“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1
As we continue in our study of how to solve problems Biblically, we want to take an in depth look at God’s way to deal with sin. In our last post we studied what God’s response to sin is, and also the responsibility of mankind to deal with his own sin. In much counseling today, there are a variety of ways in which people deal with problems, but there is only one biblical way. The Biblical way, because it is God’s way, is the hardest way at first, but the end result is great blessing and ultimately eternal life. The Proverbs warn us, “…the way of the transgressor is hard.” (Prov. 13:15). All sin, no matter how big or how small has a destructive effect on the life of the believer. Therefore sin must be dealt with biblically. Sin that is not confessed will destroy one’s life (Ps. 31:9; 32:3). For this reason it is important to deal with sin in a right and biblical way so that one can honour and glorify God.
There are four ways that people can and often do deal with their problems. The first three of these ways are popular but are also wrong and unbiblical and we will see the danger of dealing with problems in this way. Not only are these three ways unbiblical, they will always make the original problem worse and avoid dealing with the heart. It is important to remember that in Biblical counseling the goal is to deal with the heart, therefore one must solve problems in a way that immediately gets to the root of sin. Let’s take a look at the four methods to solving problems below:
Going Around: The first way that most people try to solve the problem of sin and its entanglements in their life is by going around their problems. This first response is shown in the lives of people who downplay and minimize their sin. They say, “It’s no big deal.” And then quickly go around it. They merely want to avoid problems in their life. Why? Because dealing with problems is hard, not easy. It is easier (in the short term) to avoid problems and to dismiss sin. But in the long run, by not addressing sin, there is the potential for lives to be destroyed. Simply minimizing problems is never going to help a person deal with sin in their life. Sin must be exposed (Eph. 5:11-14) seen as deadly (Rom. 8:12-13), and dealt with (Prov. 28:13).
Going Aside: The second way that problems and sin is often dealt with is by turning aside from it. I don’t mean turning away as in repenting and confessing the sin, but rather deflecting from the real problem and going to another (secondary) one. In counseling this is often shown in two ways. One way this is shown is by the counselee who tries to distract the counselor from the real problem. They say they are struggling with wasting time by getting distracted on their computer. Sure, living an undisciplined lifestyle may be a sin for them, but they are deflecting from the real problem which is the fact that the real reason they are distracted so much is because they are viewing immoral things on their computer. The counselee presents the problem as lack of discipline, while the real problem is in fact lust. (For this reason Biblical Counselors must cover all their basis in order to get to the heart of what they are dealing with).
A second way this is showcased in one’s life can also be in an innocent way. Often people come for counsel and they think they know what their main problem is; perhaps it is being an overbearing or domineering father. They want to deal with their overbearance, which is excellent. What the Biblical counselor must do though is get to the root of why they are overbearing. Perhaps the reason is because of pride and desire for control. This is freeing because once the root is exposed then the heart of the problem can be dealt with and solved biblically. Usually when this happens, the person receiving counsel will come to see that pride was affecting way more than their relationship with their family but many other things. Because the counselor got to the root, there is lasting change and a truly transformed life is the result! This is the great joy the Biblical Counseling brings!
Going Back: The third way that people often attempt to use when dealing with their problems is by going back. Dealing with sin this way doesn’t even deal with it at all. Going back from your problem and completely avoiding or even denying your problem will never allow you to get to the root. This way of dealing with sin is manifest by the person who says, “I can’t.” “It is impossible, I have no hope, I give up.” This is what they say. The error in this should be obvious. For the Christian, the response to “I can’t.” is “I can do all things, through Christ.” yes, all things can be done, including dealing with ones sin. To not deal with sin in one’s life is to deal with it unbiblicaly. Sin that is not dealt with is sin that will grow and grow until it destroys the life of whom it possesses. No sin is impossible to overcome (1 Cor. 10:13), and no temptation is too great because Christ Himself was tempted in all things, just as we are, yet He still remained sinless (Heb. 4:15-16).
Going Through: The fourth and final way of dealing with sin in one’s life is by going straight through it. You cut the problem in half, you attack it, you destroy it, and you completely remove it. This is what is biblical. All three previous responses to dealing with sin, leave the sin unharmed and intact. It never actually deals with the sin. Biblical Counseling does the opposite. It calls a spade a spade and sin – sin and deals with it biblically so that it is completely destroyed. By dealing with sin this way, mankind has, through Christ, defeated and slain the power of sin (Eph. 6:10-18). This is the hope of Biblical Counseling, you don’t have to live with a big, ugly problem in your life forever. You can, through the Word of God, deal with it and eradicate it. By the grace of God mankind can and does change and therefore he can and must deal with his problems in a right and biblical way. There is always true and lasting hope in the Word of God!