“Band-Aid” Christianity and Viewing People as “Projects”

Posted: January 5, 2012 in Christian Discipleship

In my previous post, I reflected on “Band-Aid” Christianity and how temporary solutions can unfortunately shape Christian identity.  Band-aid solutions to deep rooted problems aren’t going to enable much, if any, transformation.

I’m currently taking a counseling class and we’ve been discussing how often counseling views individuals as “projects.”  “You have problem A, here is solution A.  Try that, hopefully it works.  If it doesn’t, we will try solution B.”  Some Christian counseling even permeates these ideas.  “You have problem A, here is Bible Verse A.  And Bible Verse B too.  Think about those verses.  Pray about them.  Change will soon happen.”

While such examples may be a bit exaggerated, the truth is that these sorts of patterns are common in counseling and in one’s view of God.  People become projects, and even view themselves as “projects” who have to find the right band-aid solutions to get to God.  There are a plethora of insidious problems with this.

First of all, it reduces people to projects and people aren’t projects, they’re people — valuable people made in the image of God.  Because we’re each uniquely crafted in God’s image, God does not view us as His projects.  We’re His created people whom He delights in.  Thus, to dwindle our nature down to projects is a fundamentally flawed view of who we are in God’s sight.  He’s lovingly made us and has divine concern for each of us.  Any view of Him that doesn’t capture this is going to possess major defects.

Secondly, the Bible becomes an encyclopedia when people become projects.  “You’re struggling with anxiety, well then turn here.”  Using the Bible in this sort of way is not only improper, but also harmful.  The Bible is God’s grand story and it’s all connected.  There’s a Creator, Redeemer, and Enemy/Deceiver.  There’s a great deal taking place in Scripture and it has eternal implications.  It’s not a self-help manual.  Moreover, using the Bible like this is harmful because a verse gets thrown in someone’s face.  “Apply this verse and your life will be fixed.”  Life isn’t that easy, and misusing the Bible in this way can end up being more degrading than anything.

(DISCLAIMER: Don’t misunderstand me.  The Bible is foundational in counseling people.  It is changeless truth.  But using it to extract self-help “tips” neglects the holiness of its ongoing story and overlooks the historical contexts of its books.)

The last problem I’ll share is that band-aid Christianity/forms of counseling overlook the pilgrimage of embracing Christian identity.  The Christian life is a long haul.  You cannot get a prescription that fully eliminates struggling with sin while we’re here on earth.  God does enable one to live with power over sin in which growth and change can be seen, but this doesn’t happen quickly nor through slapping band-aids on our problems to stop the bleeding.

True change happens through examining the grandiose picture of who God is.  Life should be seen through the lens of His story, not through self-help manuals that don’t dig at the heart.  Patching up our problems with band-aids is only going to end up being exhausting.  And God won’t even be impressed.  He ultimately longs for broken hearts who cry out for His grace.  Transformation begins with grace and reflects His nature that’s a part of His grand narrative to the world.  I’m seeing the need to not lose sight of this amidst the noise in culture that’s causing us to think otherwise.

  1. julieann06 says:

    Thank you for this, very insightful. I enjoy learning from you and am thankful for the opportunity you have to take these classes!!

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