Is Psychology of the Devil?
"Foolishness brings joy to those who have no sense; a sensible person stays on the right path. Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success."1
Before I started publishing on the web, a man spoke to our ACTS board of directors seeking to have my writings rejected. Displaying several outreach brochures that I had written, he said to my board, "Are you going to allow this literature to be published? It has psychology in it and psychology is of the devil." Our board obviously didn't heed his advice.
Just recently I was asked, "Are you aware that psychology is based on the teachings of godless, and in some cases, Anti-Christian men?"
Sure, some psychology and counseling can be godless and some of the devil—so can some theology and preaching. There are plenty of both but does that make all psychology and all theology bad? Of course not.
As theology is the study and understanding of God, psychology is the study and understanding of man's psyche—that is, the study of his mind and inner self, which involves his emotions and motives. Keep in mind, too, that God "desires truth in the innermost parts,"2 which includes personal honesty with one's emotions and motives.
The book of Proverbs urges us to seek wise counsel. And Jesus, more than any person ever, always understood what was going on in the mind and heart of his hearers—as well as that of his opponents—which made him the Master Psychologist par excellence.
Actually, if we don't have a well-balanced understanding of people (psychology), it is all too easy to use theology and the Bible to manipulate people and keep them bound in denial and trapped in their problems. Such teachers have little or no understanding of the human mind and heart and can do considerable harm to the psyche of the people they seek to counsel. They are usually stuck in denial themselves. The religious Pharisees of Christ's day were a classic example of this and we all know what Jesus had to say to them. It wasn't nice!
The heart and soul of good psychology and counseling is to seek personal honesty—being honest with one's self, with God, and with at least one trustworthy, non-judgmental and safe person. It involves the confession of sins, of buried and denied super-charged repressed negative emotions, and acknowledging our motives and seeing the reasons behind many of our negative behavior patterns and impaired relationships. Besides teaching personal honesty and integrity, it emphasizes the necessity of personal responsibility and growing towards wholeness. I'd say that's about as biblically sound as one can get.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to face reality about myself and be ruthlessly honest so I can see both my strengths and my broken parts and bring the latter to you for your healing and recovery. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
P.S. True, we are all sinners by nature but unresolved personal issues cause us to act out in even more self- and other-destructive ways.
1. Proverbs 15:21-22 (NLT).
2. Psalm 51:6.