I write further today on issues appertaining to the post from yesterday (see here). The Lord’s dealing with the two on the road to Emmaus is, in a sense, what might be termed, in modern parlance, a counselling session. In fact, I would say that this portion of scripture provides us with the rubric for all counselling.
I was at a conference back in March organised by Biblical Counselling UK. One thing that struck me through attending this conference was that we spent the best part of three days unpacking the Emmaus Road experience. The conference was putting flesh on the bones of the principles and practices derived from the approach of the Lord in Luke 24.
This, to me, is very exciting because it means that counselling is not the preserve of the professionals, but is a ministry that every Christian should engage in to a lesser or greater extent. Now as I mentioned in yesterday’s piece there are matters where those with special training and experience need to be involved. And it will require wisdom for the individual to discern when they are getting to a place where they know that the person they are trying to help needs special help. Nevertheless all can be involved in this great ministry.
This therefore can get us beyond the wasting of our time just on trivia when we meet others. We must want to be interested in one another and therefore ask questions of others that go that bit deeper into their lives.
This leads me to conclude that the use of the counselling term needs to be done with care because it can be counter-productive to healthy church life. People think, whether consciously or not, that it’s the elders or what other specialists who do the counselling. Whereas we should all be doing this through basically caring for one another.
In all this I would thoroughly recommend the material provided by Biblical Counselling Uk (see here) and the equivalent ministry in the US Christian Counselling and Education Foundation (see here). Both these organisations provide rich resources for helping us to care for one another in our churches.