In his article Biblical Insights into the Helping Process (2010) Keith-Lucas explained his revelation that not only does the helping processes related to mental health involve the speaking of truth, or reality, to an individual but it also involves an awareness and empathy for what that individual is experiencing, and a non-judgmental stance of support even when the client does not take advice or move forward as a mental health professional deems they should. Keith-Lucas (2010) spoke of the trinity of helping as reality, empathy and support.
However, the greater revelation revealed in his article is that which revealed the character of the Trinity (God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit) as a reflection of reality, empathy and support. God as the Creator of all truth and reality, Jesus who was God and human and who was tempted in all manner and resisted in order to be the ultimate Giver of Empathy and, the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to be a Guide, Counselor and Comforter; a supporter. (Keith-Lucas, 2010).
It stands to reason, then that these themes of reality, empathy and support would be represented in The Bible, offering biblical scriptures and insights that guide mental health providers in the helping process. The foundation of these insights, of course, is that the scriptures are the infallible, God-breathed words of God, if one does not embrace this truth, then all else is mute. However, when one does accept the scriptures as overall truth, then the concepts of reality, empathy and support can be found throughout.
In Deuteronomy 32:39 God declared “I, and I alone am God; no other god is real.” Throughout scripture God reinforces his command of our reality. Psalm 169: 16 says, You saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them began. God knew it all and knows it all because he created it all. It stands to reason that if he wrote our lives down before he created us that he has a plan for us. It is the absence of this knowledge of God’s plan in our lives that is the foundation of much mental and emotional distress.
Mental health providers can use biblical scripture and insights to bring the reality of a God created specific plan to their clients. Proverbs is filled with scriptures that discuss God’s plan for us versus our plans. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Proverbs 19:21) and In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9). Proverb 20: 5 lets us know that we may need help from others, even mental health providers occasionally, to search out God’s plans for us; The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. However, it is good for mental health providers to remember that ultimately, there is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord (Proverbs 21:30); God is the ultimate authority on the lives of our clients, not us, and we will serve them more wisely if we remember that.
Empathy is a skill that we do not attain through education or training but through living, making mistakes, being betrayed, loving and losing. II Corinthians 1:3-5: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. This is telling mental health providers that Christ suffered so that he could comfort us and that we must pass that comfort on to our clients. In fact, Christ left us a Comforter in the Holy Spirit that allows us to constantly tap into the supernatural reality, empathy and support offered to us from the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Keith-Lucas, A. (2010). Biblical Insights into the Helping Process. Social Work & Christianity, 37(3), 321-329. Retrieved from SocINDEX with Full Text database.