They don’t teach this method at Seminary – at least not that I ever encountered. I’m reading the book of Nehemiah every week for seven or eight weeks while I preach through it at my church. It’s been pretty interesting to read the story of the exiled community returning to find their city in ruins and then dropping everything to rebuild the walls. We’re doing chapter 05 tomorrow, it’s the story of when some of the leaders of the community were taking unfair advantage of those who were vulnerable. Nehemiah proposes a radical solution to solve the problem: stop it. Funny thing was that it worked.
I don’t think I’m that great at pastoral counselling. I don’t really have a method. I listen. I pray. And I try to tell the good news to people. I don’t know if it helps. But I have been the beneficiary of some great pastoral care over the years – mostly from friends of mine who are pastors. Usually the very best care I get sounds a lot like Nehemiah and Bob Newhart. It’s a real gift when someone who loves me will call me on my crap and tell me to stop it.
If you are struggling with an addiction or a disease like alcoholism, ptsd or a diagnosed issue – this is terrible advice. Don’t watch this video and know that you are loved. If you are struggling with something pedestrian but powerful there is some value to this advice. What has you stuck in a rut? What’s causing you trouble in your life? What silliness do you return to day after day that you know isn’t good for you? What’s killing your relationships and robbing you of joy? What is hindering your involvement in the mission of God?
Here’s a little classic MadTV… Bob Newhart at his best, to offer you some advice.