The Good, the Hard, and the Bad

By Jen Jang

The first biblical counseling course I took was Dr. Ed Welch’s “Helping Relationships” course. Dr. Welch is a biblical counselor, faculty member, and author at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation. A few years later and I still remember something he said in class, look for the good, the hard, and the bad.

In this post and the next one, we’ll discuss what it means to look for the good, the hard, and the bad. Dr. Welch teaches that when we are talking with someone we want to look for these things in order. First, notice the good. How do you see the Spirit moving in the person’s life? Second, notice the hard. Where is there suffering in the person’s life? What has been difficult? Third, notice the bad. Where is there sin in the person’s life?

Today, we’ll focus on the good. One of the things you want to actively look for is how the Spirit is moving in someone’s life. How is this person turning to God, depending on him, and becoming more like Christ? If you’ve met with someone before and have shared personal things, the next time you meet with them you can follow-up and ask them how they’ve seen the Spirit move in their life. Or as you listen to them speak, you can share how you see the Spirit working in their life.

For example, if your friend, Mark, has been struggling with anger he may have shared his disappointment in exploding in fury again. However, as he continues talking, you hear how this time he turned to the Lord more quickly to receive help in his time of need. Instead of the usual ruminating on what others did to make him angry, he spent more time confessing his anger to God. While Mark is frustrated with his anger, you can share how the battle with anger already looks different. He’s turned to God more quickly, which means his heart is seeking and depending on the Lord more and more. By noticing the good, not only is Mark’s weary heart uplifted, but his eyes are lifted to the Lord. He gains more strength to continue in his struggle with anger and this time with a greater realization and hope that the Triune God is the only one who can change him and help him. Together, you can thank the Lord for his patience and faithfulness. The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in love and he will continue the good work in Mark.

Looking for the good includes finding something you enjoy about another. The word Dr. Welch used is delight. What delights you about the person? Is it the way they speak tenderly about their daughter? Is it their love for bird-watching? Is it the way they pour out their heart to the Lord? Everyone is made in the image of God, and there is something for you to enjoy and savor about them. Every believer is promised the Holy Spirit, and there is growth and movement for you to point out in a believer’s life. Ask the Lord to give you a heart that delights and eyes to see good.


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