Understanding our inner person can be quite complicated for us. However, God’s invitation is to believe, receive, abide, come, and take of His resources so that we will have a greater understanding of the inner person. Frequently, an individual will protest that he has no will power, that he is weak, or that his case is special. He pleads for understanding, implying that if he were understood, he would be accepted as he is.
Of course it is true that all people are weak, unrighteous, and sinful. It is also true that a disturbed individual needs to be understood by others but also by him or herself.
But understanding the inner person and his/her problems does not change him/her, it only makes his/her need clear. He needs someone to reassure, instruct, and guide him to Christ who can change his/her heart. This change will not take place so long as the individual excuses him or herself by talking about the past or by blaming other people. The heart will be changed only when one repents of his/her sin, including the sinful reactions to others who may have mistreated them.
The Bible stresses individual ability to recognize and confess sin, to repent, and thus receive forgiveness, cleansing, and power. The biblical counselor must recognize and deal with the inner nature of a person–mental, emotional, and spiritual condition. Many pastors have been taught that psychological or emotional problems are out of their area of ministry–beyond their ability to handle. They feel that these problems are deeply buried in the counselee’s past life and require a clinically trained person to ferret them out.
Two words, psychology and emotional, do not appear in the Bible. The acts of the sinful nature and the fruit of the Spirit are the terms used in the Bible. If the acts of the sinful nature are the problem, the person must look to God for help. If the person rejects appealing to God for help, the biblical counselor has nothing else to offer.
It is important to note that acts of the sinful nature are not beyond God’s ability to heal. It is incorrect to say that these acts are beyond the pastor’s or the biblical counselor’s level of competency. It is correct to say that the person has rejected turning to God, and has chosen to live with the sinful nature.
My own experience with disturbed people has revealed that most of them have a similar background. They have been mistreated, misunderstood, hated, rejected, and subjected to great external pressures. Most often I find that these people have responded to such treatment with bitterness, resentment, anger, stubbornness, rebellion, jealousy, and an unforgiving spirit. Obviously, one cannot change his/her past. Maltreatment by other people may be beyond our control. But this does not explain one’s bitterness and jealousy. We are fully responsible for these emotional responses, which God calls the acts of the sinful nature.
When anyone turns to God, He will forgive and will change their responses to people and events in the future. Resolving the problem brings much more comfort than living with the problem. To understand and know the beginning source of your problem intensifies the pain of the problem, if you do not take the second step and resolve the problem with God!