Sacred Individuality

September 27, 2016

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father…”  (Luke 16:17-18)

The dictionary defines self as “the uniqueness, the individuality of any given person, which makes them distinct from every other living person.” In all its forms “self” emphasizes the sacred individuality God intended for every human being.

Robert Lewis Stephenson wrote: “Soon or late, every person must sit down to a banquet of consequences.” In the parable of the prodigal son, the banquet of consequences the lost son sat down to was the slop he was feeding hogs in a hog pen owned by a Gentile. That was just about as low as a Jewish boy could sink in this life. (Luke 15:11-24)

In the hog pen the prodigal son made the decisions many people make while they are living in the hog pens of this world.  He decided that he was not a hog.  He may be in a hog pen. He may look, and even smell, like the hogs. He may wish he could eat the slop he was feeding the hogs. But he was not a hog. He was a son and he did not belong in a hog pen. He belonged in his father’s house. He therefore made the deliberate decision to leave the hog pen and return to his father’s house and his father’s love.

Jesus described the decision of the prodigal son this way: “when he came to himself…” He came back to his self when he decided to return to his father’s house and love where he could be in the process of perceiving, believing and becoming the person his father wanted him to be. He came to his self when he decided to reclaim the unique person his father wanted him to be that would make him distinct from every other living person.

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Your Self

 


A Formula for Living

October 10, 2012

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” (Matthew 7:24 NLT)

There are about 75 different approaches counselors can use as they help people live their lives. One of these approaches tells us that living is as simple as ABCD.  The letter A represents adversity or the problem that a person may have. B represents the belief system of the person with the problem. C stands for the emotional consequences the person is experiencing because of their problem. And D describes the role of the counselor.

Because the economic downturn in America and elsewhere has put many people out of work and forced them to abandon their career, many counselors are hearing people say their adversity is that they have lost their jobs.  Since they get their worth and their identity from their work the emotional consequences for them is serious depression.

These people are saying their adversities are leading directly to their emotional consequences; however, the ABCD approach purports this is never true.  Rather, it is the way people process their adversity through their belief system that causes their irrational emotional consequences.   The basic idea is that if you have an irrational belief system, you will have irrational emotional consequences.  The therapist is a Disputer who challenges the irrational belief system of the client.

The counselor would dispute that belief system with statements like “We are not human doings but human beings.  We should not get our worth or our identity from our work.”

I like this approach for two reasons:  I hear Jesus saying the same thing in the verse above and you can use this formula to be your own best counselor.