. . . When counselors may become so overwhelmed by a counselee’s situation that, along with Job’s wife, they want to say something like, ”Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).
In such circumstances, what must they do?
Answer: remember the many words of Scripture that make no such allowance for such bad advice (for instance, 1 Corinthians 10:13).
Now, I know that frustration because of both the counselee’s response and the problems to which he is responding badly is common. It is easy, therefore, for you (as a counselor) to conclude that you are simply “not up to it.” And, in many respects, you aren’t—you can’t seem to figure out what God would have you advise and do in a particular instance. But there are several things you can do rather than utter some sort of exasperated advice. Let me list them:
- You may seek further information about, or details concerning those aspects of the problem that seem fuzzy, puzzling, or unclear.
- You may pray and ask the counselee to pray that you will become further enlightened in the biblical advice that you don’t have at the moment.
- You may consult (by permission from the counselee) with another counselor—or bring him into the next counseling session.
- You may find a clue to where you have taken a wrong (unbiblical) turn in counseling by consulting your notes. You do take notes, don’t you?
- A check on past homework given—and how well it was followed—may help.
- More time out of session for praying, searching Scripture, and thinking about the counselee’s problem may help.
- Check out the fifty failure factors in the Christian Counselor’s New Testament/Proverbs to see if any of these apply.
Never hesitate (very long) to admit you are stumped. But make it clear that God isn’t—be sure he understands that the insufficiency is yours alone. But insist that there is a proper biblical answer. And it may not be the one either you or the counselee likes.
But one thing must be clear: God isn’t stumped!