"By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything." (1 John 3:19-21 ESV)
What a beautiful and important statement—whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart. There are two truths contained in these verses that will prepare us well for the challenges ahead.
"Whenever our heart condemns us …"
From time to time, our hearts will seek to condemn us. This is true for us as much as for our clients. We should not be surprised when thoughts of condemnation bubble up from the recesses of our hearts. And when they do, we must have ready in hand the truth of Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Nothing is more certain to explode the bubbles of condemnation than the pointed truth of Christ’s saving work. He took the condemnation so fully that it no longer has any claim over us. Though our hearts may repeat the resounding evidences that highlight the worthiness of our condemnation, Christ speaks a more powerful word—a word that births new life in which condemnation has no place.
"God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything."
What an incredible truth! Not just that God is stronger than our hearts, but that He also knows everything and that knowledge does not send Him fleeing from us in disgust. He knows our sin and weakness better than we do. He knows the true measure of the condemnation we deserve, yet He still loves us and covers us with grace and mercy. This should give us tremendous confidence to draw near to Him in our weaknesses and struggles.
If God does not condemn even as He sees everything, how much more should we not condemn ourselves or our clients based on behavior, choices, or the past? We are invited to see our clients (and ourselves) with spiritual eyes and not judge according to the flesh (1 Corinthians 5:16). This enables us to counsel with hope and joy knowing that what is impossible with man is possible with God (Luke 18:27).