Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jesus our Faithful Friend

Joan showed up at my office desperate and scared. Before she came, she had explained that she heard condemning internal voices and felt hopeless and worthless. She added that she was addicted to alcohol and wanted to die. When she walked into the counseling room, Joan began with this disclaimer. "I'm an agnostic." The look on her face as she told me this said, "I have really been wounded by someone religious." After some get-acquainted chitchat, I said, "Would you entertain a 'what if' question?" "Of course," she said. "What if there is a God?" She said , "I am very uncomfortable with that statement." After talking for a time abut the possibility of the existence of a supreme being, I asked permission to go a step further. I asked her, "What if there is a God who is a personal God?" "That thought frightens me!" she exclaimed. This resulted in a thought-provoking discussion concerning the possibility of a personal God. I then asked if I could take the discussion one step further. She agreed. I said, "What if there is a personal God who loves you?" "That's impossible!" she retorted. I sensed something deep and possibly horrible lurking beneath this outburst, and I asked more questions, probing her and waiting for honest answers when she deliberated. Soon, a floodgate of emotions welled out. She exclaimed, with a level of intensity I rarely see, "I grew up in an evangelical home and was taken to Church on a regular basis. At the same time my parents were engaging in drunken orgies in our home. As she described her childhood experiences, I began to understand the horror lurking inside. Joan had been exposed to the most vile sin and abuse at an early age. As a result, she grew up confused and cynical about religion and God. The god of her parents was a dirty joke. She recoiled at the thought of knowing such a god. In further conversations I was able to present the living and true God, citing specifically the character and person of Jesus. Using many Scriptures, I showed Joan four truths about the caring and vibrant life of Jesus of Nazareth: Jesus came down from a perfect home in heaven to a sinful earth not only to show people how to live abundantly, but also to make it possible for them to have that abundance in reality (from John 10:10). He gave up all His possessions in order to identify with men and women and be like them so that people would know He truly understands their plight (from Hebrews 2:17-18). Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings. He purposely chose not to show His glory to people, but was like them in every way, experiencing poverty and pain, rather than glory and power (from Philippians 2:6-8). Christ became a servant to those around Him, even to the point of washing His own disciples' feet so that He could show them He was not only willing to put them before Himself, but to set an example for how they were to behave toward others as well (for example, Luke 22:27; John 13:3-16). Through these truths, I was able to show this counselee that Jesus is the God who prays for me, loves me, lives in me, and serves me. Joan was astonished at these revelations, finding them attractive but difficult to accept. When we finished, I asked, "What will you do with the true Jesus?" Joan didn't know and continues thinking about that question. Not all counseling situations lead to a conversion, and I continue to pray for her salvation.

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