February 27
But go and learn what this means, "I desire compassion, and not sacrifice"
I used to ask my seminary students two questions: What attributes, strengths and characteristics would you look for in a person with whom you could share your deepest personal problems? Would you be willing to commit yourself to become that kind of person--someone others could confide in?
The essential prerequisite for a Christian counselor is to become the kind of person with whom others feel confident in sharing the problems of their present and past. Christian counseling doesn't require a college degree, although those who counsel professionally can be greatly helped by receiving Bible-based training. Whether you sit on the platform or in the pew, whether you sit at a desk in a counseling clinic or at a dining room table, God can use you to minister to people with problems if you are compassionate.
You can't really help a person unless you hear his whole story, and you won't hear it unless you are the kind of person he can trust. People don't care how much we know until they know how much we care. Compassion is not a question of learning a professional technique; it's a question of Christian character and love.
Counseling seeks to help people deal with the present by resolving conflicts from the past. Many of these conflicts relate to areas of bondage where Satan-induced strongholds have been erected in the mind. People cannot grow and mature because they are not free. The goal of Christian counseling--whether done by a pastor, a professional counselor, or a friend--is to help people experience freedom in Christ so they can move on to maturity and fruitfulness in their walk with Him.
Prayer: Lord, increase my compassion so I can be an effective counselor of others. Keep me from jumping to self-righteous conclusions.

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