Psychology is Biblical

Ok. I have been thinking about how many times I have heard people say (in more ways than one) how Psychology is unbiblical, unChristian, and that it should not be studied by believers. And in my head the only thing I can think is that the people who are saying these things are judging me for choosing to study Psychology as a Christian. I understand and have learned the ideas of Freud, but he is only one of hundreds of Psychologists who have made contributions to the field. So I’m going to break it down for the people who think Psychology is unbiblical and unChristian, and why it should be studied by believers.

Psychology: the science or study of the mind and behaviour

At its root, Psychology is the study of why people do the things they do. Isn’t that what God wants from us? To figure out where we’re going wrong, and change it? How are we supposed to repent if we don’t know what we’re doing wrong? Looking at yourself and asking God to show you what needs to be fixed is the difference between a person free from the bonds of sin and a person who is still in chains.

Science: [the] study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation

Psychology is a science. But we know that. What I think people don’t understand is that science is Biblical. I don’t mean that evolution or the Big Bang Theory is Biblical. I mean the study of the natural world is Biblical. And if the study of the natural world is Biblical, I’m guessing that the study of the people in the natural world is also Biblical.

Anyone who thinks about their own thoughts and behaviours is studying their Psychology (which can also be defined as: the way a person or group thinks). So if we are going with the logic that Psychology is unbiblical, then studying your own thoughts and behaviour is unbiblical.

One of my professors likes to read us a Scripture passage that connects with the topic we are studying that day. She links so many passages to Psychology (in the correct context) that I can’t accept the idea that Psychology is unbiblical.

Sure, Psychologists may have come up with some crazy ideas, but we can’t just throw out Psychology because of a few mistakes along the way. Without Psychology, people with disorders and disabilities might not get the treatment they need to function in this crazy world

Proverbs has many verses about fools who do not listen to wise counsel. In Proverbs 11:14 it says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (ESV). Isaiah 9:6 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (ESV). Counselors, therapists, and psychologists are following in Jesus’ example, and that is helping those who need it the most.

If you think about Psychology like you think about other jobs Christians have, it’s a ministry. Helping people is not a sin, and that is my goal after I graduate with my degree in Psychology. We can either choose to bring light into the darkness, or we can sit back and watch someone else do it.

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Phileo: Companionate Love

The difference between the two genders never ceases to amaze me. The moment you think you have the opposite gender all figured out, something happens that makes you feel just as lost as you felt before. And no matter how long you have been with someone, you will always learn something new. Of course you know a lot about the person you’re with, and – oh my goodness – you can even finish each other’s sentences. You know their favourite flavour of sour patch kids. And you even know that they really don’t like that one movie with that one person in it.

But there is one thing that takes the cake when it comes to my confusion about men. It’s the phrase “Just come here and sit with me while we watch a movie (or watch tv, or cook dinner, or write a paper).” It’s honestly very confusing to hear this when I have things to do and David just wants me to come and sit with him. I mean, we’re not really doing anything just sitting there watching tv, right? I could be doing plenty of other things, and he knows that. But I recently learned that men are energized by the presence of their (girlfriends, fiancées) wives. They love when we’re around. Have you ever noticed when you watch a guy play sports and some girls walk in (or maybe his girlfriend, fiancée, or wife) and he suddenly can make that basket or shoot straight into the net?

For some reason, and let’s be real… we kinda know the reason, men act a lot different when women are around. So, when David asks me to “come sit” with him, he’s asking me to work on our friendship. I realized (when I read Love & Respect, of course) that a man needs his wife to be his best friend. I think that’s so cool. Men definitely need their buddies, but there is something different about a wife being her husband’s best friend.

The phrase “come and sit with me” doesn’t bother me anymore. It just means that my fiancé wants to work on our friendship, because that is important to him. A good relationship does not consist of one person giving and the other person getting all the time. There needs to be an attitude of serving each other because you love each other. Working on each other’s different needs is a great way of serving,  and it’s a lot more rewarding.

I’m a Woman, I Have Rights! … Right?

I used to think I had the role of women understood. I have read Genesis many times, and I enjoy reading about how man “should not be alone.” The word helper made sense to me, until I heard what the Hebrew translation was. I always understood the word helper to mean a partner, but it’s so much more than that. The Hebrew word for helper is Ezer, which means “to rescue, to save.” It also means “strength.” Isn’t that neat? I think it’s so cool that God chose to use that word to describe what women were made for.

When I first heard the translation of “helper” in my Marriage & Family course at Liberty, I felt a sense of confidence. But not the confidence that culture says that women should have, it was a God-given confidence. I thought helper was a term that meant a woman was someone who was passive until her help was needed. It turns out that women were created for more than “helping.” Women were made to be a source of strength for their husbands. We are to fight to protect the honour and reputation of our men. But this role is not to be filled by a woman who thinks too highly of herself. This role was meant to be filled by a humble, serving woman. If you’re looking for ways to show respect to your fiancé or husband, then fulfilling your womanly role is a great place to start!

By showing your man that you accept the role God has given you instead of fighting against it, then your man can assume his role, too. Things go a lot more smoothly when we accept our rightful role as woman and stop fighting against it. I’m not saying a woman can’t go out and work (this isn’t about having a career), what I am saying is a woman was given to Adam. We were made for man, because it was not good that man should be alone. But God didn’t create woman so that man could step all over her. That is why He chose the word Ezer to describe the woman’s role. It sounds backwards, but I have stopped trying to be the leader in my relationship with David, and I actually feel like we’re more of a team this way. And that’s because we have both assumed our proper roles.

I don’t say all of this so that we can go and brag about how cool our role is (even if it is pretty cool). I’m saying all of this so that we can finally understand what the word “helper” really means, and step up and accept the role that God has given to us as women.

Unconditional Respect?

My fiancé, David, and I are reading through “Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs” by Emerson Eggerichs, and it is incredible. The principles that Eggerichs teaches in the book, if they are applied properly, can transform marriages. He writes to both husbands and wives, with special attention to the husband’s need for respect. Everyone has heard of the term unconditional love, but Eggerichs introduces a new term: unconditional respect. He takes this term from Ephesians 5:33, which says, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

The term unconditional respect is a very new idea that a lot of women have a hard time accepting. Don’t people have to earn our respect? That’s what I used to think until I started reading this book. And then I realized that I had been so very wrong for most of my relationship with David (and even with my Dad). I’m sure most women can agree with me that saying “I love you” comes a lot more naturally than “I respect you.” I don’t see greeting cards at Wal-mart that say “My Dear Husband, I respect you because you protect me and provide for me.” You don’t see those because we wouldn’t buy them. We pick out cards that express how we feel, and if we don’t feel respectful, why would we buy a card that says we respect our men?

The problem is that we think our men need love above all else, just like we do. But men need something more than love, and that is our respect. This isn’t limited to relationships with boyfriends, fiancés, or husbands. This idea of respect reaches into relationships with Dads, bosses, and any man you talk to anywhere at all. The fact is, respect is a gift that you should be willing to give your boyfriend, fiancé, or husband no matter what the situation is. That includes when he is treating you in a way that makes you feel unloved.

I know when I’m feeling unloved because of something David has done (he does not intend to hurt me) it is probably because I have acted disrespectfully toward him. His natural (and human) response is to react in a way that feels unloving to me. This is what Eggerichs calls “The Crazy Cycle.” I encourage you (women and men) to pick up a copy of the book because it has helped David and I in our relationship so much! We haven’t perfected the art of love and respect yet, but knowing that we are on the right track is enough motivation for us to keep trying to be obedient to God.