Hebrews 12:1-3—Cloud of Witnesses “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Helping Hurting and Hardened People Can Feel Like a Maze!
Our GPS: Suffering and Sinning “Pastoral care is defective unless it can deal thoroughly both with the evils we have suffered and with the sins we have committed.”
Our Biblical Counseling GPS: Sustaining and Healing for Suffering Sustaining: “It’s Normal to Hurt”—Empathize (Romans 12:15) Healing: “It’s Possible to Hope”—Encourage (Genesis 50:20)
Our Biblical Counseling GPS: Reconciling and Guiding for Sinning Reconciling: “It’s Horrible to Sin, but Wonderful to Be Forgiven”—Enlighten (Romans 5:20) Guiding: “It’s Supernatural to Mature”—Empower (Philippians 3:10)
Our GPS: Sustaining, Healing, Reconciling, and Guiding
Sustaining “It’s normal to hurt.” Permission to grieve. “Life is bad.” The earthly story.
Listen to Their Earthly Story “It was in the fall of 1879 that I met Charlotte Brooks. I have spent hours with her listening to her telling of her sad life of bondage in the cane-fields of Louisiana.” Do Not Be Ignorant of One Another’s Suffering: 2 Corinthians 1:3-9
Empathize with Their Earthly Story “Poor Charlotte Brooks! I can never forget how her eyes were filled with tears when she would speak of all her children: ‘Gone, and no one to care for me!’” Climb in the Casket!
Empathize with Their Earthly Story “Aunt Charlotte, my heart throbs with sympathy, and my eyes are filled with tears, whenever I hear you tell of the trials of yourself and others.” Shared Sorrow Is Endurable Sorrow
Point Them to the Word in Their Earthly Story “La, me, child! I never thought any body would care enough for me to tell of my trials and sorrows in this world! None but Jesus knows what I have passed through.” Jesus with Skin On!
Point Them to the Word in Their Earthly Story “Aunt Jane used to tell us that the children of Israel were in Egypt in bondage, and that God delivered them out of Egypt; and she said he would deliver us, too.” The Living Word and the Written Word
Healing Healing—“ It’s possible to hope.” Encouragement to grow. “God is good.” The eternal/heavenly story.
Stretch Them to the Eternal Story “I may say with Joseph that whatever evil intentions and bad motives those insidious robbers had in carrying me away from my native country and friends, I trust, was what the Lord intended for my good.” Crop Christ Back into the Picture Celebrate the Empty Tomb
Stretch Them to God’s Story “The deep sounding groans of 1000s, and the great sadness of their misery and woe, are such as can only be distinctly known to the ear of Jehovah Sabaoth.” Cling to Our Image of God’s Holy Love and Affectionate Sovereignty
Stretch Them to the Scriptural Story “I early accustomed myself to look at the hand of God in the minutest occurrence, and to learn from it a lesson. After all, what makes any event important, unless by observation we become better and wiser, and learn ‘to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God!’” Weave in the Truth: We Are More Than Conquerors
Stretch Them to the Scriptural Story “I acknowledge the mercies of Providence in every occurrence of my life.” See Life with Spiritual Eyes
Reconciling Sin and Sanctification: Grace! Reconciling—“It’s Horrible to Sin but Wonderful to Be Forgiven!” Romans 5:20
Load the Conscience with Guilt “I came to see you, not to discuss a point of law as to the nature of your trial, for that is all useless, my friend, and I must tell you that today, at 12 o’clock you will be executed—yes, you will be shot. Now, let you and myself kneel down and address a throne of grace where you may obtain mercy and help in time of need.”
Load the Conscience with Guilt “I told him to stand up and walk with me. I took his arm, and went out to the gate where thousands of persons had assembled to see him. He entered the wagon, and sat on his coffin. I then got in with him, took a seat by his side, and commenced talking about the Gospel and praying all the way.”
Expose the Heart Sin: False Worship “I was a lost sinner and a slave to Satan; and soon I saw that I must make another escape from another tyrant. I did not by any means forget my fellow-bondmen, of whom I had been sorrowing so deeply, and travailing in spirit so earnestly; but I now saw that while man had been injuring me, I had been offending God;...
Expose the Heart Sin: False Worship... and that unless I ceased to offend him, I could not expect to have his sympathy in my wrongs; and moreover, that I could not be instrumental in eliciting his powerful aid in behalf of those for whom I mourned so deeply.”
Lighten the Conscience with Grace “Do you believe that Jesus will be with you?” “Yes.” “Do you put all your trust in him?” “I do.” “Do you believe that you will be saved?” “I do; for though they may destroy my body, they cannot hurt my soul.”
Lighten the Conscience with Grace “Forgive, him—forgive, O thou Blessed Jesus, for Thou didst die for all mankind, and bid them to come unto Thee, and partake of everlasting life. Save him, Lord—save him, for none can save but Thee, and Thee alone. Amen. Good-by, my brother, good-by.” Be a Dispenser of Grace
Provide Tastes of Grace “Have you forgiven me?” “Yes, Mars.” “How can you forgive me, Charlie?” “I love you as though you never hit me a lick, for the God I serve is a God of love.” “I am sorry for what I did.” “I done left the past behind me.”
Provide Tastes of Grace “I love you as though you never hit me a lick, for the God I serve is a God of love.”
Guiding Guiding—“It’s Supernatural to Mature”
Maria Stewart “Many think, because your skins are tinged with a sable hue, that you are an inferior race of beings; but God does not consider you as such. He hath formed and fashioned you in his own glorious image, and hath bestowed upon you reason and strong powers of intellect.... Enlighten to Their Identity in Christ
Maria Stewart... He hath made you to have dominion over the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea (Genesis 1:26). He hath crowned you with glory and honor; hath made you but a little lower than the angels (Psalms 8:5).” Enlighten to Their Identity in Christ Gospel Indicative
Encourage to Live Out Their New Life “I had felt the power of God and tasted his love, and this had killed all the spirit of hate in my heart years before this happened. Whenever a man has been killed dead and made alive in Christ Jesus, he no longer feels like he did when he was a servant of the devil....
Gospel Imperative Encourage to Live Out Their New Life …Sin kills dead, but the Spirit of God makes alive. I didn’t know that such a change could be made, for in my younger days I used to be a hellcat.”
Guiding Guiding Pictured: Stir Up the Gift of God
Homework for the Biblical Counselor What have you learned from the heroes of the Black Church that you can add to your ministry so that your biblical counseling is more culturally-informed and comprehensive?
Learning from the Heroes of Black Church History: Growing as Culturally-Informed, Comprehensive Biblical Counselors