2. Playing the role of the Holy Spirit.
As those who have felt the sting of assault, we can easily slip into wanting to be the hero, to save someone who is walking through similar circumstances. We remember feeling alone, and we remember being so thankful for the person God sent to help us when we were in need. But slipping into the role of hero will only result in an intermingled mess of empathy and co-dependency. The Holy Spirit is always the better counselor, and we have the honor of helping people learn to recognize his voice.
Other times, the women we counsel will have unrealistic expectations of us. As you serve as a sympathetic listener who speaks wisdom, it’s easy for women you counsel to begin relying on you for every answer. You might get calls in the middle of the night or frantic texts asking for aid because a woman who has been violated can become frantic and fearful. When this happens, we have the honor of helping the woman regain strength by leading her to find biblical conclusions on her own. Instead of causing her to lose confidence in her ability to make decisions, we help her talk through questions like, “Should I tell my mom?” We open the Scriptures, pray, and offer directive truth, but the important thing is her reliance on God.
In order to help instead of enable, it is important to set sensible boundaries and refrain from allowing the people we counsel to confuse our voice with the voice of the Holy Spirit. We tell them from the beginning what we can and cannot do and what hours we are reachable. We’re not afraid to tell people, “I can’t answer that for you, but God can. Take it to him and trust that he will guide you to the right choice.” How lamentable it would be to exchange God’s voice for that of a human, and how crushing it can be when someone idolizes a created being over the creator (Rom. 1:25).
3. Letting the lies she believes take root in you.
When we sit down to listen to the thoughts of others, we’re forced to face lies we have also been tempted to believe, and we risk assimilating them. We hear “It was my fault,” “I brought this on myself,” and “I deserved it.” And while we remind her that it was not her fault, that the assailant made the choice, and that no one deserves to be assaulted, we may struggle to believe this about our own circumstances. This is where it can get dangerous. If we haven’t reckoned with the whispers from the enemy, they will replay in our souls.