Whether or not you’re in counseling, you are receiving “counsel” from people all day long. When I wake up in the morning, I’ve already received “advice” from several sources even before I’ve had my first cup of coffee. It sometimes feels like all of the various voices competing for attention are screaming, “Listen to me! I know the best way to interpret the things going on in your life!”
Let’s take, for example, the Ebola situation.
When the Christian doctor who’d contracted the disease came back to America, Donald Trump tweeted, ““Stop the EBOLA patients from entering the U.S. Treat them, at the highest level, over there. THE UNITED STATES HAS ENOUGH PROBLEMS!”
Ann Coulter said that the doctor was “an idiot.” (Doesn’t God want us to take care of poor people in America, she asked.)
But another said Coulter is possibly the world’s world theologian.
Many news organizations said that ebola is going to kill us all. False reports of deaths, exaggerated statistics. Fear.
It reminds of a story David Powlison told about a snowstorm that happened one winter morning in Philly:
“Many years ago when our kids were little, I woke up first. There was a raging blizzard outside. The windows were rattling, snow pelting the windows. Six inches was on the ground, and it was piling up rapidly. So, I knew what the weather was like. Even still, I turned on the radio to hear about the weather. The first words that came on were: ‘Winter weather warning! Trailer jack knifes! Banks closed! Everything scary spooky!’
They wanted to hook me, and there’s no better way to hook me than anxiety and fear. So, there was voice #1. Counselor #1 was the radio.
Counselor #2 was my wife. Nan woke up and said, ‘Ah! It is beautiful!’ Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Both Nan and the radio were talking about the exact same phenomenon. Counselor #1 said, ‘Be afraid! Anxiety! Scary!’ And Counselor #2 said, ‘This is a beauty of the Lord! Psalm 147 says that he makes the snow and frost, and this is an occasion to love him and worship him.’ It was the same facts, but with a different drive behind them.
About 15 minutes later, Counselor #3 entered the fray. Counselors #3, #4, and #5, actually. The kids came in and said, ‘Mom, Dad, is school cancelled? Can we go sledding?’ Completely different worldview. Completely different implications. Their behavioral, emotional, and logical conclusions were different: go to the garage, get the sleds.
So, everybody was talking about the snowstorm, but it engaged them differently.
Finally, Counselor #4 came in—a neighbor. The plows had come through and a man started to curse. ‘This #@% & snow storm!’ His thoughts were, ‘Philadelphia after a snowstorm is Hell…and Florida is Heaven! And I’m going to complain about it so that you feel like you’re in Hell, too!’”
I think this is a great reminder that we have to guard ourselves from being unduly affected by the voices in the culture — on Twitter, in the newspaper, in the grocery store… people who say, “Listen to my interpretation of what’s happening in the world.”
Because there’s a better way.
“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom…Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:12, 14)
True wisdom begins not with Twitter, the latest news, or even your spouse. It begins with the right attitude toward God… the only One who really understands what’s going on anyway.