What If It Is Not In the Bible? Or in the Church?
Jesus taught for 3 years, but I suggest a lot he would have smiled at is not in the Bible. Let me unpack this idea.
Jesus told a story of a man who owed a big debt, and the master forgave the debt. The owner thus requires the debtor to forgive others. Important story and give us a lot of perspective on faith.
In Ephesus, Paul says,
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus says,
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
God could not be more clear on this principle for kingdom of God. Truly, forgiveness is one of God’s greatest gifts to us.
God also says in Romans,
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
This is a high calling.
Cognitively, I can forgive people as God forgave me, but some people, I still hope they get hit by a bus. That strikes on the sincere question pretty hard.
Wanting to follow God, we found that a deeper understanding of forgiveness could help us put bad harms to rest. Sincerity grew.
However, day to day harm to our family connections added up just the same.
Not in the Bible Mean not as Good?
We needed Emotionally Focused Therapy to understand how to love each other deeply from the heart. My whole family followed Jesus here and are glad. Now, we can love sincerely and forgive as Jesus asks. See also Does God Like Psychology?
As an example, we know a brother and his wife and 3 young kids. The brother is depressed, unemployed and has colitis and TB.
We introduced him to a counselor, and he decided no as he turned to his pastor. The pastor wears many hats among which is counseling. Notably, he has a degree in theology and not in counseling. It is asking a lot of him to reach the level of a trained professional counselor and this brother could commit suicide. Assume the professional counselor is not a Christian. Will this person lead him from the faith or help him become what Christ made him to be? No counselor we know would disrespect any person’s faith.
As Christians, God calls us to be in the world and not of the world. How does that work? Do we work like a monastery where we do any personal issue in the church?
Or does our physician, plumber, internet guy and delivery person all have to be people of faith?
Can a non-Christian Tool Save Us?
My wife and I would have been sadly divorced a long time ago if not for professional counseling and especially Emotionally Focused Therapy. (EFT) Our deep faith could not have saved us. It led us to find an answer for EFT. We would not remarry but would be devastatingly separated. My children would not be able to connect with me. Each of us give thanks to God for that which helps us grow in who we are. Should we refuse these things as God does not mention specifically in the Bible? We all believe our family would have been much better if we had EFT at the start. However, we started with more clearly Christian stuff.
Some would say that EFT is ok, but it would be better in the church. Why? Some Christians do not accept doctors as God should heal. My wife and I both thank God for leading us to EFT. Our internet guy also does not believe, and we have shared the good news with him. God help him and all of us know how deep and high and wide is the love of Christ.