What does the Bible say about the best means of counseling those in distress?

1. Learn to delegate counseling tasks to those who are best suited to each person and their problem. Moses wrote, "Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people's representative before God and bring their disputes to Him. Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. But select capable men from all the people - men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain - and appoint them as officials over thousands. ... Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide for themselves. That will make your load lighter because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain and all these people will go home satisfied. (Ex. 18: 17-23)

2. Ask the Lord for His wisdom in counseling people's root problems. David wrote, "The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations." (Psa. 33 :10,11 )

3. Wait for the good counsel of the Lord in His word and from His Spirit. David wrote, "Whoever loves life and desires to see many good days, and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."(Psa. 34:12-14)

4 Review all of the lessons that may have been forgotten in one' s personal experiences. David wrote, "But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel." (Psa. 106:13)

5. Help the counselee understand that they can go to the Lord, His word and Godly counselors for supernatural wisdom anytime. Solomon wrote, "Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power." (Prov. 8:14)

6. Remind people that the Lord loves those who are teachable, but resists the proud. Solomon wrote, "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. (Prov. 12:15)

7. Submit to the authority of Godly leaders. Peter writes, "Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (I Peter 5:5,6)

8. Effective counseling is done best by one' s closest friends. Solomon writes. "Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel." (Prov. 27:9)

9. The goal of counseling is to find ways that the counselee can be drawn in to greater conformity to the will of God and the appropriation of His power. Paul writes, "In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will." (Eph. 1)

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