The First Step to Counseling Others

Posted by David

When someone comes to me with a problem, I’m finding that the most important step in providing good counsel is to understand that I have ownership in their problem. You may ask, “What ownership do I have with so and so’s problem?”

We all are connected. In many ways we are all a part of the human organism. We affect each other in ways that we don’t understand. The frustrations that I provide one person affect another person and so on. Even the things that I don’t do or even hesitate to do that I know I should do affect others in ways that are damaging. What I’m saying is that on the grand scale, I have ownership in Mankind’s problem, even the ones occurring on the other side of the planet. We are all connected. The anger I spill out in a simple look of my eyes can spread like wildfire. It’s imperative that I know this simple fact when faced with a position to counsel another. If I say to myself, “His problem is his problem—I’m a neutral party,” then I’m missing the big picture and I’m missing the biggest part of reconciliation: repentance. In repentance, water is sprayed on the wildfire. I must repent for my part before I can do any good. In fact, the act of my repentance is part of what does some good. When we are faced with another person’s problem, we must seek forgiveness for ourselves first as part owners of the problem. Then we can become true intercessors.

Naturally, this becomes a burden for us, if done with the fullness of our heart. We are in a sense, shouldering the judgment owed to the other, which if truly felt and truly accepted will cause us suffering. However, this burden does not need to be heavy for us. Because the ultimate intercessor of Mankind is Christ, so our burden is on his shoulders and nailed to his cross. This is my recent Lenten discovery.

On the macro-scale, this is what Christ did for the world. He shouldered the judgment owed to mankind and allowed for reconciliation between God and man. But Jesus passed this role on to his church. We are to go throughout the earth and consume the wildfire of man’s sin, through our repentance first. We do this through interaction, intercession, and counsel with others. But we first do this through acceptance of our involvement. Even if I think I’m remote, distant, disconnected and neutral, I’m not. Your problems are my problems. The only important distinction is in choice. I can choose to ask for forgiveness. This happens within my will. We each have domain over our own wills.

Forgive us for our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.


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