Has the Lord put someone in your path who seems to feel stuck or is clearly wayward from a good path? They need godly counsel to help them get “unstuck” or back on track. And, while the contents of godly teaching and the power of godly compassion, discernment, courage, etc. are certainly part of Christian counsel, none of us serves others in a void. To some degree or another, all of us are daily influenced by our family of origin, usually our parents and siblings and sometimes extended family or close friends, too. If we’re going counsel others in ways that honor the Lord, we need to be able to identify and sift through how our family has influenced our counsel in good and bad ways, then help the hurting person to do the same.
Last week we looked at Peer Counseling: Discerning the Significance of Group Values in general. This week we’re narrowing the focus to some of the most powerful voices of influence in our lives.
Consider some of the following prompts and related passages on family influences.
- How did Cain and Abel’s separate sacrifices in Genesis 4:1-5 reflect two completely different parts of their parents’ experience with coming before God with the work of their hands versus animal sacrifices in Genesis 3:7 and 21?
- Discuss the many recurring instances of deception in the lives of Rebekah, her son Jacob, his wife Rachel, and Laban, Rebekah’s brother from Genesis 25:28 – 31:35. What was their influence on each other?
- How does the physical description of Eli in 1 Samuel 4:18 shed light on why his sons did not listen to his warnings in 1 Samuel 2:12-25?
- What can we infer from Jeremiah 31:29 about their understanding of a father’s influence on his children versus God’s statement in verse 30 and Ezekiel 18:2?
- In 2 Kings 20:21 – 21:25, we see two of the most wicked kings of Judah, Manasseh and his son, Amon. Yet Manasseh’s father and Amon’s son were arguably two of Judah’s most godly kings: Hezekiah and Josiah. What lessons are we to draw from this?
- Is Jesus ignoring His biological mother and brothers in Matthew 12:46-50 or saying something more significant? If so, what is He saying?
- In Luke 14:26, Jesus says “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” In the larger context of the parallel passage in Matthew 10, what does this mean?
- Why did the Lord’s disciples often refer to each other as family? (Acts 7:2, 22:1, 28:17, 1 Corinthians 7:17, James 2:15, 1 John 3:10, etc.)
- Notice that the first relationships in the Bible are family: Adam and Eve as God’s children and each others’ spouses. The last verse of Malachi 4 in the Old Testament address family relationships. The first verses of Matthew 1 are genealogies of families. And the last section of Revelation 22:17-21 refers to the Bride of Christ calling to Jesus, the Groom, to return. What does this say about God’s emphasis on family?
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.