Christian Counseling: Transformation: Powered by Love

Is there any greater force in the universe than love? Its power sent Jesus to us! Its power sent and keeps the Holy Spirit living within believers. And its power influenced God to make promises He will keep for all eternity. God doesn’t just love, He is love. Because of His love for us we are not the same people we were.

Love has the power to transform an ordinary life into something special, unique, productive, mature, likable and attractive. I speak not about romantic love, but an unconditional and affectionate love that any two people can experience with one another.

Almost all people want to be the best self they can be. But change is scary, difficult, confusing and often complex. We have to have a clear understanding about who we are, what we want to be and how to get there. That requires knowledge, good judgment, faith, courage, perseverance… well the list could go on. Some give up on trying to change because so much is required to change.

Most Christians seek to be transformed by God’s Word, a great place to start. What many find in it is His plan for change. Whether it is a big leap forward by becoming a Christian or a smaller step in growing kindness, all Scriptures point to the single, needed context for change—a relationship. And not just any relationship, but one that offers useful information and wisdom in a safe, supportive, understanding and accepting atmosphere, or to say it differently, a loving relationship.

Some change comes by way of reading self-help books, articles, sermons and the like, but deep and significant transformation comes through a relationship where life is lived in the here and now. It comes by way of a personal and trusting relationship where two people have each other’s back. It also can come by way of a genuine and caring relationship between a hopeful client and an accepting therapist. The kind of relationship one has with a speaker or author is not the same. It is limited by the context of a more impersonal and general relationship. What transformed the disciples, I believe, was not the preaching of Jesus, but the highly personal, face-to-face and small group interaction of Jesus. The change that results from a real one-on-one or open small group has a much greater potential for transformation and one that is swifter, easier and touches the heart, not just the head. The bond between people, as the “therapeutic alliance” of the counseling relationship, is critical to effecting significant change.

Trying to change your life primarily through knowledge or information outside of the context of a meaningful relationship or trying to change on your own can be frustrating because it is a very slow, often shallow and limiting process. Choose instead to live life genuinely, out in the open, with at least one other person. You will come to know, “It is the relationship that heals.” To be more specific, the kind and tough love in a relationship leads to transformation. 

2 comments (Add your own)

1. anon wrote:
This “It is the relationship that heals.” is good in theory but does not always work out that way in practice. It is important that the other person is emotionally healthy and has their own issues dealt with whether they are a friend or a therapist.

02/21/2013 @ 1:07 PM

2. Frank Mancuso, Ph.D. wrote:
You're right. Choosing those we interact with is paramount for enjoyment, as well as healing. There are worse and better relationships. Since no one's issues are fully dealt with during our brief earthly stay it is important to find a relatively healthy person.

02/22/2013 @ 11:14 AM

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