Every individual who needs counsel is also a part of many groups. They’re a member of their family now, their family of origin, the Army family (or other cultural families), someone’s friend, neighbor, student, etc. They’re a member of a socioeconomic class, race, gender, religious group, citizen of a nation, and much, much more.
All of these groups are voices of influence in their lives. Some are loud and constant, positive and negative, while others whisper one or both occasionally. They tuned some out long ago, but others are hard to shake. The same is true of you. You may talk with them alone, but neither of you is ever alone.
In order for us to serve others well, we need to reflect on how our various groups have impacted us for good or bad and encourage the hurting person to reflect on the same.
In these videos on peer counseling (as opposed to professional counseling), we’re beginning with some basics and adding more dynamics to consider as we go. I know we’ve only covered a few subjects in the last few weeks, but we mustn’t go too far without acknowledging that being in different types of communities is God’s good design to give and/or receive love. And we must also remember that all of those groups are fallen in sin, too.
Consider any of the following prompts and related passages on group influences.
- How did the serpent and Eve distort what God had declared as “good” and “true”? (Genesis 3:1-5)
- When the twelve spies returned from checking out the Promised land, they brought new information about unforeseen challenges. Only Caleb and Joshua saw an opportunity to see God’s faithfulness. Describe the series of results after their reports. (Numbers 13:25-14:45)
- Name some of the practical reasons the book of Proverbs calls us to surround ourselves with godly people? (Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 17:17, 20:18, 27:6 and 10)
- In what sudden or subtle ways did others discourage or frustrate the work of God’s people in rebuilding the temple and wall of Jerusalem? (Nehemiah 6:1-9 and Ezra 4:1-24)
- A paradygm shift event is anything that causes us to see or do things completely differently – for better or worse. Describe the group paradygm shifts in any of the following: the influences of Solomon’s foreign wives in 1 Kings 11:3, the rediscovered Law in 2 Kings 22:8ff, the scattered believers in Acts 8, God’s saving the Gentile family of Cornelius in Acts 11.
- In Matthew 5:21-48, the Lord Jesus addressed the Pharisees’ minimalist, letter-of-the-Law mentality and why we need a systematically different view of the Law. How should Jesus’ look at the heart change how we hear voices of minimalism or legalism?
- Describe some of the reasons the Lord’s followers should seek to live in close, regular fellowship with each other. (Luke 10:1-12, Acts 2:42-47, Romans 12:1-18, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Ephesians 2:11-22, Philippians 2:1-11, etc.)
- Depending on your translation, there are almost 60 “one another” passages in the New Testament describing how to love each other in Christ. How does such active worship, service, and fellowship with other believers put the voices of condemnation, temptation, and lies behind us and to help transform us as members of the Body of Christ?
If you found this video to be helpful, you might also benefit from my article, 4 Areas of Counseling in Christ, and some devotional thoughts on the 12 times the book of Proverbs refers to a “person of understanding” in the series similarly named, Counseling as a Person of Understanding.