By Dr. Sinclair Grey III
Let’s face it – no one is perfect and because of imperfections, everyone is dealing with something. No matter how ‘holy’ or ‘spiritual’ a person claims to be, the truth of the matter is everyone struggles with something. What’s even more troubling is when people know they have issues and refuse to do anything about their issues. When this happens, danger looms. Why? Because an issue that’s not worked out and worked on will become more of a problem over time.
As a minister and life coach, I come into contact with many people throughout the week seeking information, guidance, and understanding on a range of topics. There are some things I can handle and there are others I cannot. For those people with complex issues, a referral is my best friend. Unless someone knows their strengths and weaknesses, they are bound to make errors and give poor advice. For too long, many people have given the simple answer ‘pray about it’ with the intention that everything will magically disappear. Can we be honest for a moment and say that people who want answers to life’s most difficult problems don’t want to hear that statement? You lose a loved one and can’t keep it together and someone says ‘pray about it’ won’t help you deal with the grief. Violence that takes the lives of our brothers and sisters and people say ‘pray about it’ doesn’t do much good to grieving families. Please don’t get me wrong and think I’m saying prayer isn’t good because it is. What I am saying is that we (as a collective group) have to learn to use the resources around us in order to better us, our families, and our communities.
People must understand that seeking therapy isn’t wrong. A problem that has plagued the African-American community for years is the assumption that seeking a therapist makes you weak and questions your faith. Without a doubt, this thought pattern has hurt and damaged many individuals. God has placed people in a position to help those who are hurting. It’s up to the individual to lose their pride and seek out help to fix whatever is wrong.
Here’s what the Christian community needs to do when approached by people seeking help:
- Ask yourself if you’re capable and trained to counsel the individual. Engaging in an activity that you’re not trained in doing will do more harm than good
- Meet as many people as possible in the mental health profession. Building relationships with trained counselors will make it easy to refer people
- Understand your limitations. Referring people who need help isn’t a sign of weakness. As a matter of fact, it shows the level of care and concern you have for the individual to refer them to the proper professionals to get help
- Use the power of prayer for the individual going through their ordeal. Because words have power, use them to elevate, encourage, and empower
In today’s churches, there are many people hurting and have nowhere to turn. Leaders should not and cannot avoid the power of therapy that lies outside of the four-walls of their church. Too many people are suffering because proper help hasn’t been given to them. The challenge for the church is to help and not hinder.
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is a minister speaker, writer, and success coach. Contact him at www.sinclairgrey.org, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @drsinclairgrey