Issues and Answers

Benign Neglect

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Desmond Mattocks


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000271

00:01 ¤ ¤
00:29 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn and welcome again to Issues and
00:33 Answers, a program where we talk about issues that are important
00:36 to your life and try to provide Biblical answers. As I always
00:40 do I'd like to start with a scripture today because this is
00:43 going to set up our topic and it comes from Galatians chapter 6
00:47 and verse 1. Paul's writing to the Galatians. Listen to this
00:51 wise advice that he gives. He says: Brethren if any person is
00:55 overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are
00:59 spiritual, you who are controlled by the Holy Spirit,
01:02 led by the Holy Spirit, should set him right and restore and
01:07 reinstate him. But listen, he says, without any sense of
01:12 superiority, he's saying it can happen to all of us and with all
01:16 gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself lest you should
01:21 be tempted also. The purpose of the church, the purpose of
01:25 Christian fellowship, is that we might speak the truth boldly in
01:29 love to one another, that we might help restore because God
01:33 is a God of restoration and he wants us to give out that
01:38 message of redemption and restoration. Our topic today is
01:42 called Benign Neglect. Now isn't that an interesting title? We're
01:46 going to learn from our special guest what this is all about.
01:50 Help me please to welcome back Dr. Desmond Mattocks. Desmond
01:55 it is so good to have you back.
01:57 Thanks for having me.
01:59 Now you are a Ph. D. in Christian counseling and you
02:04 have written a book called Redemption Therapy: Counseling
02:07 by Inspiration. Tell us what redemption therapy is all about.
02:13 Redemption Therapy in essence is really making wise use of God's
02:18 word in therapy. It is intended to help or to assist the
02:23 individual to follow God's plan for marriage.
02:25 OK, so you do focus a lot on marital counseling, that is your
02:30 primary focus. Yes. Now we've had a couple of programs with
02:33 you before that have been very interesting. But let me ask you
02:37 this question. Where do you come up with this title Benign
02:41 Neglect and what do you mean?
02:43 I think the infinite willingness of the church to reach out to
02:49 to sinners and people who have violated God's command
02:53 is the goal and truth of the gospel that Christ taught.
02:57 And the scripture is hardly able to give us a clearer example
03:03 that Christ's relationship with the woman at the well. Here was
03:08 a woman who had been messing around for quite some time and
03:13 the man with whom she lived at that time was not her husband.
03:17 But what approach did Christ take? Clearly she was caught
03:22 red-handed. Clearly she was in violation of the law and needed
03:27 some rebuke but Christ spoke to her, engaged her into to a
03:33 conversation at the end of which rather that feeling ashamed of
03:37 herself, she went out to call others and say come see a man.
03:42 I think if we counselors and the church could take note of how
03:46 Christ dealt with this woman, I think divorced people and the
03:51 whole community at large would be better for our experience.
03:56 So am I to understand that benign neglect means that the church
04:01 has been sleeping and maybe not intentionally neglecting these
04:05 people but we've not been counseling from scripture people
04:10 who have been injured in marital relationships or going through a
04:15 tough time, but also those who have suffered from divorce.
04:18 Is that what you're saying?
04:20 The church is very long on condemning people when they have
04:26 done wrong but very short in restoring them. And I think I
04:31 see people come to church each week and they're hurting,
04:36 hurting badly and sermons don't always cut it for them. They
04:42 come to church empty and they leave empty because of what is
04:46 going on in their own personal life, what's going on socially
04:50 and otherwise and the church's arms see somewhat short.
04:56 It doesn't embrace them and I'm not asking the church to not do
05:00 its duty in letting people know that they've done wrong but once
05:04 you have done that you have a duty to restore people to their
05:08 original position and I think this is where the church has
05:13 neglected inadvertently, unwittingly, it has neglected
05:18 the caring and the loving of people who have fallen foul
05:23 of God's law. Well, in all fairness there are
05:25 some churches, I know we go to a very loving church that's very
05:29 accepting and reaching out. There are some churches that
05:32 have it right. But what you're saying is by and large no matter
05:36 what denomination there are people who are walking into
05:40 church and they are not getting the love, acceptance, guidance
05:46 they're not having their spiritual needs met because I
05:52 tell people the church is a hospital for sinners.
05:55 Someone recently said to me well then if you come to a hospital
06:00 once you're well you're supposed to go out. I said no in this
06:03 instance, once you're well you become one of the doctors and
06:07 the nurses to restore and help others back to good spiritual
06:11 health. Let's look at the analogy of the
06:13 hospital. You go into a hospital and you see cancer patients, you
06:19 see heart patients, you see diabetes, you see the objective
06:24 never hear the heart patient talking about the cancer
06:28 patient. Everybody is there to get well and the great physician
06:33 is Jesus Christ. So when a person has violated the law, yes
06:37 they have done wrong and they need to know that they've done
06:41 wrong just like the woman at the well, but beyond that you have
06:46 to restore them and I think this is where the church fails.
06:50 I recall some years ago I was asked to do a Sabbath School
06:54 class on family life and I began to come up with my own topics,
07:02 you know, and I realized how hurting people were.
07:07 Initially people were unable to share their views because it was
07:11 unheard of, it was such a taboo thing, but after weeks of this
07:16 three or four weeks, I realized how many people in the church
07:21 were hurting and they came to church, not so much to hear a
07:26 sermon. They came to be loved and to be appreciated and this
07:31 wasn't happening and after the first few weeks it almost was as
07:36 if the class was full of people sharing and venting their
07:40 frustration and out of that class the idea for a book like
07:44 this was Redemption Therapy.
07:46 Wonderful, but now you've touched on something that I'd
07:48 like to elaborate on and see if you agree. You said that it took
07:53 a few weeks before people were opening up. Don't you think that
07:57 in part it's not just the church's fault that this kind
08:01 of redemption therapy hasn't been going on but many times
08:05 people come to church and they use verbal camouflage and they
08:08 put on their finest smile and people say how are you doing
08:12 and they'll say Happy Sabbath, I'm doing great and they hold
08:16 things because they're so afraid that they will be judged that
08:20 they hold things within themselves.
08:22 That is absolutely true. This is where I think the church must
08:27 take the initiative. Christ did not wait for the woman to come
08:32 to him. He initiated conversation with her,
08:34 he reached out and he touched her. He spoke to her heart and
08:40 her heart responded. I think that the church must exercise
08:45 love if it does have the love of Jesus Christ, because no man
08:50 is in a fit condition to condemn another one or even to counsel
08:54 him if they don't have the Spirit of God. It doesn't matter
08:58 how many Sabbaths you keep, it doesn't matter how many times
09:01 you come to church, you're not keeping the Sabbath unless you
09:05 have the Spirit of the one who made the Sabbath and I think
09:08 that's where the church is falling down. So we have to
09:11 reexamine why this is happening or not happening.
09:16 OK, so how I say it, and I think you'll like this is that the
09:20 Holy Spirit is not only the spirit of holiness because God
09:24 is holy but God is also love, 1 John 4:8 and 16 tell us this.
09:28 So the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of love and anything that we do
09:33 that is not motivated by love is not of God, so how can we then,
09:38 the church, the body of Christ, initiate things and what can we
09:43 initiate to reach people who may be closed off to us, who may be
09:47 giving us a false front. What can we do to rectify this
09:53 situation? We have to go to them and that
09:58 means go to them in the congregation, go to them in the
10:02 home, speak to them trying to find out what is happening with
10:07 them in their marriages and let them feel a sense of belonging,
10:11 a sense of worth because that's very important to all of us. All
10:15 of us like to be appreciated and loved. When you're going to a
10:20 church you're returning you're offerings and your tithes and
10:23 you're not getting anything back because the relationship is
10:27 supposed to be reciprocated relationship. That's how God
10:32 made the total system that we give and receive. You know, you
10:38 take a flower, a plant; the plant gives off oxygen and we
10:44 gladly take that in. We add some carbon to that and return CO2.
10:48 The plant takes that back, makes fruits and we eat and the cycle
10:54 continues and that's how God's universe operates. What we hold
10:59 onto we hoard our feelings, we hoard our love and we use it to
11:03 beat other people over the head with it. We must use it to
11:07 improve ourselves so that we can respond to them positively.
11:11 That's where I think the church is falling down. The church was
11:15 called to be an example. So if you go to church and you're
11:19 feeling that. You get the impression, well why am I going
11:23 there and so we find people playing hop scotch to different
11:27 churches just to find something that is alluding them over the
11:31 years. And so it almost has evidence like a fast food
11:38 restaurant, McDonalds. Wherever you go you get the same menu,
11:42 the same feeling is being dished out to you and that's what you
11:46 eat each day as a person who has been divorced. I think that is
11:49 wrong scripturally and otherwise. So I think the church
11:53 needs to look at itself and understand its own condition.
11:56 I think the angel in Revelation said it best, you're wretched,
12:00 you're poor, you're blind church You can't see your own self. You
12:04 think you're rich, you think you're righteous but you're
12:06 not any better than these people They have done wrong, yes, but
12:10 you have a duty to restore them.
12:12 Amen, amen, the scripture is clear on that. Now would you say
12:17 that those of us who are spiritual that our goal should
12:22 be to go to church not to gain a blessing but rather to be a
12:28 blessing. Now I'm very fortunate Here in our Thompsonville church
12:34 we have a church that is filled with loving people and I
12:38 guarantee that if someone comes as a visitor they're going to be
12:40 acknowledged all the way around and we have a fellowship
12:45 luncheon every weekend so that people who attend church can
12:50 come and be ministered to. Of course with over 200 people we
12:55 do a pretty good job of keeping up with everyone. So it begins
13:00 with the individual saint that when we come to church we need
13:05 to be looking out for people who are coming in, looking out,
13:09 making them feel good, inviting them to our homes. But then are
13:13 there some types of programs that maybe the church can offer
13:17 to help meet the needs of these people?
13:20 Well you know you said earlier that to get your blessing you go
13:25 and give blessing rather than receiving but that's how you get
13:29 your blessing, by giving. Because when everybody's
13:31 giving everybody's receiving. And so the best way to impress
13:36 is not to impress. It's just to seek after what you can do to
13:42 help someone else. So I think that... you spoke about the
13:47 Thompsonville church and I was there last night so I did see a
13:50 little bit of what you're talking about. I was received
13:54 very well and I appreciated that I was able to telephone and tell
13:58 my wife about that. And that's what church is all about, really
14:02 that you make people feel a sense of belonging. You don't
14:07 condemn them or take them apart and you're not able to put them
14:10 back together. That's the good thing about Jesus. When he takes
14:15 you apart he puts you back together. And I think the church
14:21 is failing in this, ministers and elders and leaders are
14:26 not reaching out in the way that God intended for them to reach
14:30 out. Yes people have done wrong They have caviled at the seventh
14:33 commandment and they've done other things but if you knew...
14:36 The seventh commandment, because there some that are watching
14:40 that may not know, that is thou shalt not commit adultery, but
14:43 we are going to say right now that divorce is not the
14:45 unpardonable sin so that should not keep you out of the church.
14:49 As I indicated earlier this woman had had five husbands,
14:55 five and living with the sixth. And Christ did not make her
15:00 feel that it was OK to do that. He spoke to her as the church
15:06 should do but at the same time you must let the person who has
15:11 violated the commandment, let them know that Christ can
15:15 restore them and your duty, my duty, it to lead them to this
15:20 man and they will bring towns, villages and even cities like
15:25 the... Come see a man who has told me all that I have done.
15:29 Come to a church, come to Thompsonville, come to whatever
15:34 church it is. The church should be the gateway to heaven not
15:38 the courts of hell and people should see that, they should
15:42 know that, they should feel that.
15:46 So essentially the church, when people come into the church, the
15:50 church should let them know of the love of God. I mean, we are
15:54 the hands of the Lord that embrace others and we should
15:57 let them know that God is a God of restoration, he's a God of
16:01 new beginnings. Lamentations 3:22,23 say his mercies are new
16:05 every morning, his compassions fail not. So what you're saying
16:10 number one is to the church, wake up church, you're asleep
16:14 you know and you think that you've got this all right. Wake
16:18 up, pay attention to the hurting people around you because many
16:22 times people will. They will close off and they feel
16:26 frightened to share and they're sometimes frightened because
16:29 they think we're going to judge them which sadly that is a true
16:34 statement. There are times that people do judge. But it's a wake
16:38 up call to the church. Not just to the ministers. The ministers
16:41 are there to equip all the saints to do this work, not just
16:45 the ministers and deacons and deaconesses and the elders of
16:48 the church, but everyone has this responsibility if they're
16:52 part of the body of Christ.
16:53 That's true, but I think if the leaders lead others will follow.
17:01 By example, yes. But I do think that the church, I don't know
17:08 why it is not reaching out in the way... We tend to prioritize
17:13 sin. Some sins are OK, you can get by with them, and some we
17:18 think are more weighty than others. Sin is sin, you know,
17:24 the transgression of the law.
17:26 It doesn't matter if you're coveting or if you're committing
17:31 adultery this is sin.
17:33 This is sin and you've broken the commandments so in your
17:36 attitude towards me you're committing a sin too.
17:41 OK you have identified the problem. What's the solution?
17:44 The solution is Jesus through an agent called redemption therapy.
17:51 Now redemption therapy recognizes that a person has
17:56 fallen foul of God's law. It picks them up, helps them to
18:02 brush themselves off and be restored, be redeemed to their
18:06 Savior Jesus Christ. Now when you're connected into the source
18:10 when you put a plug into an electrical socket you know you
18:15 have power. So when you are connected then you can be
18:20 reconciled to your spouse, to your children, to whomever
18:26 relationship has been severed with you. So redemption therapy
18:32 uses wise counsels of God and teaches that if you obey the law
18:37 as God says to Moses and Moses says to the children of Israel
18:42 obey the law, obey. You know there are people who think that
18:47 the law has been done away with, but the Bible teaches different.
18:50 And so we must obey God because he is our creator.
18:56 And praise the Lord that he empowers us to obey. He works in
19:00 us to will and to act according to his good pleasure. Now as
19:04 we're teaching people though, first the church needs to be
19:09 more loving, more accepting and understand that we're merely
19:13 fishers of men. It's God job to do the cleaning of the fish.
19:16 So what we're doing is introducing them to the
19:20 scripture. But let's get down to some practical steps here.
19:24 Let's say that someone is watching right now and he's the
19:27 head elder of the church and he says Desmond's describing my
19:31 church. We are asleep. We do think that we are rich and in
19:35 need of nothing. But I understand now that we're not
19:39 being loving enough, we're not reaching out to people enough
19:43 and maybe someone even maybe even felt shunned by us. What do
19:47 we tell them. Does it begin with visitation, with programs, with
19:51 seminars. How does a church fix this?
19:53 Let me say first and foremost that people around us see our
19:59 theology and hear it. That's good. You know, and there are
20:03 churches where there might not be that resource in the church.
20:08 So you report that in, you bring that in. The gift of preaching
20:14 is not necessarily the gift of counseling. It's not every
20:17 preacher or every pastor who has that gift. And first of all he
20:21 needs to reconcile it sometimes. People go to a pastor or an
20:26 elder and the counsel they get it would have been better off
20:30 not having any counsel. It's sad but that's the reality. Now
20:33 if you recognize there are hurting people and you should
20:36 if you're a pastor and you're in touch with your community, you
20:40 should know who is hurting. And when that is happening and you
20:43 realize you don't have the resource in there, you borrow
20:47 from somewhere, you invite someone in to come and speak,
20:51 reach and counsel with those people. Because like the
20:55 children of Israel when you are oppressed you're not going to
20:58 be able to serve God in the way that you want to or God wants
21:02 you to. So he has to pull you out of that bondage and take you
21:06 somewhere else and that's what I think pastors and elders and
21:10 leaders of the church should help people, pull them out of
21:13 their oppression, pull them out of their depression. If you
21:17 don't have that, find out where it is. Call a counselor and a
21:20 therapist in to do a seminar, to do a counseling session, to do a
21:24 preaching and bring people together. At least sensitize
21:28 them as to what is available out there in the community, because
21:32 at the end of the day the problem is not going to go away
21:36 just by preaching. You need to heal and cleanse people of their
21:44 defilement. You know, one thing that J.D.
21:48 my husband who's an elder at our church, does have a pastor's
21:52 heart. He goes around Desmond and he can tell you everything
21:57 that's going on in anybody's life at our church and he will
22:02 often before church, before Sabbath School even, between
22:05 church and Sabbath School, I don't know how, but usually
22:08 he'll come up to me before the church service starts and he'll
22:11 say Honey, here's a list of 8 people that we're going to get
22:14 the elders together to pray for afterwards. There's that
22:18 sensitivity of reaching out and knowing when someone's hurting
22:22 and having special prayer because our church service isn't
22:26 just about preaching. I mean we worship in song, we worship in
22:31 the word, we worship in spirit and truth, part of our worship
22:35 is tithes and offerings but there should be that special
22:38 season in prayer for people who need healing.
22:41 Amen. If I came to your house, Shelley, and I said I'm hungry
22:45 and you said wait a minute and you went over and took the phone
22:48 up and call on all the elders and the pastor and said let's
22:51 have a season of prayer for Desmond, he's hungry. When I
22:56 leave your house, I'm still hungry. It's food I want, you
23:01 know. Christ always fed then gave them the spiritual food.
23:06 There is an imbalance that when you do one and not the other
23:11 there is a wobble in the church and we need to fix that wobble
23:16 sooner than later. There's a scripture, I'm not
23:19 sure if I can put my finger on it right now but it's in 1 John
23:24 chapter 3 and he says little children let us love in truth
23:29 and in deed rather than just in word. So what you're saying
23:34 is the embrace, the reaching out and if you did not know how to
23:40 give scriptural counseling, then to help them find a scriptural
23:47 counselor. Counseling is often used just in a crisis to fix a
23:53 broken problem. But if that's all that counseling is it just
23:58 means that it's only concerned with giving the best in a
24:04 troubled situation. Counseling would be so much better if we
24:10 could identify the cues from unfolding crisis and provide the
24:15 tools for people so they can help to fix their own problems.
24:20 Now you're enlarging this. We've been discussing about
24:23 people who are divorced coming into the church but we're kind
24:28 of expanding this now to say the church really needs to be
24:32 sensitive to its members because every family is under attack of
24:36 the enemy. Redemption therapy is not just
24:37 for divorced people. It's for people. Yeah. Even if your
24:43 marriage is a great one, you need to keep it great and
24:49 redemption therapy assists you, helps you to do that, because
24:53 you don't know what lies ahead.
24:54 You know I so agree with you that... I know that as J.D. and
25:00 I have grown in the Lord and we've grown in the word that
25:05 our marriage has just gotten better and better. I used to say
25:09 I didn't think it could get any better, but it just gets better
25:12 and better became Redemption Therapy is all about knowing
25:17 what God has to say, not only about our purpose but about his
25:21 plan for our life and it's using the scripture to help people
25:27 get on the right path and to see God's purpose for their life...
25:32 Life will improve if you rely on God.
25:34 Amen, Amen. Well I bet that your church puts you to good use.
25:40 Have you had instances where people have come into your
25:45 church and since you've started this program now that you've
25:50 see people are being changed?
25:51 Sure. In fact, I'm working with a lady now, she came from
25:56 another church and her husband walked out on her and she's
26:03 going through some trying times. She was advised to quit and
26:10 divorce him. But I made it known from the very outset that if you
26:13 were looking for a divorce I'm the wrong person, you've come to
26:16 the wrong person. That's not what I'm about. I'm here to
26:19 restore, not to destroy. So I'm still working with her.
26:23 It's been difficult because the other person is not responding
26:27 in the way that we would like him to. But I will not write him
26:30 out of the annals of future events because even though his
26:35 steps might be uncertain now, I believe that God can transform
26:39 that life and that's what I work towards, restoration, to redeem.
26:43 That's what Jesus always worked for. Well this is something that
26:47 I hope that in your church if you feel that you identify
26:53 with anything the Dr. Mattocks has pointed out today, I would
26:59 just encourage you to look to God, pray for some solutions and
27:05 think about how you can put new and practical pragmatic programs
27:10 into place to reach out and help others. Desmond it's just been a
27:16 joy. You are a delightful person. Thank you so much for
27:19 joining us. Thank you for having me and I
27:21 enjoyed being here. Well Glory to God. Amen
27:24 So he is the author of a book called Redemption Therapy. He
27:28 lives by that and counsels by inspiration and I hope that
27:33 you've enjoyed the program today I hope that this has been a wake
27:36 up call to many of us to understand how so many people
27:40 are hurting and they need a touch of love that God gives to
27:43 them through us. We are the channels of blessing. May the
27:47 grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of the Father and the
27:50 fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you today and always.
27:54 Thank you.


Revised 2015-03-12