sound gentle with part of their statement and then slam you with the rest of their statement? Many famous people have made humorous quotes that illustrate this backhanded gentleness. Notice these examples:

• Abraham Lincoln said, of a man he didn’t care for, “He can press the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” He may have said it gentle but the message was not very gentle.

• Winston Churchill remarked, “That man has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”

• William Faulkner said, about Ernest Hemingway, “He’s never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

• Oscar Wilde stated, “He has no enemies but is intensely disliked by his friends.”

• Steven Bishop said this, “I feel so miserable without you it’s almost like having you here.”

• Groucho Marx said, “You’ve got the brain of a four-year-old boy and I bet he was glad to get rid of it.”

Sometimes our intention is to be gentle, but we say the wrong things. Gentleness reveals a long fuse. Endurance of a difficult situation with a gentle spirit helps calm a situation. A gentle spirit produced by God’s Spirit has no harshness, even in the intent of the spoken word or in the atmosphere left in a room. Ask God to help you improve your consistency of walking in His Spirit so that gentleness increases.

But the fruit of the Spirit is…gentleness…

Galatians 5:23

*Adapted from The Christian Life: A Human Impossibility by Kerry L. Skinner 

Biblical Counseling Distinctives

Biblical Counseling Distinctives

What makes Biblical counseling distinct? Is it because a Christian is the one providing the counseling? Or maybe it is defined by the Biblical truth from God’s Word. Let’s look into the distinctives are learn.

There are several instances when the approach of a biblical counselor and a humanist would be the same. Personnel selection is an example. The counselor must make a judgment on how the applicant will respond to the demands of a position. He studies the application form, autobiography, work history, and the interview. Based on this data, the skilled counselor can produce a reasonably accurate description of the applicant and how he will respond to his environment. The humanist and the biblical counselor can work side by side to this point; then we come to a fork in the road.

Many ask what the similarities are between biblical counseling and secular counseling. Examining the uniqueness of biblical counseling can help us see how God deals with the difficulties of human life versus how man deals with the problems of life. The Scripture makes it plain that human happiness or misery is not based on our circumstances or the people in our lives, but on which spirit controls us from within.

How is biblical counseling like other counseling? In these ways:

  • The counselor recognizes the distress of his counselee as evidence that a problem exists.
  • The counselor helps the counselee tell the whole story, bringing out all the facts, pleasant or unpleasant.
  • The counselor listens with compassion, accepting the counselee regardless of the story.
  • The counselor treats the information with utmost care.
  • The counselor grants the counselee the right to make his own decisions and to lead his own kind of life.

How does biblical counseling differ from secular counseling? In these ways:

  • The biblical counselor compares his counselee’s account with a fixed standard, the Bible.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

 2 Tim. 3:16-17

  • The biblical counselor points out to the counselee the areas in which his experience agrees or differs with the standard of life that God sets forth in Scripture. Whether the counselee will seek God’s Spirit toward the people and circumstances in his life is the counselee’s own decision. Bringing the counselee to this point is the distinctive of biblical counseling.

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Four Counseling Factors

Four Counseling Factors

The four counseling factors are essential when helping others.

Dealing with individuals and their needs is more a matter of getting across a message than following a single established method.

Each person will follow his own distinctive way and use his own choice of words. Many times it is like kneading dough. It takes effort to make sure the truth penetrates the counselee’s entire thinking, attitudes, and feelings. But even so, the following basic factors are essential in effective counseling:

Counseling Factor 1: Be Compassionate

To be an effective counselor, you must be a loving, compassionate person. You must love the counselee enough to present him with God’s truth regardless of what the truth may suggest for him. When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked what he must do to inherit eternal life, “Jesus, looking at him, loved him” (Mark 10:21).

But you must not force God’s solution on the counselee. Remember that the individual has the freedom of choice. He can reject or accept God’s answer to his problems. The rich young ruler “was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:22).

He rejected what he had heard.

Factor 2: Listen to the Problem

If you are a compassionate person, you will want to listen carefully to the problem presented by the counselee. As a “specialist” in spiritual problems, you will seek to discover the individual’s attitudes and reactions toward people and circumstances. The process cannot be hurried.

You need not probe endlessly into the counselee’s past. No one can change what has happened before. Counselor and counselee should be concerned with the counselee’s current behavior and attitude, which reflect the past. As counselor, you will listen for evidences of the sinful nature. Do not hesitate to do this, for you know that the blood of Jesus Christ can wash away sin and that the fruit of the Spirit can replace the acts of the sinful nature. You should have the same confidence in the benefits of God’s message as the surgeon has in the benefits of an operation.

Listening is an art. Therefore, seek to improve your asking and listening skills. Read literature on techniques of listening [Continue Reading]

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