The Truth About Psychology

January 23, 2016

                                The Truth About Psychology

When I was a young man it seemed as though no one had any doubts about the merits of psychology.   Over the years, however, Christian leaders have had second thoughts about the merits of psychology.  Books have been written to warn Christians about the danger of putting too much trust in the advice given by psychologists.

What is wrong with psychology?  The basic problem with psychology is that it is humanistic in nature.  Humanism says that mankind is the standard of truth and morality.  It rejects the teaching of the Bible and the supernatural.  It is hard for some to accept the fact that psychology isn’t a science.  Psychologists like to think, and make others think, that they are professionals on the level of medical doctors.

The truth is that psychology could be called a pseudo-science.  Modern medicine is based on scientific studies that determine the cause of physical problems and the best solution for each problem.  Psychology, on the other hand, deals with abnormal human behavior and looks for a means of correcting it.  It is a well known fact that many suffer from abnormal behavior.  People need help in seeing the error of their way and the need of changing their behavior.

Secular psychologists see people as basically good.  They like to think that men will change their behavior if their needs are met.  Yes, people need to be loved and respected.  Their physical needs need to be met.  Just meeting those needs, however, isn’t all that is needed to change a man’s nature.  The Bible tells us that men are sinners.” Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Man’s basic need is that of having the right relationship with God.  That is where a prudent biblical counselor always begins when he tries to help someone with a problem in his life.  People need to have the right relationship with God if they are to have the right relationship with those around them.

Our culture is departing more and more from biblical moral standards.  As a result, pastors are finding it necessary to dedicate more of their time to counseling.  Some years ago pastors sent people with problems to a psychologist.  Little by little, they began to realize that psychologists weren’t getting to the bottom of their problems.

There are those who call themselves “Christian psychologists.” They try to integrate secular psychology into their counseling.  It must be acknowledged that not all problems are because of sin, but when they are, they tell people that they have a psychotic problem.  In other words, they say a man’s problem is in his head, not in his heart.  By repeated sessions of counseling they try to change people’s way of thinking.  The biblical counselor, on the other hand, will also see the need of changing a man’s way of thinking, but he brings God into the picture.

Christian psychologists say they take the good from secular psychology and add Bible teaching to it.  They assume that the Bible isn’t sufficient to solve all men’s problems.  We don’t question their sincerity, but many times they try to interpret the Bible in the light of psychology.  A good example of that is the way they approach Matthew 19:19 which says, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”  Many of them are inclined to say “That teaches that a man needs to have a certain measure of love for himself.  If not, he will suffer from a lack of self-esteem.”  The problem with that is that most often men have too high an esteem of their own self-worth.  Romans 12:3 says, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”  According to John 1:12, the believer is a child of God.  He is an object of God’s love.  “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” That should be all we need to give us a feeling of self-worth.  Sometimes Christians are bothered about some peculiarity in the way they look.  An acceptance of I Corinthians 15:10 should help them overcome that feeling. “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.”

Psychologists often mislead people as to the nature of their problem.  They tell them that they have a psychotic problem and give it a technical name.  The counselee is left thinking that he has a problem that can only be solved by a professional.  Therefore he keeps scheduling more sessions with the psychologist in hopes that eventually his problem will be solved.

Perhaps a counselee is humiliated if he is told that he has a sin problem, but the solution is found in facing reality.  For example, if he is suffering from worry, the psychologist may tell him that he is suffering from paranoia.  That sounds threatening.  If he goes to a biblical counselor he may say, “You just don’t trust the Lord the way you should.” With that he will open his Bible and start showing him verses about trusting God.

There is a distinction that should be made between a psychologist and a psychiatrist.  For the most part, psychiatrists treat disorders of the mind that have physical causes.  They are serious problems that need professional help.  Biblical counselors should have knowledge to distinguish between a psychological problem and a problem that needs the attention of a psychiatrist.  Only psychiatrists have the authority to prescribe drugs.  That problem can be, and often is, abused.  Patients are given mind altering drugs to which they become addicted.  A quote taken from naturalsociety.com says “44,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2013.  That was more than double the number in 1999.”

If you have been helped by a psychologist, I’m glad for you.  I can’t help but think, however, that you could have received help more rapidly and more thoroughly by a biblical counselor.  It might mean that you would need to surrender to the will of God, but that would help you in winning the victory over any number of problems.  The biblical counselor has at his disposal the promise of God and the power of God to enable us to live victoriously.  They are promises like those found in II Timothy 3:16.  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Another promise is found in II Peter 1:3.  “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”

There is a great difference between secular psychology and biblical counseling.  One depends on human strength and the other is with the help of God.  II Chronicles 32:8 says, “With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles.”  Mark 9:23 says, “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”  Can you believe?  If so, there is help for you.

What has been your experience?  Questions or comments are welcome.  You can send them to us at the following web site: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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