I am about 40% of the way through getting my Master's Degree in Professional Counseling, and it has been going great. It's wild to actually love school. I don't love the sacrifice always, but I love learning what I'm learning.
A stand out moment for me so far was in one of my early classes. Our professor asked our class a simple question,
"Class, why are you here?"
As you might imagine, quite a few people expressed a desire to help people. Our professor then went on to say something along the lines of,
"I want to caution you. If you're sole reason for wanting to be professional counselor is to help people, you may want to consider another career path."
My first inward thought to myself was, "What do you mean? What is wrong with wanting to help people?!"
Then as the class continued throughout the semester, I began to understand where he was coming from, and I even agree with his statement now. It's true because I don't believe I can ultimately help or change anyone. The truth, in my opinion, is that God changes and helps people. Also, I believe that most people can come to their own solutions to their own problems. With a little guidance, yes, but still on their own.
It is a prideful day when I think I hold the "magic key" to unlock every person's problem in life. Oftentimes, when I'm counseling a friend or random person, I find myself not even paying attention to them. Why? Because I am so focused on what I am going to say to that person, because they are coming to me for advice. Also, I don't want to just sit there in silence like an idiot after they get done pouring their heart to me, so I need to have some sort of response ready, right??
What is the one thing that we may not be doing to help people? What is the one thing that I don't do sometimes that consequently disqualifies me from being able to help someone?
Listening. We're not listening.
Well listen to this. If we don't truly listen to someone. We cannot help that someone, period-always and forever.
This guy that a lot of people say was the wisest man to ever live on this earth, King Solomon, said in Proverbs 18:13,
"To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame."
Friends, let's listen to the people around us today.