Week 17

More than Performance and Personality of Man, Grace Counseling Rooted in the Righteousness (Person) of Christ

Performance Counseling (Plan B) to support going and giving is different than Grace Counseling (Plan A) which supports coming and receiving. The one focuses on counselees’ behavior, attempts to motivate and control their compliance through guilt, fear, ego, and intimidation, and relies on the skills, energy, and personality of the counselor. The other focuses on counselees’ unmet inborn needs and the brokenness that results, God’s provisions for meeting those needs, and the resources they can connect to through which those provisions flow from God into their lives. The one is a work-on-your-self, you-can-do-it strategy rooted in human strength; the other is rooted in the work of Christ within us to which we connect through confession of need.

“For I am not ashamed of (I am passionate for) the gospel… because it reveals 'who Christ is' in us (his righteousness) as God’s power (dynamic) for our healing.” – from Romans 1:16-17 (paraphrased)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D27

Grace: The Freedom to Say NO

Hyper-Calvinism teaches a doctrine called “irresistible grace,” specifically meaning that God’s work to regenerate the unsaved is imposed. But grace cannot be defined as a gift if it is forced.

Consistent with this understanding, grace counseling does not attempt to control compliance. (If a counselee does not respond, the relationship is terminated.)

But grace counseling does call for counselees to give an honest hearing and consideration to the information we provide. The relationship is based on the confidence that the counselee has been guided by the Holy Spirit to  
  1. confess his/her need and God’s faithfulness to meet that need, and then to
  2. identify the resources through which God’s provisions flow into their lives to meet those needs.
Counselees’ may reject the information on its merit, but not because they are intolerant to being wrong, to not knowing everything, or to being taught. 

Actually, the Holy Spirit is the Teacher and will guide us into all Truth - which means the grace counselor is only a vessel whom the Holy Spirit uses to support the counselee’s response/connection to Christ.

It is by virtue of this connection that (according to Galatians 5:23) the Holy Spirit
  1. communicates information to the counselee’s mind and then
  2. births/produces
  • faith (confidence) that the information is Truth,
  • humility to receive it, and
  • temperance to obey it.   
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D26

The Missionary/Evangelists Moving On, Going Elsewhere with the Message of Grace
I welcome the opportunity to speak to groups and also to individuals to share the message of grace God has given me. But I am also prepared at some point not to return (sometimes my choice, but often theirs).

I have cleared many dinner tables, not of food and dishes, but of family and friends by talking about God’s provisions of Christ for our healing and happiness. Others have reached for their car keys, looked at their watches, or inched toward the door. Some have even turned to sit with their backs to me. My dull personality may be the reason. But it did not seem to be a problem in my earlier ministry when I hyped performance. In those days, they seemed to gather around.

The crowds initially followed Jesus, some maybe to eat, and others maybe with hopes of receiving a healing miracle (to reverse the consequences of their poor choices). But it was the same crowd that walked away and eventually crucified him.
That is why Jesus instructed his disciples,

“Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting (begin to minister). If the home is responsive, let your peace rest on it (continue to minister); if it is not, let your peace return to you (discontinue ministry). If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” – Matthew 10:11-16

(This is a relevant message for a single man seeking to marry and serve a woman as her husband.)

Paul followed these instructions exactly:
“Then Paul went to the synagogue (in Ephesus) and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the Way. So Paul left the synagogue and took the believers with him.” – Acts 19:8-9

Also, according to Romans 1:21-25, “God gave over to their sinful desires those who knew him but did not receive his provisions.”

The Psalmists wrote that God “gave over his people who would not receive his provisions to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices” (Psalm 81:11-12).

So the evangelist has Scriptural grounds to sometimes terminate his services to those he sought to support.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D25

Five Barricades to Belief: Reasons Counselees Resist Connecting

During our counseling experience, we have identified five reasons hurting people resist considering the information provided by leadership resources. They are:

1. Addictions - bondage to failing, fleeting, feel-good solutions which shuts down interest in health, the result of the unwise choices to mask/manage the pain;

2. Anger - rooted in disappointment with dysfunctional resources transferred to the provider;

Those God calls us to serve innately sense a) their need for support and b) that it is the role of leadership, especially in the home and church, to meet that need. When leadership fails, anger is the result of the betrayal they feel, and can be a barricade to their willingness to trust anyone for support.

3. Anxiety (Angst/Apprehension) concerning the competency, goodness, and faithfulness of God’s power and presence in the world to meet our needs; and

4. Arrogance - a disposition of all-knowing, intolerance to being wrong or to not always being right, usually a childhood validation issue, which disrespects/ disregards support information provided by others, including God.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to not only communicate Truth, but to also produce in us conviction concerning it, humility to receive it, and temperance to comply with it (Galatians 5:23).

5. Agony - the intense pain of unmet needs, sometimes so consuming that interest to hear information is lost.

The Psalmist wrote (116:10-11), “I suffered deeply, and nothing anyone could say helped.”

But we have identified through our personal experience that, regardless of the psychological pain, and although no other support really makes the difference for recovery, it cannot prevail against the Life of God which flows into our hearts during our extended quiet time each day (perhaps an hour or more in the morning) for reading the Scripture, confession of need, and worship. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D24

Christ Serving Broken Men in Confession of Their Need for Him

The T-shirt read, “Real Men Serve Jesus!” But I don’t know that I have ever seen what that looks like exactly.

1. Real men? Are they muscular and macho? What does that say about the incarnate Jesus? He was a man of sorrows, tears, and suffering, and totally dependent upon his Father who supported him in his service to man.

2. We don’t serve Christ. He is self-sustained and does not need to be served. Nothing the best of broken men can do adds anything to him. He was all he is now before we were born.

3. But Christ does serve us. That's because we are broken and he is God’s provision for our recovery. Service to us is the reason Jesus said he came into the world (Mark 10:45).

So, whatever someone may insist on about real men serving Jesus, the grace message is: Christ heals and supports men who are in confession of their weakness, brokenness, and failure.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D23

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