Recently I was asked why I haven’t acknowledged my Faith on my website.
I am sharing my response here as a blog entry.
I haven’t stepped forward about my Faith in relation to my counselling practice because I haven’t actually had formal Christian counselling training and I don’t want to make any false claims.
Secondary to that are other personal reasons, and maybe in time I will put more about my Faith on my website, particularly as I write the occasional blog. It is hard not to include my Faith when I write, because it holds the deepest of meaning for me.
For now, I will share the following. To this day I continue to hold a lot of pain in my heart in relation to my experience for many years of being isolated and disbelieved and misjudged by my church family who I trusted, who were the only community I knew. This does affect me a lot, and I believe what my children and I experienced was in contradiction to what Jesus role-modelled for Christians.
I am reluctant to be too “out there” about my Faith as well because, on the whole, I do find that Christians can tend to be less accepting of people than non-Christians, and in fact can be quite abrasive and sometimes severe. I have noticed time and time again how Christians will initially analyse new people they meet and weigh them up according to their own Christian values, and then accept them if they measure up or have values in common. I actually reject this approach.
I believe it’s important to accept people in the same way Christ did, and meet them where they’re at and remember that they’re human beings first. Faith and values can quickly come into an interaction once those first steps of rapport are built, but I think Christians often do it the wrong way around. Like anyone we meet, we don’t have to go on and become friends with those we have little in common with, but it is important to always be approachable and genuinely accepting.
Additionally to my private counselling I also work part-time for the local health and community services and I admire the attitudes of the people I work with (none have a profession of faith in Christ that I'm aware of at this stage). These wonderful people recognise the right of every human being to be heard and supported, and they do all in their power to make this happen. It is a privilege to work with them. The human needs come first. Like the Scriptures talk about a cup of water being given in Jesus’ Name. If we were a Christian organisation, then the opportunities would follow to minister to their eternal souls, but they need to be safe, warm, fed, and have some dignity as a human being before they can intelligently consider the things of God. Even so, matters of Faith should only ever be offered, never forced.
In my work place I have made it clear from the beginning that I am a Christian, and wherever I can I quietly try to put a more balanced perspective around the issues they’ve had with various “church” people in their experience.
It’s an opportunity to clarify what Christianity is really about, and to talk about Christ’s example on this earth, making a distinction between Christ’s attitude and some of the unfortunate attitudes held by many churches and Christians.
In my counselling, I approach every client as a valuable human being who needs to be heard and supported. If a client is a Christian and wants to discuss things from a Christian perspective I will be comfortable to participate in this. Otherwise, my approach is based on my ongoing general training and professional development as a Counsellor and I respect all cultures, Faiths and preferences.
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