This is an age of relativism. You hear, “Truth is whatever you perceive it to be.” Or “What is true for me is not necessarily true for you.” Or, “There is no truth beyond what we ourselves perceive.” While, in many ways you and I may see the same event in two different ways (i.e. two personal truths) , there is absolutely truth that does not depend on our perception for its reality. Jesus said to the Father, “Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17)
Failure to recognize truth beyond ourselves and to accommodate ourselves to it has left our social structure fragmented. In general, life’s meaning and purpose come out of relationships. Whoever has a personal relationship with God has an anchor point that is constant, reliable and trustworthy. This relationship provides a basic framework within which all the changeable, relative experiences of life find their place.
The period of Judges recorded in the Old Testament was characterized by disintegration of the Hebrew people and cultural instability, much as we experience today. God’s commentary on the cause of their state is found in the last sentence of the book of Judges: “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
For the Christian, truth is not just an abstract mental concept; it is also a Person. And that Person is not just a historical figure; He is a bridge to a never-ending connectedness to our designer, creator, and sustainer. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).
MORALITY: A Bridge to Right Living
Morality refers to principles of conduct. It looks at rules for how to prevent breakdowns within human beings and to reduce friction between them. Moral philosophers tell us that there are three aspects of morality important to understand:
1. Personal morality: what goes on within an individual; character and motives.
2. Social morality; how we treat others; justice, fairness, and honesty.
3. Ultimate morality; the general direction and purpose of human life.
C.S. Lewis gives us an analogy of how these three aspects relate. “You can get the idea if you think of us as a gleet of ships sailing in formation. The voyage will be a success only in the first place if the ships do not collide and get in one another’s way; and secondly, if each ship is seaworthy and has her engines in good order.” Referring to the third aspect, Lewis says, “However well the fleet sails, its voyage would be a failure if it were meant to reach New York and actually arrived in Calcutta.”
The most effective way of ensuring all three aspects of moral values is through a personal relationship to Christ. Christianity provides clear-cut moral standards that help reduce friction between people. Christianity provides a transformation of one’s character and a dimension to one’s life that gives inner resources and motivation to follow these standards. Christianity answers the basic questions concerning purpose and destiny.
COUNSELING: A Bridge to Reality
Counseling deals with relationships and reality. A mentally healthy person perceives his world realistically, with minimal distortion. When he is afraid, he calls it fear; when affectionate, affection. When a loved one is experiencing love he sees it as love (not manipulation). He perceives similarity to others without loss of identity and differences without estrangement. He can give without a sense of loss and can receive without a sense of obligation.
If a person is a Christian, why is counseling needed? Christian conversion essentially changes an individual’s position before God from a stranger to an adopted child and heir. Although upon conversion God begins the work of transforming an individual into the likeness of His Son, He has a lot of work to do. A Christian is still human and subject to all the frailties experienced by any other human. Whether an individual is relating to God or to a person, perceptions play a large part. A person who has always hesitated expressing a wish to his parents due to some feared consequences will likely have difficulty praying to God. He may anticipate the same fearful consequences from the powerful authority figure.
Counseling can help dispel irrational fears. It can help a person be more mature and have better relationships. It can help a person experience more of the abundance and richness of the Christian life. It helps a person look at things more positively. It is a bridge to reality.
WHAT IS A MATURE PERSON?
A mature person is one who . . .
truly reverences God;
has a realistic view of self and others;
accepts himself and others;
lives in the present but has long range goals;
has values and is motivated to follow them;
has ability and interest in coping with the tasks of living.
These aspects of maturity can well be the goals of counseling