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Christian Counseling - Acquiring Wisdom

I recall years ago working with another therapist. He often quoted a saying that invitingly hung in his counseling room--"None of us is as smart as all of us." Not long after, I discovered there is an answer to every question and a solution to every problem. It may not be the perfect one, but there are always possibilities and at least one that will help.

The point of these two thoughts is that when we face life's many problems it is good to engage others in self-revealing discussion and to take time for independent thinking where our minds and God reveal answers and solutions. Although, it is fairly easy to come up with a list of questions and to identify problems, remedies are more elusive. In any event, the saying about who is smarter and there exist answers and solutions to every situation are great beliefs to live by. We don't have to live with many of the troubling things that uninvitedly hang around the room of our minds.

Here are three examples of finding answers or solutions, rather than simply coping with the problems. Having said that, for sure, there are some times and situations where coping or being tolerant is necessary. Discernment helps us decide which approach we take--to cope or search for wisdom and confront. First, most people think that expressing care or love to someone is always a good thing. It sure seems that way on first blush. But there is a line between genuine caring and assuming authority without justification or, said differently, becoming a kibitzer, one who offers unwanted advice, as one way to show love. Further, our caring should align with what the other person perceives as caring and not simply what we, the givers, think or believe. Sometimes we are not the person who should be offering the care because the responsibility belongs to another, such as a husband to a wife and not a third party. Proverbs says it is better not to offer caring advice or truth to a fool. We all need to think through before we engage in acts of caring.

Second, if history or the past is past, meaning it has no relevance to current living, why study or teach it? Why does scripture encourage the remembrance of things past (the Lord's Supper), and why have yearly celebrations (Christmas)? Often people quote Philippians 3:13, "...but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead." They erroneously use this verse to justify not facing their own life history and accompanying problems that complicate present daily living. What Paul chooses to forget is found in verses four through eight. He is not referring to the whole of "the past." These same people say, "The past is past, what can you do about it? You can't change it!" There is plenty one can do to unhook from the pain of the past and live freely in the present, but the question is whether or not a person wants to take ownership of their history and rework it. One of the consequences of avoiding one's past is to ensure lifelong suffering and unnecessary coping. History, the past, is a great educator and a gateway to freedom.

Third, for decades some American politicians and many in the public have desired to establish term limits for some who serve our country--senators, representatives and judges. Yet, it seems highly unlikely it will ever be legislated. So, are we left only with praying, hoping and coping? No! Here is an imperfect, secondary, but potentially effective, solution. If each person determined never to vote for anyone running for office for a third term, and it caught on, we would not need to enact term limit laws. Each individual has the power to establish his or her own law regarding this or any other issue and stand on it. That's integrity.

"None of us is as smart as all of us" and there is an answer to every question and a solution to every problem. Acquire wisdom. 

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