If I stormed out of counseling because I didn't like what the counselor said, but now I know he was right and I was wrong, have a forfeited counseling for good?

No, you have not. Certainly, under the circumstances mentioned in your question, you have wronged your counselor and God. You may also have spoken some hard words. But this does not disqualify you for future counseling—provided you are truly repentant.

True repentance will be seen in three things (which your counselor will be looking for if you seek to reestablish a relationship to him). He will want to know if you have sought God's forgiveness for what you did. After all, when counseling is done in His presence, according to His Word, it is He that is principally offended. However, if you spoke harshly to the counselor, you have sinned against him as well.* You must seek forgiveness from both.

But the counselor will also be concerned about a third factor. Are you now willing to do what God requires? Often "blow-ups" occur over homework assignments that the counselee refuses to do. Assuming that the assignment was a truly biblical one and that the counselee, having become repentant for his former behavior also recognizes this, he must be willing to do those things that are evidence of true repentance.

That was what we saw in the case of John the Baptist who preached repentance. He cried out, "Bear fruits that are appropriate to repentance (Luke 3:8). And, when the people came to him asking "What, then, should we do?" (v.10), he gave them assignments that were designed to reach to some of the core issues in their lives. He told the crowds to give food and raiment to the poor who needed them (v.11), tax collectors to be honest (v12) and soldiers not to use their power lawlessly (v. 14). Your counselor, who will also want to see fruit, will do likewise!

* In speaking of repentance, Jesus characterizes the repentant son as saying, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you" Luke 15:18).

Jay E Adams


Institute for Nouthetic Studies

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