Giving Counsel in an Emergency

“Could you please call me back soon! This is kind of an emergency!” “Uh-Oh!” I thought as I processed the voicemail message, “Not another one!” I had only recently experienced helping a neighbor of mine with a house fire and his 3rd degree burns in another Gospel emergency. When it rains it pours as they say!

Because of who called, I expected to hear of someone’s death, or sickness unto death, as is often the case of a pastoral emergency call. At the very least I expected someone with a hospital emergency or dealing with a demon. I quickly returned the phone call but didn’t receive an answer, so I left a message. An hour later or so my friend called back and unveiled the mystery! In one sense I was relieved and very glad it was not anything near what I was thinking. In the next instant I was proud that my friend had recognized the issue as a REAL emergency. Here is what they said, to my memory:

Pastor Tim, thanks for calling! I really need your help because I have a situation where I have to speak with someone, soon, who is having a difficult time! They’ve been through a lot of bad stuff, and they’re currently going through a lot of bad stuff, and they’ve called ME in order to talk about it. The only problem is, they don’t know Jesus Christ, even though many have tried to help them receive Christ, but I don’t want to say the wrong thing! Do you have any words of counsel as to how I might help them?

If you are a regular reader of this blog, I hope you can see the real emergency in this emergency. It’s not that my friend was absolutely dependent upon me before they could serve their hurting friend! No way! However, in light of the fact they are understanding and embracing the Gospel of Humanity’s Adoption in Jesus, and taking it more seriously along with me, they didn’t want to throw burdens on a friend that they themselves weren’t willing to carry! I’ve got to respect their alignment with Jesus! (Matt 23:4)

And, let’s face it, as you repent with Jesus and learn to think in an inclusive versus exclusive way about all of humanity’s relationship with the Father, through Jesus, and in the Spirit (Col 1:17), there can be quite a gap between what you know on the inside and what you can communicate with your tongue to the outside! Ha-Ha!

As I said, my first response was “Whew!” My second response was something you may find helpful if you ever get in a similar situation. Here is a brief outline of my counsel to my friend in the Light of the Gospel:

1.)    “Remember Who Jesus is as the One in, through, by and for Whom all things are created and sustained.” Jesus is the Father’s Son made human and sharing His relationship with His Father in the Spirit with you and me and everyone. He has created and is sustaining everyone! Therefore, you will not be in that situation by yourself but with the Triune God Who already lives in you and your friend and in your relationship!”

I said this because knowing Who God is as revealed in Jesus means that we can go into these types of situations with security and assurance in God’s presence, confident that He is already in each of us as the Source of Wisdom, Guidance and Relational Power we need!

2.)    “Be Who you are in Jesus and be Him to and for your friend!” – Jesus is simply with us and for us because He loves us and that is Who He is in His relationship with His Father, the Spirit, Humanity and Creation!”

I said this because, in the first instance, we don’t have to try to make anything happen or try to get people to believe in Jesus! Jesus is the fullness of God made human simply to share His life and love with us, period. This means that God didn’t just come to manipulate us, influence us, or get us to love Him. He came, being Himself, to love us! He won’t change His mind about being with us in our humanity because we don’t believe in Him because He believes in being with and for us (even when we choose to be in darkness!) And besides, even if He were to have a good influence on us, He has a much better chance of being and doing that if He loves us unconditionally, and He DOES love us unconditionally!

3.)    “If your friend is open to you, and does seek your input, make sure to tell them who they are in Jesus, and help them see that even their very suffering is a share in His life!”

I counseled in this way because my friend’s friend IS who they are in Jesus! (2 Cor 5:15, 1 Tim 4:10-11). Ultimately, only Truth can overcome the lies, depression and delusions we have about life and us and, in Jesus, Truth already has (John 14:6).

As I repeatedly say, we know something is wrong because we know “down to our toenails” that which is right and good! We know this because ONLY God is good (Matt 19:17), and He lives in us(Acts 1:17), being and doing Who He is (Heb 13:8). Bottom line, tell them that even their pain is a sign pointing to the Jesus Who lives in them and that He would never leave or forsake them, least of all in their suffering! In fact, He is sharing His suffering with them and suffering with them in you, you both being the children the Father always wanted!

Another emergency solved in Jesus, and beginning to be believed and participated in by us! Ha-Ha!

~ Timothy J. Brassell

6 comments so far

  1. Jane Hinrichs on

    Those three points are so practical. I’m going to keep them handy — use them myself one day. Thank you.

    • tjbrassell on

      Thanks Jane! Happy you found these points so useful for future situations! Cheers to the Jesus Who is already there with you! 🙂

  2. John Geerlings on

    Thanks for these Tim
    My excitement and speaking too much and not recognizing the right time has gotten me in trouble in the past.

    • tjbrassell on

      You’re welcome John! It seems that the Good News is so exciting we MUST speak, huh?! Unfortunately, we can mess a lot of things up in our extremes. Been there and done that along with you! Thank God that in Jesus He has the ability to redeem every mess and share with us His very love with others even in our present darkness! Good to hear from you!

  3. Jerome on

    Awesome counsel! Reminds me of James Torrance’s counsel to the man whose wife was terminally I’ll – they were so comforted to hear and believe that Jesus was with them.

    • tjbrassell on

      Thanks Jerome! I remember being struck by that same story in James’ book “Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace” – WOW! Loved it and still do! 🙂 Same result, same Holy Spirit given to us all! The Triune God is a true burden-lifter! You are always talking about the good stuff and I appreciate it!


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