Theology of Care
People were made in the image of God, but sin marred our humanity and separated us from our Creator. Separation from God, the Giver of life, brought spiritual death (Genesis 1-3). Sin is not only an offense against God, but also the cause of all human suffering and dysfunction.
However, God so loved the world that he sent his Son to save people from spiritual death and the damaging effects of sin (John 3:16-17). Scripture points to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus not only as the means of salvation, but as the model and methodology for personal growth. By his work people are forgiven sin and given renewed relationship with God and by his word and Spirit people are comforted and conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29, 2 Peter 1:3-4). The person and work of Jesus restores relationship with God, which enables people to, once again, image God.
Therefore, counseling, at it’s core, is issue focused disciple-making. The counselor is a Spirit-filled image bearer of Jesus. She has a renewed relationship with God and is being conformed to the image of God. She needs to know her need for Jesus and she needs to be able to relate the word of God to the heart and mind of others in a clear and practical manner. This involves compassionately wading through many of the thoughts, hurts, anxieties, fears and longings that shape beliefs, disrupt the body, and drive actions.
Counselors must be attentive to people amidst the suffering that sin causes in this world as well as able to speak the truth in love in response to each person’s participation in sin. As people receive care and gain more clarity amidst their struggles, the grace and truth of God are able to be applied with empathetic and redemptive precision. In Christ, by the word and Spirit of God, people are able to be comforted by the reparative love of God and empowered to live out the character of Christ.
As the gospel anchors the hope that drives counsel, God is glorified and his church is made increasingly beautiful.