Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle? It’s a common principle that is used in project management and the business world. It is sometimes referred to as the 80/20 principle. Here is the “official” definition from Wikipedia; “The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”
Allow me to illustrate: let’s say I’m making widgets and I notice that my widgets are coming out the wrong size, warped, and missing several cogs. Lots of problems. Upon further investigation, I notice that one of my widget making machines is mis-calibrated and is therefore causing these malfunctions. One problem had many effects.
Biblical counseling for many is scary work. People are complex and their problems are as well. The fear of the difficulty of unraveling problems and getting to the bottom of peoples destructive behaviors keep many out of the counseling room. However, in my experience, Pareto’s Principle applies here as well. Many biblical counseling issues have the same root causes.
Dr. Bob Smith is a biblical counselor with years of experience not only in the counseling room, but also in training biblical counselors. He’s a medical doctor, deacon, and biblical counseling guru. He has said, “Every counseling problem is, at root, a theology problem” (actually, I didn’t write down the exact quote…but that’s close). I completely concur! Orthodoxy impacts orhtoproxy…or belief impacts behavior. If your theology is “off” then your LIFE will “off” as well.
And the biggest doctrine that is under attack in believers lives is not what you may think. It’s not Bibliology (the study of the Bible). Most of our church folk know the Bible is important. It’s not even Soteriolgy (the study of salvation) as vital as that is! In my opinion, the doctrine most under attack from the enemy is Theology Proper…the study of God Himself! When people have wrong views about God, everything else in life gets skewed. A. W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
And Satan know this very well…it’s been his main attack from the beginning.
And the lie that he repeats over and over and over again is… “God is not good. He does not love you as much as He says He does.”
Explanation from the Bible
Consider Genesis 3 where we find the story of the temptation. The serpent’s attack is very crafty. Before tempting her to sin he first destroys her view of God. In verse 5, he says, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” In other words, “God is keeping something great from you! He’s not very good! He doesn’t love you as much as He says He does.”
Once she buys that lie, everything changes. Specifically, how she sees the fruit AND God’s word concerning it changes. Satan knew something…change the belief and you will change the behavior. And we should not be ignorant of those devices (2 Cor. 2:11).
Illustrations from the Counseling Room
I have seen this principle lived out over and over again in the counseling room. I met with a couple for months. It was one of those cases where I did much more wrong than right! This could had all kinds of problems! She not only did not respect her husband..she downright hated him…and she wasn’t afraid to let him know! He certainly wasn’t a peach, but her venomous behavior toward him certainly didn’t help! What was mind boggling was the fact that she had grown up in a Christian home, graduated from a Christian school, attended a Christian college and even taught at Christian Academy! She KNEW what God’s word said about communication, the role of the wife, biblical love, etc. But she wasn’t buying it. Toward the end of our time together I made an accusation (bad idea, by the way…Randy Patten says, “Accusations harden the heart where questions prick the conscious”…lesson learned the hard way). Here was my accusation, “You don’t trust God, do you?” Her response… “Why should I? He’s never given me anything I wanted!” Somewhere along the way she had listened to the lie of the enemy… “God is not good. He can’t be trusted.” As a result, she wasn’t following biblical principles. One root cause…many marital and life problems.
Her belief was “God is not good and loving” and so therefore her behavior followed suit. In this case, all the biblical principles on marriage weren’t going to matter a hill of beans to her until we got her Theology Proper right!
Blogs should be short. Opps. 🙂
Next time we’ll talk about how this applies to heart desires and eventually some practical steps to overcome it.
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