It is March 1st in Birmingham, AL, when I wrote this…and it’s snowing for the first time all year.
So I thought to myself, what if we had visitors to our city today from Asia and they only came to B’ham today. What would they think about our city? What conclusions would they reach?
Well, they might think that we are a winter wonderland like Canada since it is covered in snow and snowing in March! They may make a faulty interpretation that this is how B’ham is all of the winter (when it has not snowed all winter – not once until today!).
These well-intended persons may go back to Asia and tell their families all about snow-bound B’ham, AL, and give a false impression about our city’s climate, people, etc.
Apply this to biblical counseling: When you meet someone for the first session, you get impressions, too. Yes, you gather data and factual information but you only have a short period of time to evaluate what they are telling you. You, too, can make wrong interpretations about your counselees after just 1 session!
This is why homework is important. We assign homework to evaluate whether the counselee really is motivated to please God and to change – or not. It’s their responsibility to do their homework! Not mine! And it demonstrates to me whether they are really serious about addressing the issues or they are just meeting with the counselor to tell people, “I went to counseling. It didn’t help.”
We must be careful not to judge people after the first session of biblical counseling. It’s simply one snapshot picture of the counselee’s life. Give more time to really see whether they are motivated or not – based upon the simple objective data of the completion of homework between sessions!
-Mark (desiring to do more than “snapshot” counseling – desiring God to change hearts and lives)