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“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Today I stumbled across a disturbing article at One Lost Child blog. Blogger Cathy raises concerns regarding the care women will receive at Freedom Home for Women under Dr. Jim Berg, Executive Director. The article can be found here: Run! You’ll Find Bondage At “Freedom Home!”
The Freedom Home for Women is a facility using “Biblical counseling” in treating their clients.
Below is a brief 1-minute video about the counseling program at Freedom Home. While watching the video, think about abuse victims: it was not their sin that caused them to be abused. Abuser sinned against innocent victims. The premise of Biblical counseling is sin and addressing the personal sin in one’s life.
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Let’s take a closer look at the core of Biblical counseling:
A proper view of the psychology of Man acknowledges that humanity’s greatest ill is sin. The active sinful desires that emanate from the human heart serve always to move individuals away from God. The hostile, deceptive agenda of such desires promote destruction and corruption within the heart and life of Man. Biblical counsel points counselees to the Active Redeemer that they through Him might effectively confront and crucify the flesh. Romans 7:14-23, Galatians 5:19-21, Galatians 6:7-8, Ephesians 4:22-23 (Source)
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Here is another explanation of how Biblical counseling is used in dealing with behavioral problems:
Biblical counseling recognizes that man is responsible for his own behaviors and that guilt is “real” as a result of sin. It also recognizes that man’s problems result from him being a fallen sinner by choice and being drawn away by his own lusts. When man focuses on his own lusts (feelings) sin is conceived (James 1:13-14). The effects of sin causes problems in the man’s life. These problems then lead to bad feelings. The goal of Biblical counseling is to redirect the focus off of the “lust” (feelings) and onto “thinking” that reflects the mind of Christ.
Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-is-biblical-counseling/#ixzz2e4I0ck8t
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As we think of Biblical counseling with abuse victims, we need to consider first they had to survive the initial abuse – the sin done to them – many times keeping it secret for years. If they tried to speak out, many victims were shamed, not believed, minimized, etc. Then, as a result of this non-response, many turned to behaviors that numb the unbearable pain. They may have developed addictions to drugs/alcohol, eating disorders, mental health problems, depression, etc. The foundational issue that resulted in these bad behaviors was not their sin, but the sin inflicted on them by the abuser. This is so important.
In Cathy’s article, Run! You’ll Find Bondage At “Freedom Home!, she appropriately raises the alarm that care providers at A Freedom Home may not have the proper education, training, and/or credentials to treat such challenging cases such as PTSD, substance abuse, etc. She contacted them asking specific questions about the care women would receive:
While researching this calls were made asking about what medical care and medical professionals would be available to Freedom Home residents suffering from Anorexia, Bulimia, Depression, Suicidal thoughts, etc. As we spoke the point was made that going “cold-turkey” off alcohol, and addictive substances (Drugs) is not a joke. It’s frightening both to the person coming off addictive substances and to those witnessing it. Going off substances “cold-turkey” can cause medical and psychiatric emergencies and in some cases lead to death.
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Cathy, who has a nursing background, inquired with detailed questions to address some of the more challenging issues:
Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I thought I wasn’t being clear. I mentioned specific types psychiatric and emotional problems they claim from their website they’re going to deal with at Freedom Home. To make myself clear to them, I even listed out specific needs that would be present in the various things they listed – such as PTSD, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts (by the way the correct term is Suicidal Ideation which can lead to Suicidal Acts.) etc. They said the residents would be forbidden *any* outside contact with medical or psychiatric professionals at least until after the first 6 months. They insisted that they believe that a Bible discipleship class is the ONLY thing necessary and that they have made the decision that outside resources will NOT be permitted. Clients will have to agree to that before coming and “will be denied access to outside professionals.”
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Obviously this facility is aware of the possibility of serious mental health challenges because take a look at just this small screenshot taken from their application form:
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I was diagnosed with PTSD after experiencing a 7.9 earthquake in the Philippines. I have yet to write that story, but briefly, I attempted Biblical counseling for several months to help with the flashbacks. All the praying, confessing, forgiving, having faith, reading Bible, reciting Bible verses, trusting God did not do a thing to get rid of the tormenting aftershocks which were eating away at my life. It wasn’t until I received professional help from a licensed Christian psychologist that I finally found relief. So reading this story alarmed me. I know that I could have died had I not received proper care.
Some people reading this will call me a heretic. I don’t care. All I know is that God provided the help I needed through a Christian psychologist and I’m alive today because of that help.
On the same blog article, I discovered a very disturbing comment from Pastor Al. I don’t know who Pastor Al is, but he has the same kind of mentality that I have seen with so many who claim the Biblical counseling has all the answers to all of life’s problems. Cathy gave me permission to copy his comment here. Be sure to note that he is addressing an abuse survivor, a victim of someone else’s sin. What do you observe in his response?
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I perceive you to be very bitter and you likely have not forgiven these people who you claimed “abused” you for their wrongs.
As far as Jim Berg saying he couldn’t help you. He was correct. You can’t be helped as long as bitterness lurks in your soul. The best thing for you to do will be to forgive and move on. You won’t ever forget–God doesn’t command that; but you must forgive.
We don’t know each other, but I also suspect that you’re a very deeply troubled, hurting, and lonely person. Your anger level precludes the possibility of your having too many friends, because bitter, angry people are like wounded dogs who snarl and lash out at those who attempt to get close enough to help them.
Until you see yourself as a sinner in need of God’s live and grace, you will never be healed. Once you’ve found salvation in Christ, God’s grace will enable you to forgive everyone–even your those who “abused” you. The choice is yours–allow bitterness to define your life, or find and extend forgiveness through Christ.
I am praying for you.
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