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Recovery Groups and Group Therapy

More and more people are taking part in recovery groups and engaging in group therapy. Should a Christian go to a recovery group?

More and more people are becoming involved in what is called non-directive group therapy. People sit around and talk out their problems. Often there is a group leader, or a facilitator, who throws out a few ideas for discussion.

At best, such group encounters may provide some friendship and support. At worst, however, they can be downright dangerous. Group facilitators are often trained in secular behaviorism and express enmity and hostility for God’s Word. Wives who have come to such groups have been counseled to divorce their husbands and men have been given bad advice about a girlfriend.

It seems to me that having people unload their problems before such a group is not really a good thing. Moreoever, I don’t think it’s a healthy thing to just have people giving group advice. Who knows what kind of advice they might give. Even bad advice might be given—and taken.

If you were to go out on the street, or go to some town square, and you asked ten different people, “What do you believe about God?” you would probably get ten different answers—all wrong. The average man in the street living in twenty-first century America does not give good advice. Such group sessions are more often nothing but a parade of ignorance and bad ideas.

Dealing with personal problems—either our own, or someone else’s—necessitates five things.

First, the person must know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. All the good advice in the world, and all the resolutions and promises to do better, will all be to no avail apart from an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.

Secondly, that person must have a knowledge of Scripture and be totally committed to Scripture. That does not mean that we have to be trained theologians, but we must be in the Word of God on a regular basis.

Thirdly, that person must know something of what the Bible says about human nature. Non-directive, humanistic counseling methodologies express the idea that we are all victims of some unfortunate circumstances. The Bible, on the other hand, says that we are rebels against God’s Word.

Fourthly, that person must know what the three enemies of the Christian are: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Bible gives us strategies for dealing with these enemies.

Fifthly, we must be totally dependent on the Holy Spirit.

Some groups in local churches that are under the oversight of the pastor and leaders of the church can be helpful. There are some small groups that can offer encouragement and consolation—provided that they are biblically based and are under the authority of a Bible-believing church. They can bring encouragement to someone who has been ravaged by our often cruel world.

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