“Ready to Restore” by Jay E. Adams— elaborates the command in Galatians 6:1 that we all must restore any brother or sister who has been caught in sin. We are to “restore” one another to useful purpose in the Church today so that the brother or sister can “restore” us tomorrow. Therefore, we are to restore through the whole of our attitude and activity without punishment or gloating over failures. To this end careful self-examination is required about motives, relationship with God, and carefulness.
This book describes a certain kind of counseling called “Nouthetic” derived from the Greek word nouthesia, which contains three elements: change through confrontation out of concern. It is based on the concept that sinful behavior comes from a sinful heart, as described in Romans 12. Therefore, the scriptures are sufficient for instruction, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness that the person many be mature, fully equipped for every good work.
As demonstrated by Jesus Christ, John 4, a person’s salvation is the required starting point. No matter how bad a life and how many sins are present, without salvation and a regenerated heart, there is no point in putting lipstick on a pig. Only after salvation is assured can the counselor proceed to the next step of “go and sin no more” as Jesus Christ did in John 8.
One of the most important aspects of counseling is to help the counselee restore Christ in His rightful place in the center of the problem. The counselor is not trying to help someone find a husband/wife, get their husband/wife back, bring back prodigal children, get a job, find a house, lose weight, etc. The most important job of the counselor is assist to restore the relationship with Jesus Christ, so he can do the work in their lives. He is the God of all hope and all comfort. He is the one who is working in the counselee to sanctify their lives. He is the one with all the answers. The best the counselor can do is point the counselee back to the author and finisher of their faith (Heb 12).
In most cases, the counselee got where they are through a journey of a thousand tiny steps. As they were taken captive by the enemy of their souls, each step took them a little farther from their desired goals. Therefore, it is the counselors job to help them put off the bad habits, actions, and attitudes they have accumulated and put on good habits, actions, and attitudes from God’s word. This is very important. Without filling the void left from removing the bad, the counselee will probably end up in a worse state than before like the person with an evil spirit in Luke 11:25.
Unlike psychological counseling, which continues for year after year, with little if any actual progress, Christian nouthetic counselling should teach the counselee how to find the will of God and help them grow in grace and knowledge so the counseling session rapidly becomes superfluous.