Men are created as tri-partite beings. They are made up of three primary, inseparable and intertwined components. The three parts are: spirit, soul and body. It can be noted that the primary problems “born again” people have in their lives are not in the area of their spirit, but are primarily in the areas of soul and body.
What a person thinks about him or herself and others will determine much of whom she is and what he is like in the world. If the thought life is primarily negative, then most of the feeling and behavior will be negative also. In Phil. 4:8 Paul suggests that…
“Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
The mind must be renewed and brought into a right relationship with the Word of God in order to become whole and complete. Romans 1:28 says,
“And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved (or reprobate) mind to do those things that are not proper.”
If men do not follow after the things of God, even though they may be born again, they could become reprobate or depraved. Man’s thinking process could become so distorted or delusional he would be unable to see the truth. This distorted or delusional thinking may be why some people, even though they are born again and perhaps even filled with the Holy Spirit, continue to do and make the same mistakes over and over again: mistakes that are clearly against the will of God for their lives.
Learning to renew the mind is a must if Christians are to function fully within the Body of Christ. A part of the caregiving ministry is to bring truth in areas where lies had a foothold. In the caregiving process, it is inherent that an individual be helped to become aware of their self talk and especially of the negative thoughts they feed themselves on a daily basis. Once aware of those negative thoughts, using the Word of God, and in some cases natural logic, they can be assisted in overcoming the erroneous information or disbelief and lies they have believed to be true.
Thoughts + Actions = Behavior
Another important step in eliminating negative thoughts for the Christian is to affiliate with or develop relationships with people who are more positive in nature. Negativity attracts negativity. There is an old adage that says, “Misery loves company.” Miserable people tend to find other people who commiserate with them. If one finds all they attract is negative people, perhaps it is because of their own negativity.
The Word of God stresses the need for obedience to the Word. Helping people come into compliance with the word of God is a key to growth and happiness.
Caregivers who are by nature more cognitive or thinking oriented, will be more concerned about the thinking process, while those who are more feeling oriented will be more concerned about the expression of feelings. Those who are more behaviorally oriented will think more in terms of behavior. As a caregiver however, it is important to have a balance in all areas.
Also, there are certain scriptural principles that can be used as models showing that caregivers need to be good listeners. A good listener is not one who just hears with their ears, but hears with their heart as well. This is called listening with the third ear or the ability to have discernment or perception as to what is going on inside of the counselee’s life. One way to understand whether or not one is hearing something correctly is by getting adequate feedback.
The Christian caregiver also needs to be motivated by an attitude of love, and to develop a feeling of proper timing. The right word spoken by the right person at the right time can bring about great change and has therapeutic value (Pro. 25:11, 12). Also, as in every area of Christian caregiving, confidentiality is very important. Secrets must be kept. This can be somewhat of a dilemma if the caregiver is in the role of leadership within the local church. One thing must be clarified with the local pastor is that communication received in the caregiving office is privileged; that is, the individual sharing their heart has the privilege of sharing with others or not sharing with others. The caregiver does not have the right of sharing with others unless the counselee gives them permission to do so.
In our next blog, we will look at seven key steps to being a healthy care giver, followed by the importance of communication in helping the hurting.