5 Christian Values Found in Psychology
- Love One’s Neighbor as Oneself
- Humble Oneself
- Seek and Grant Forgiveness
- Life Everlasting
- Death and Rebirth
Being Christian in the world of psychology is not always easy. Many psychologists lean towards understandings of human nature that deny or contradict teachings of Christianity. While this poses a challenge, it is not impossible to overcome. In fact, following these five suggestions for incorporation can strengthen both one’s faith and psychological practices.
1. Love One’s Neighbor as Oneself
One of the most powerful values of Christianity is to treat every person with love, patience, and kindness. This is also a central tenet of a good psychologist. In psychological research, one must put ethical treatment of participants above all else. In psychological and psychiatric therapy, one must treat each client or patient with empathy and compassion. In teaching psychological subjects, professors must ensure that each student has an equal opportunity for success.
2. Humble Oneself
Jesus teaches humility through seeking His truth among worldly values and human biases. The same is true in every psychological practice. Researchers must remove their own biases from their search for answers. Even when they find correlations, they cannot prove absolute causation. Similarly, Christians live by faith rather than hard evidence. Christianity teaches what is right from wrong, but allows free will to choose whether or not to follow. So it is with psychological therapists and their clients. Sarah Rainer shared her professional thoughts on this with Christianity Today.
3. Seek and Grant Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a core value of both Christianity and the psychological sciences. Jesus died to grant people eternal forgiveness of their sins. Every individual who seeks psychological therapy must learn to forgive in order to heal. Sometimes they need to forgive themselves for giving into temptations, sometimes they need to forgive others for wrongdoings, and sometimes they need to forgive God for having been dealt a rough hand in life.
4. Life Everlasting
Christians find strength in the face of Earthly challenges, because they believe in the after life. They believe in the reward they will exchange in return for living their best lives according to the Gospel. Whether student or instructor, researcher or participant, therapist or client, people on a psychological journey also need to believe in a redeeming outcome. Understanding the human mind and emotions is a challenging task when approached from any angle. People must believe that something better lies beyond their realm of understanding.
5. Death and Rebirth
The cycle of birth, death, and rebirth lies at the heart of Christianity. It also lies at the heart of most psychological endeavors. Sometimes it means the death of a belief system in order to make way for new knowledge about how human thoughts and emotions interact in an ever changing social environment. Sometimes it means ending old habits to make way for healthier lifestyles. Sometimes it literally means facing the psychological adjustments that come with the death of a loved one or the birth of a new family member.
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When viewed through the lenses of these five Christian values, it turns out that Christianity and Psychology are not so different. Psychologists and Christians both believe in the importance of bringing out the best in people. They both believe in the power of trying one’s best and acknowledging one’s weaknesses. It is not only possible to exist in both worlds; it is most fulfilling when one incorporates them.