At one time or another, every one of us has been the recipient of bad counsel from a fellow Christian. It can be a tough thing to swallow advice tainted with inaccuracies, hurtful words, or false assumptions. We all know what our default response is to such counsel. We might get angry at their intrusiveness, be discouraged by their hurtful tone, or even be judgmental toward their judgmentalism. But is there a way to receive bad counsel in a such a way that is beneficial, not only for you, but also for your fellow Christian?
By ‘bad counsel,’ I am not referring to false teaching or heretical counsel which rejects Jesus Christ and his Word. This counsel must be utterly rejected. I’m referring to counsel delivered by a Christian brother or sister that might come across as judgmental, hypocritical, ‘legalistic,’ or insensitive. I understand that there is a time and place to lovingly confront such counsel, but how can we actually benefit from it? Here are four ways that you can make the most of a less-than-ideal counseling situation.
Elias Keach was a 17th century pastor’s kid - the son of the respected Baptist minister, Benjamin Keach. Benjamin Keach was known for introducing hymn singing in Baptist churches, writing a catechism, and preceding the pastoral ministry of Charles Spurgeon. But Elias didn’t adopt his parents’ religion. Forsaking their beliefs, he left London to go to the American Colonies in 1689. In this new environment, he became known as the son of the famous Benjamin Keach, which brought him great admiration and respect. Taking advantage of this, Elias would wear clergy outfits, posing as a man of God. Although he played the part well, his heart was far from God.
Murders come in all kinds of ways. They come through violence. They come through domestic squabbles. They come through gang warfares. The history of the world is unfortunately littered with records of murder. In fact, murders are so commonplace that they don’t always make the news cycle unless they’re bizarre or multiple. Yet, the most prevalent form of murder that never gets reported is anger.
Growing up I was taught about modesty through talks at youth seminars, Sunday school, and youth group. I can remember being taught about tips and rules for how to be modest. While some of these tips are helpful, I grew up believing modesty was a set of standards that prevent you from dressing in a way that tempts men.
God is good.
These are words often uttered to those experiencing difficult trials in their lives. Unfortunately, these also are words that often sound hollow to the one experiencing those trials--cotton-candy, feel-good, substanceless words in the midst of excruciating pain or unbearable temptation:
God is good.
Since the garden of Eden, one of humanity’s greatest temptations is to doubt that Author of Good is truly good. In the opening chapters of Genesis, everything God creates is “very good.” Yet, when the serpent comes to Eve, he plants this thought in her mind: God is withholding good from me.
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