People often ask if counseling is good. And my answer is that it depends on the counseling.
God counsels, and God’s counsel is good.
His word speaks to hearts and the Spirit brings it to bear on every kind of life issue imaginable. So his counsel is perfect and good. The psalmist said, “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” There is something about the Word of God and the Spirit of God administering it to us that is good and full of counsel.
For followers of Jesus Christ we should seek counsel and receive counsel. Enter into the body of Christ honest, open, and needy. Seeking counsel is a good thing, and woe are we if we live our lives without counsel, exhortation, encouragement, or people knowing us. So the Word of God counsels and the people of God are meant to counsel. As God’s people it is good and healthy and right for us to seek it.
What kind of counsel is good? Should we go to a professional?
The answer is, it depends. There are wise, Christ-centered counselors all over the world, and that is counsel worth seeking. However, there are also men and women all over the world who offer human wisdom for their counsel. Counsel that is Christ-less and not rooted in God or birthed by his spirit. That type of counsel is dangerous and deadly. Satan himself counsels. Demons through people counsel. So there are dangers in seeking the counsel of the world. The Word of God warns us against teachers, or counselors, who will deaden our affections for Jesus and fill our hearts and minds with words that are misleading. There is counsel that is hurtful and harmful.
So we are all tasked with the important decision of what kind of counsel do I seek. Where should I go for counsel?
Christians can certainly learn from non-Christians, but there is a level of wisdom from the Word of God and the Spirit that is not found elsewhere. Those who have the Word of God, the people of God, and the Spirit of God should not leave the refuge of God’s counselors and seek a system that does not have Jesus Christ in the middle.
John Henderson is the is the Executive Director of the Center for Church Equipping for the Association of Biblical Counselors and guest instructor at the Kanakuk Institute.