Counseling and Police Work: Stomaching Wickedness

I came across a doubly sad article in the Indy Star regarding child pornography. It is doubly sad for a first reason: the topic of children being involved in sexual activity beyond their will, commonly called sex trafficking, is amazingly sad. And it is sad for a second reason which is the intent of the article: the police personnel who have to investigate these matters are being exposed to this content. They are victims, too, even though they willingly choose to do this job for the betterment of society and praise God that they do! We need them to make the world a better place.

Then, I thought about the counselors I know who deal with very similar issues in counseling. It’s not easy to hear everyone’s junk and continue on with your day as though nothing happened. We rely upon the grace of God to replace the content of what we are exposed to with what is true, righteous, and pure (Phil. 4:8). We do not have to stomach wickedness and digest it so that it becomes a part of us by God’s grace!

So what do you do when you see, hear, or read about something that is wicked and ungodly? My recommendation to both police investigators and counselors is to bathe your minds in the Word of God and prayer. Focus your thoughts on what is true just as Philippians 4:8-9 states:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

These two verses are written in the context of contentment and in a greater context of conflict. Read the entire passage sometime and apply the wisdom of these verses to the topics of learning contentment and resolving conflict. It is a fascinating study!

But for our purposes today, Philippians 4:8-9 teaches us to focus our minds upon what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. When we focus upon evil and wickedness, we mistakenly think that Satan is winning when he is certainly a defeated foe. When we direct our thoughts upon what is listed in Phil. 4:8-9, then we remember that Christ has won and will win the ultimate victory. It helps us to keep things in perspective. And it helps us to REPLACE ungodly images, words, stories, and ideas with godly truths from Scripture. It is our duty to do such and God clearly places that responsibility upon us in Ephesians 4:20-24:

But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

This is a command for the believer: to put-off corrupted desires and wickedness and to put-on new desires and godliness created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Putting-off your old self, or the disgusting images, words, and ideas of this world’s system, is your part in the change process and it is for the purpose of renewing the spirit of your minds by the power of the Holy Spirit. God will work on mind renewal and do His part as you put-off and do your part. Then, find new images, words, and ideas to put-on that reflect the glory of God. It is difficult to do at first but necessary for sanctification!

Let’s pray for those who have to be exposed to such wickedness in order to do their jobs effectively. And as we pray, we know we can trust God to do His work in renewing the mind so we do not have to stomach wickedness.

-Mark (“Thank you, Lord, for giving us your practical Word of truth and the power of the Holy Spirit in battling the wickedness of this world and the sinfulness in our own corrupted, natures. We cannot do this without You, Lord, and we pray for those in the battle for righteousness that You might preserve them by Your mighty Hand for your own glory. Amen.”)

Mark Shaw
Mark Shaw has 22 years of counseling experience working in a variety of settings including faith-based residential programs, dealing with issues surrounding “addictions” of all types, and supervising staff positions. His experience in the biblical counseling field began in 2001. He has written 14 published works including The Heart of Addiction; Relapse: Biblical Prevention Strategies; Divine Intervention: Hope and Help for Families of Addicts; Addiction-Proof Parenting; and Hope and Help for Self-Injurers/Cutters. He also co-authored a chapter in Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling (2013).