By Terry Hoskins
Most people who come for counseling are seeking a solution to a problem. Whether they are dealing with addiction, bitterness, depression, anger, or any other issue, the common goal is a desire to uncover the root of the problem. Understanding the root of the problem is, of course, the best way to apply an adequate solution.
The Voice of the Day
The average American believes that psychologists are in the best position to provide advice on human behavior and are the true experts at getting to the root of a problem. As the experts, these psychologists claim to be able to solve the problems of man using models developed by man. More often than not, they link one’s current behavioral challenges to their past experiences and/or chemical imbalances in the brain.
One of the most popular trends today is the root issue being diagnosed as a chemical imbalance. This theory suggests that a person will have problems if too much or too little of a certain substance flows in the brain. It is suggested that the brain can be blamed for a variety of disorders, including Bipolar and ADD.
Another theory claims that abnormal behavior is caused by a particular event(s) from one’s past. A person who has experienced some type of trauma is typically referred to as having a “wounded heart.” According to this theory, the emotional pain of the past has the ability to hinder a person from living a “normal” life in the present. Many times, the person experiencing dysfunction is unaware of the fact that these wounds have had such a profound impact in their life. Psychologist argue these wounds cause the person to function out of a false sense of self in order to protect, and even hide himself from any further pain. Then it is said that the person will never be truly free from the wounds until they start pulling out the emotional arrows, letting the wounds heal, and as this happens the true self will begin to emerge.
Should we turn to psychology, which is man’s understanding of man, or is there something more? Can we always blame it on the brain, or the experiences of the past? The Bible does not mention chemical imbalances, nor does it blame the past for our problems today. This is not to say that these things never affect us, but God’s Word says that we have heart issues that run all the way to the core of who we are. This problem spans back to the Garden of Eden. Satan tempted Eve by telling her that if she ate the fruit then she we would “be LIKE God knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5c, NIV) Since that time, humans have had a natural desire to be god instead of worshipping the true God. This means we are now prone to live independent of God’s ways, commands, and Truths. That is why God’s Word says, “A person thinks everything he does is right, but the LORD weighs hearts.” (Proverbs 21:2, GWT)
Corruption of the Heart
The question is, why do we think this way? God’s Word says that, “the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9, NLT) The Bible tells us that our problems arise out from our OWN heart. It deceives, connives, manipulates, and is full of darkness. Our heart is referred to as the “inner man” or the “control center of life.” It is what drives us inwardly, and affects what we think, feel, and do. Why do we argue with our spouse? Why do we get irritated when we don’t get our way? Why do we struggle with fear, worry, or anxiety? These are not simply chemical imbalances, or symptoms of our past, but rather the natural state of our sinful hearts.
The Heart Changer
In Biblical Counseling we recognize that God is the true answer to all of our problems. He alone can change our hearts. In His Word, He says: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:18-20, NIV) God is the only one who can rescue us from ourselves.