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Getting a person to spit out the facts of the situation is the bare minimum. We are relational beings, and we are to relate to each other. The Psalms are full of information that the Lord does not need to help a person. But He listens. He inspired the Psalm writers to write these long poems, in part, to show He is a listening God.
In the old TV police drama, Dragnet, Seargent Joe Friday was famous for saying, “Just give me the facts, ma’am.”
This tip is more than a method; you must genuinely care for the person you’re helping. Carefully read the 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 to learn the great affection Paul had for a group of individuals who were hard to love.
Christian counseling is neither Christian nor counseling if you do it without tears. – Wayne Mack
What a person says comes from their heart. When they talk, they are revealing to you what is going on inside of them. You always listen on two levels: (1) the words they say and (2) the heart motivations behind those words.
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:43-45
At some point in all counseling, you’re going to have to tell the person to do something. Sometimes what you say will be hard truth. Christians speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), but the person you’re talking to might not know you love them if you have not spent adequate time with them.
You build relational bridges to carry truth across. If you have not built a relational bridge and try to communicate difficult things, you may blow up the relationship.
Ultimately, you want to help the person, but because we are relational beings, we take our time when we do it. We’re never herding cattle through a stall. We are caring for sheep.
If you have spent adequate time with them, you will have your best shot at helping them. Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the wife who shared her problem with her husband, and he told her what to do, and she responded in anger. Fixing her problem was only part of her problem: she wanted to be heard and understood. If you give them adequate time, you will increase your chances of helping them.
Soul surgery requires spiritual discernment. You want to make sure you’re operating on the right thing. While problems of the heart are not that diverse, you want to be thorough.