I recently was asked by a marriage and family therapist a couple of questions. One in particular caught my eye. It was essentially this: “What is wrong with using the wisdom of the world to solve conflict?”
The world offers solutions such as understanding “conflict cycles” in order to bring peace into a home.
The Bible offers Jesus. “He, himself, is our peace” (Eph 2:14; the reflexive pronoun, “himself” is correctly added by translators. The position of the pronoun, “He” in the Greek text calls for emphasis upon “He,” that is Jesus…and Jesus alone. In other words, the Bible says that Jesus and Jesus ALONE is peace. Our peace is Jesus!
My response to the question was essentially…:
At the end of the day one either starts with the Bible or one starts with the world. The ways of the world are, in the end, substitute and surrogate saviors—and sloppy/sorry ones at that. I like to use a five-fold grid to evaluate all models/paradigms: (1) what is the problem, (2) what is the goal, (3) what is the solution, (4) what is God doing, and (5) what is the role of the counselor (all five are founded upon the correct epistemology, how does one know what they know, namely special revelation over against intuition, empiricism, rationalism, humanism, etc,). If the world’s paradigm misses the truth in all five categories, one must wonder its profitability.
If Jesus were here, right now, alive and present in your office…would you send your “clients” to Him or to someone/something else? Supposing they did talk with Jesus, would you then say, “Now that Jesus has seen you, I need to add a few more helpful ideas/methods from the world. Jesus is good for spiritual sniffles, and I am glad He has helped you…but now please allow me to bring the really good stuff for your real/deep relational conflict problems. You see if you just understood conflict cycles…”
If Jesus was/is the answer and if He is revealed in the Word (cf. 2 Pet 1:3-4) then why would one use any other content/method?
To the above I would add…:
I looked up one offering of “conflict cycles” and found many flaws, one example being: “Sooner or later, however, both sides decide that ending the conflict is a problem they must both solve, though it has to be done without loss of face” (http://www.ppu.org.uk/learn/conflict/st_conflict2.html). Catch that now…conflict must be solved “without loss of face.”
Beloved, that is counsel straight from the pit. Satan loves that advice… “no repentance” is demonic delight.
The Bible would on the other hand clearly hold forth that the reason Jesus is our peace is that He has reconciled us to God—and that reconciliation required repentance. Jesus slays our sin and selfishness and then satisfies the soul with the glory and goodness of God. It is precisely repentance that brings peace—and repentance is admission of wrong…face is not saved; face is humbled, wrong admitted, selfishness declared…and forgiveness sought.
Without admitting sin, without confessing selfishness, without seeking and granting forgiveness there is NO peace.
The world will never help you solve conflict. It has nothing to offer. It has no hope. It offers a salvation without a Savior from a problem that is not yours. There is no integrating the world with the Word.
Beloved, Jesus is our peace. Jesus is your peace. Jesus is The Wonderful Counselor. He is in the midst of your problems and He is the solution. He is alive, right now, in the middle of the mess. There is no better counselor.
10,000 Blessings in The Wonderful Counselor,