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Christian Counseling: True Contrition and the Story of the Pharisee and the Publican

Christian Counseling: What is True Contrition

A fresco of the Pharisee and the Publican.  Also, if you are interested in a christian counseling certification, then please review the program

A fresco of the Pharisee and the Publican. Also, if you are interested in a christian counseling certification, then please review the program

In Christian Counseling, counselors constantly help people seeking forgiveness for the sins of their life.  These people usually are sincerely seeking forgiveness and hope to find reconciliation with God.

In contrition, the person in perfect humility acknowledges one’s failures and hopes to alter one’s life style.  Contrition can be legitimate but imperfect if contrition is a result of fear of retribution and is considered perfect if the sole purpose is grief over offending God.

It is the saints especially who felt this perfect contrition at the highest levels.  The fear of offending God was over the slightest offense because they understood the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.  Their contrition was so sincere that the only fear of Hell that consumed them would be the inability to love God there.  Some even wished to cease to exist than offend God. Their love of God was that of a relationship or a spiritual marriage.

Christ pointed out to his disciples that true contrition was especially seen in the case of the Publican.  Unlike the Pharisee who boasted of numerous good deeds, the Publican was remorseful over his sins, small and large.  Christ told his apostles that it was through the Publican’s humility that he was justified instead of the Pharisee.  God’s grace and gift of humilty to the Publican allowed him to see the truth and sinfulness of his ways while the pride of the Pharisee blinded him to his achievements.  This is a great lesson from the Pharisee and the Publican

St. Augustine points out correctly that our sins are completely our own, while our good deeds belong solely to God.  Only through grace can we do good and without it we are lost.  With this in mind, how foolish was it for the Pharisee to boast of his deeds and how wise was it for the Publican to acknowledge his faults?

If you are interested in a Christian Counseling Certification, then please review the program.  Those interested in a Christian Counseling Certification can earn it by taking the core courses.  After completion of those courses, one can become certified.


Mark Moran, MA

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