Against The Gates

One man's journey into spiritual warfare.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wise Counsel?

I have been praying a lot about counseling, especially concerning Pastors. The Pastor at the church I attend is constantly bogged down by the amount of counseling he feels he needs to do. Most Pastors have a similar situation. Those who put strict limits on their counseling load, or have strict rules on counseling usually come under harsh criticism from their congregation. Pastors feel this deluge of human need must be addressed and consoled. Thus the conflict between the perceived need of the congregation and the demands of day to day administrative routine. After much prayer and thought I came up with some observations.

Who is getting counseled?

Mostly... married women, more especially women married to non-Christian husbands. Surprise! they need a godly male figure in their lives and they can't get it at home. They look to their Pastor to fill that need. Unfortunately many Pastors enable them by trying to meet that need. It is an attractive scenario on both ends; the woman feels she has a sympathetic ear. For the Pastor he is affirmed and becomes the husband of her dreams even if it is for only an hour at a shot.

Psychologists tell us that when a man spends more than 15 minutes at a time alone with a woman he begins to sexualize the relationship. It doesn't matter the age difference or marital status. It is just the way guys are wired. So let’s say a Pastor gets together once a week for an hour with a married woman. After the first quarter of the meeting he is sexualizing the interaction. Which she feeds and nurtures by her affirmation and praise. Continue this for months or even years. Even if they never have even a hint of physical contact this is a full blown affair. Now multiply it by ten, twelve, two dozen... whatever! It would be enough to make Joseph Smith blush. Added to the fact that he spends way too much time at church and away from his own wife. It becomes away to have your cake and eat it too. A welcome relief from the mundane day to day of administration a partial release for pent up sexual frustration of long hours and little personal time.

The problem is- It is still an affair, it is sin, it is wrong. Jesus said Matthew 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (New International Version). He will start to internalize her problems. With a relationship a man becomes the "fixer" which is not his position in this circumstance. Instead of pivoting the concerns to God he will internalize them because he is powerless to resolve the issues. Internalized conflict manifests in a mirad of health issues and stress related maladies.

His only resource is to sympathize with her situation which will bring division to her house hold.

The solution is -Let’s go old school with this one. Back in the day no Pastor would counsel a woman without his wife or a third party present. Chances are the church has got some older Ladies who would die for a chance at some real ministries. As Paul says in Titus 2:3-5 (NIV) Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God

Deal with the sin. Okay she married the wrong guy, again back to basics. Confess the sin, accept the consequences, and look to Jesus. These women need to look to Jesus to fill that spot that their husbands don't, not to their Pastors.


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