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Uncovering Hidden Agendas

Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

C. S. Lewis

As anyone who has counseled knows, when people do ask for help, it is usually not in the area of their real need. They rarely mention their real source of pain without first sending up one or more trial balloons — the presenting problems.

The way these "safe" issues are handled determines whether they will reveal the underlying hurt.

"Any time a person comes for counseling, I assume the topic of discussion is not the real issue," said one pastor who's made counseling his specialty. "But the surface issue has to be dealt with. There may be pride on the surface, for instance, and a huge hurt underneath. When you try to see why the pride is ...

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