Safety and trust


I am a psychologist by profession. Just what does that mean and what do I do? It means that I have spent a great deal of time in school and preparation. It means that I have “earned” a few credentials. It means I have some certificates hanging on my wall. It means I am “supposed” to be an expert when it comes to human behavior and relationships. It means I “counsel” people and assist them in overcoming their concerns, problems, and troubled relationships. It sounds a bit presumptuous.

I suspect. No, I firmly believe, that “if” Christians—those of us who call ourselves Christ-followers lived out our faith, that psychologists and other such helpers would be in far less demand than is the case. What do I mean? Consider Galatians 6:2. “Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (CSB). What does it mean to carry? It seems clear. We are to share, bear, and assist each other in managing the concerns, pressures, tribulations, temptations, lapses, tragedies, and every other form of struggles with each other. What does Paul mean by “fulfill the law”? Jesus made that clear in Matthew 22: 37-40: “7 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands” (CSB).

James 5:16 states: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed” (CSB). The “commands” of Paul and James are not possible in too many places and with too many people. For confession to work one must feel safety and be able to trust. How are we doing regarding safety and trust? In my counseling office I assure my clients that confidentiality is guaranteed except in cases where there is intent to harm self or another or if a child or vulnerable adult is being abused. It makes sense. And, it is critical. Christians should set the standard of safety and trust. Too many times a prayer request shared leads to a violation of another person’s secrets. How dare we betray others by not maintaining confidence. Let us all be challenged.