Christian Counseling and The Call of Christ to Seek Perfection
Christian Counseling sesssions should direct the spiritual child to a more perfect way of existence. This Christian attempt for perfection can be found in the Eight Beatitudes of Christ. Christ taught these Eight states of being during one of his many sermons.
These states of being did not attempt to escape an imperfect temporal world, but identified the suffering of the fallen world, and contrasted these imperfections with the perfections of the next life. In doing so, Christ also illustrated states of perfection that all Christians should strive despite society’s erroneous opinions that these states were inferior or signs of weakness. The blurred vision of the material world and its fallen state seeks illusion of power, greed and might and dismisses the meek and merciful, but Christ clearly illustrates that what is an illusion of weakness is truly power in this world and the next. He exalts the weak and admonishes the powerful. We will now review these Christian ideals of excellence.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their is the Kingdom of Heaven. This beatitude refers to the soul who seeks not materialism or looks for temporal fame or approval but meekly seeks only perfection before the sight of God. This soul would much rather cultivate virtue and spiritual treasure than physical values.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. We have in previous articles spoke in detail about those who mourn in this fallen world. This is the one of the main purposes of counseling, to comfort the mourning. However this also refers to those who mourn as Christ taught us to mourn. We are all called to offer up our crosses and accept them. In our Christian mourning, we can be an example to the world and in the next life find happiness and comfort in the beatific vision.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. This beatitude shows the upside down nature of the world. Where Caesars, Kings, and Emperors forced their rule on the multitudes, it will inevitably be the meek who subjugate the proud in the next life. Christ himself revealed this as he hid his divinity in the flesh of humanity. He meekly allowed his own creation to mock him and crucify him, but in the end, it will the meek Christ that returns triumphantly to judge the universe-not the leaders who called for his crucifixion.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied. Here emcompasses the ideal of turning the other cheek and allowing God to deal with the evil people perpetrate against one. God understands the injustices of this world. When evil men go unpunished for horrible deeds. From the smallest slight to the greatest crimes, these people will not escape the hand of God. Whether justice is fulfilled in this world or the next, God will punish the wicked and satisfy the thirst of justice for his people. In counseling, one must remind those filled with vengeance and anger to try to let go their hate and allow the hand of God to carry out justice.
Blessed are the merciful for they obtain mercy. If any idea was foreign to the ancient world, it was truly this phrase. Rome was far from merciful and the idea of slaying one’s enemy and ruling with an iron fist was a universal trend. Christ, however, demands that one show mercy to the fallen or those who have offended us. If we do not, we ourselves shall not obtain mercy. Christ as the perfect paradigm of Christian excellence, showed us that only mercy to others will save us in the end. Even in the most turbulent moment in the Garden, he healed the man’s ear and admonished Peter that those who live by the sword shall die by it.
Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God. This is perhaps one of the most lacking elements of modern society. Corrupted by various lustful attractions, modern society has fallen away from purity. But beyond the mere literal ideal, this also refers to innocence. The innocence of faith and hope and love of a child. Jesus pointed out that one must be as a child to see and enter into heaven. Child life faith and child life purity pleases God in contrast to skepticism and lust.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they are children of God. This beatitude reinforces much of Christ’s ideas that hoped to complete the old law of Moses. The transformation from an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth to turning one’s cheek is emphasized in this beatitude. Peacemakers avoid anger, revenge, gossip and fully understand how to love one’s neighbor as themselves.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This final beatitude again emphasizes the imperfections of this temporal reality and the true value of heaven. For the purpose of Christ and his truth, we must forfeit all other things. Whether this is through martyrdom or merely public ridicule. We must become disciples of Christ and represent the truth and become light in the darkness of sin. Do we stand up for what is right when it is difficult to do so? One does not have to die for Christ to fulfill this beatitude but merely awaken and interact with the secular and sinful modern world.
I feel these beatitudes are important in counseling and when one is counseling someone with a particular problem to apply one of these beatitudes to their spiritual child’s need and situation.
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Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C