What to do when Biblical counsel is not received?
What to do when Biblical counsel is not received?
We all have people we minister Christ to daily or occasionally in our lives, sometimes it is planned other times it is an impromptu God appointment.
What can be discussed is anything, from disagreements, offences, not repenting for sin or advice on them being caught in the trap of false teaching or a break in fellowship.
To do this accurately and with a right attitude the Bible must be our guideline, the Holy Spirit must have control of our emotions to make any progress with those we minister to. Even when using the Bible, or common sense or logic, in both witnessing or counseling (which involves decision matters), some do not take to heart what is said.
It can be a pride issue or just rebellion in a certain area but this can affect relationships as well as our own heart. No one likes rejection, but we are not the message, but message givers. It’s not us they reject. In witnessing they reject Jesus’ love for them, in counseling they reject God's instructions for them; often to their own demise. It may take time for them to come to their senses, God is patient but eventually the repercussions of their choices will come back to them.
Prov. 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.”
We are not to strive with the person, spend too much time to try and convince them of their wrong when they are unwilling to hear it. Some people purposely blind themselves by their doing wrong to others. Thus God calls them fools. It further says Prov. 16:2 “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits.” (Prov.21:2) The book of wisdom (Proverbs) has much to say on this, as Solomon who penned it was known to be the wisest ruler at the time.
Prov. 26:4 “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.”
Sometimes we want to give an answer to ones wrong answers and wrong behavior, to do this we can become like them.
Prov. 9:8-9 “Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
Sometimes we feel obligated to answer when it’s best to wait. They may not be willing to receive the truth because of their own hardened heart or other influences that has convinced them of lies they currently believe. Truth is not easily accepted, this can be true inside the church, with believers as well.
Prov. 15:18 “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”
Sometimes people react in anger, we can overlook this if it is once or twice but if they are continually angry we can know that “anger rests in the bosom of fools.” (Eccl 7:9). Anger does not always show outwardly, but it can live in one’s heart and rule their decisions. It often has them resist hearing the other side of a matter. It will always stop any reconciliation.
If you’re counseling 2 parties you must ALWAYS hear both sides – fully, hear the evidence, find out the facts and weigh it out or you have disqualified yourself to be that counselor. For if you don't hear both sides anything you say in a decision will be a biased opinion not based on facts. This is especially true in counseling friendships and marriages.
In these matters there are only two sides, which are opposites; wisdom and foolishness. We will either be on one or the other, and so will the parties we are counseling.
Prov. 16:22 “Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly.”
One must come from understanding and a genuine compassion and care for the person[s]. But the truth must be the priority for one to reach a right conclusion and give that understanding to those being counseled. I have seen people say anything to save their image or reputation. But you can always tell because they are self focused and will say “I,” “I” and “I;” how they feel, how it affects and hurts them completely neglecting what they did to someone else.
One can easily fall into the trap of a feigned response that influences them to preserve a friendship over the truth. Prov. 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” A friend is one who is willing to tell another the truth even it hurts them. Because they genuinely care for the person they are willing to tell them what hurts and risk the friendship.
James 3:13-18 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
We can be fooled by outward actions, especially by people’s words that can sound so humble and sincere when they are hiding behind their conniving, doing wrong or evil. Here is the test, do they pursue the truth no matter where it will take them? Do you?
Prov. 17:4 “An evildoer gives heed to false lips; a liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.” How receptive are we when we listen to those who lie. Do we listen when someone has harmful things to say of another that is not true? Then we are justifying them and we join in their lie. Again this is not godly but perpetuates their evil.
If they are truly seeking to makes peace are they willing to admit the wrong they have done, willing to take responsibility for the reactions that has brought harm. If they continue to lie and make the situation worse than you know they are not honest and God is not working in this matter. They are playing a religious game, deceiving themselves and you. I have seen many proficient in their religious games, especially pastors who do not want to honestly reconcile any contention.
Prov. 23:9 “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.”
If it comes to a stalemate, and they do not listen, we step away and let God do what is necessary. We can still pray for them and the situation. Breaking fellowship can take place when necessary because they refuse to do the right thing according to the Bible.
This often will happen when someone is listening to two opinions and has a choice to tell the truth to those they counsel, or, they can make a decision for their own benefit, for their self aggrandizement to keep a friendship. I have seen this become the downfall of many who were exercising wisdom, pastoring with integrity. This is the way of sinful man, not the way of the Godly. Neglecting, avoiding to tell what is true to a friend shows that you are not being a friend to that person. It shows that you value their friendship over the truth which is supposed to be the objective in counseling them. It’s about correction and keeping people on track, not allowing to them to go off the narrow path.
Prov. 24:23-26 “These things also belong to the wise: it is not good to show partiality in judgment. He who says to the wicked, "You are righteous," him the people will curse; nations will abhor him. But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them. He who gives a right answer kisses the lips.”
I have seen Pastors who say one thing to one person and another to someone else to keep the peace or friendship, or their jobs. They will avoid confronting a person who has done wrong or even blatant evil to keep their friendship intact and play the matter down like a politician. Other pastors want to ignore the conflict and will try to step away and not get involved to keep the peace (for themselves). They view this as win, win situation for all. But this is not godly wisdom, its compromise. Nobody wins when they neglect their pastoral duties.
Prov. 17:14-15 “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts. He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.”
We must do all we can to take care of a situation from the onset. I have experienced this personally, when one gets a hold of another’s ear and without proving a thing they convince them they are right and they have the other condemn the person who is just in the situation.
This does not mean one is 100% right and the other is 100% wrong but when there is someone who escalates the problem instead of working to resolve it before it blows up you have the flesh or evil at work. The faster one repents shows their spiritual maturity.
Prov. 14:5 “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies”.
We are to be mature spiritually and when we counsel we must understand someone can be right and someone is in the wrong. Someone is telling the truth and the other is not (this can be in various degrees.)
Galat. 6:1 ...“you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness” (1 Cor.2:15). Clearly when someone does not do this they are not spiritual. Some want those who have caused difficulties to leave. Even after the matter has been settled. They speak of second and third chances but if someone has rubbed them the wrong way they have no second or third chance. Sheep do rub each other the wrong way all the time, this is why we are to be gracious with one another. But the only thing that prevents this is when a person does not repent of their wrong and does not want to reconcile or allow the process to take place. This shows pride, a lack of genuine spirituality operating in their life, which includes pastors.
We are follow Christ and NO ONE is above the word of God. Jesus said among the many things that defile us "… an evil eye,…pride, foolishness." (Mark 7:22-23).
3 Jn. 1:11 “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.”
We are to prevent ourselves from acting in the flesh or with demonic wisdom. You can tell who they are by their scheming and clever words that persuade people that the wrong they have done is right, justified. They act impulsively for their own interests.
For those who have done damage to the sheep, only admitting this to God is not sufficient. We are to go to the one we offend and if it has gone beyond this person there needs to be open repentance. Only this will bring them peace and remove the turmoil in there heart.
Isa. 1:16-17 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”
God is always on the side of victims who have been abused and hurt, thrown to wayside. True shepherds help not hinder, they bind up not open wounds and heal not further an infection. We need to know what we do to others and recognize the abuse that takes place in leadership for our and others safety.
Prov. 24:12 He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
Prov. 21:15-16 “It is a joy for the just to do justice, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity. A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead.”
Rest assured, those pastors who oppress, who lie and ignore those they have hurt without admitting and doing all they can to make it right will reap what they sow. God guarantees this.