Man was created to participate in beauty and not just to be an observer. A lack of beauty rarely comes to mind when dealing with personal problems but when other approaches with your disciple have failed an absence of beauty should be considered.
There is beauty in belonging to others of which the Psalmist writes in Psalm 133: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” To paraphrase, being united to others is a beautiful thing.
This beauty flows from the eternal love between the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. God designed man to enter into this beauty by being connected to Him and His other children. But sin in the Garden of Eden brought shame and a separation between God and mankind and man with one another, which resulted in ugliness.
A relational breach demoralizes and creates a void of beauty in a person which will compel him to desperately seek out perverted and distorted forms of beauty to compensate for this vacuum. This search will lead him to self-destructive attitudes and behaviors such as pornography, flirtation, sex, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, materialism, etc.
Your disciple will become confused and frustrated over the contradiction of this behavior. He desires to love, belong, and please the Lord and he is aware that his behavior is sinful and self-destructive but he continues it anyway and he does not understand why. He soon discovers that his self-determination and self-control cannot compensate for this void of beauty.
The nature of God moved Him to restore man’s relationship to Him and mankind’s relationship with one another through the death of Jesus. So once where there was sin, shame, hatred, and discord there now can be the beauty of unity and peace. Although the story of relational restoration through the gospel is familiar to your disciple the implementation of this reality may prove difficult. A large part of the disciplining process is helping your disciple understand the beauty of how he is restored to God and how he can now be connected to others.
- Only make disciples in the context of community. It is in community that they will experience the beauty of belonging and how to love others.
- As a community discuss how the group can help each member understand how he or she belongs to the Lord and to the others in the group.
- Communicate regularly to your disciple how he belongs to his heavenly Father and also to the others in the community. (e.g. Tell him what you have heard from others in what ways they appreciate him.)