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Ep. 314 It Takes Courage To Understand a Person the Right Way

Ep. 314 It Takes Courage to Understand a Person the Right Way

Shows Main Idea – Understanding someone is more in-depth than understanding what is happening to a person. Too often, hurt people only want someone to understand them so that they feel affirmation and validation. This critical need is one of six things that make up biblical understanding. Rick talks about the courage and competence needed to understand a person the right way.

Show Notes

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Descriptive Psychology, defined in an elementary way, is the science of understanding a person and their problem, including all the interrelated parts, aspects, behaviors, hidden idolatries, and complicating factors.

  • Understanding the person
  • Understanding what the person does not perceive
  • Understanding the other side of the story
  • Listening to them at two levels
  • Ability to reclarify with a biblical hermeneutic
  • Ability to restate all of the above with conciseness, clarity, accuracy, and comprehensiveness

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Case Study

Case Study: Mable struggles with anxiety in response to Biff’s actions.

Bad Counseling: The counselor listens to the story, restates all Mable said about what Biff did, and Mable feels heard. She stays in her victimization. He gives her a few verses, a book to read, and asks her to be part of his Facebook Group for victims of [whatever happened to Mable].

Better Counseling: The counselor listens to her story. He draws out what happened, how she thinks about it, and more. He delves into their relationship and both of their lists of shaping influences. He assesses more in-depth Mable’s thought patterns.

  • She has a formulaic relationship with God.
  • She struggles with regret.
  • She has a weak view of suffering.
  • She is struggling with self-righteousness.
  • She learns how to stave off the temptation of victimization.
  • (Of course, the counselor brings Biff into the counseling, confronts him, sets up a long-term plan for help, and more.)

Most people can’t do this. They don’t have the skill, insight, or biblical expansiveness. Minimally, they can restate in another way what the person said to them. The counselee “feels heard” and understood. Dangerous. In worse cases, the counselee will give the counselor authority to prescribe solutions. But if the counselor does not have a complete understanding, their counsel will be incomplete and, typically, skewed to one side, which usually tickles the hearer’s ears.

Two Key Aspects

Courage: It takes a lot of courage to understand someone the right way. Too many “counselors” do not understand what the person needs to hear or understand but don’t have the courage (and compassion) to say it. Thus, they compromise the understanding that they could provide.

Self-esteem: There are many adverse side-effects from the self-esteem movement. One is this misunderstanding and misapplication of “being heard.” We only want to hear what we want to hear—esteeming ourselves most of all, which makes us feel better at the moment.

If the folks that came to Jesus only heard what they wanted to hear, it would have proven disastrous. Esteeming God more than ourselves positions us to hear the whole story—assuming the counselor has the character, competence, compassion, and courage to provide a fuller understanding of what is happening.

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