The son of King George V, Prince Albert, or Bertie as family members called him, had a stammer so severe he could barely string two sentences together. The King enlisted the services of the best speech therapists money could muster to help the Prince overcome his stuttering tongue. The experts of the early 20th century assumed the problem was “mechanical” so they tried to help the patient increase control of his diaphragm, relax his vocal chords, and strengthen his tongue and lips. But nothing alleviated the condition. One day Lionel Logue was given an opportunity to try.
Logue, who hailed from Australia, was hired early in 1926. A few weeks later Prince Albert was able to say, without the slightest stutter, a number of tongue twisters and a few months later he was able to deliver a speech in Parliament and eventually, after ascending to the throne in 1936, with his new title, King George VI, he spoke to his entire kingdom on the radio with no stammer in his voice. The results were astonishing.
What helped the prince change? Logue ruled out all mechanical factors with a simple test that was then considered unorthodox but is today widely used in speech diagnostics.
Logue put earphones on the prince and pumped loud opera music into his ears so that he couldn’t hear himself talk. He then recorded the prince flawlessly reading passages from Hamlet. The prince, convinced he had been stammering, refused to believe Logue until he heard the recording played back to him. There was nothing at all wrong with his larynx or vocal chords, nor his breathing, or diaphragm control.
Prince Albert had a problem with his thinking.
Once Logue ruled out mechanical failure, he could focus on the patient’s thinking, which eventually resolved the physical symptoms entirely.
And that is a similar lesson we learn from Micah 2.
HOW TO HELP PEOPLE CHANGE: MICAH’S EXEMPLARY COUNSELING SESSON
Micah prophesied doom and gloom, so his was not a popular message. But Judah had a debilitating spiritual condition, and it was Micah’s job to diagnose it and supply the cure. Let’s see what we can learn from his methods.
To help people change give them…
1. The Diagnosis: Call Sin “Sin”
Micah 2:1-2 Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil on their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them away; they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.
Judah’s society was flourishing, but its practices were worldly, against God’s law, and lacking the compassion and morality God demanded of his people. This was a wicked nation. And they needed someone to point this out to them.
Enter Micah. The man who calls a spade a spade.
He knew that for Judah to change he had to call the people’s behavior and attitudes by their biblical names. Too often today people re-label, redefine, and repackage their behavior so that it doesn’t sound like sin but rather can pass as a disease or inherited personality trait.
Micah called Judah’s sin what it was. Notice the words he uses: wickedness, evil, covet, oppress.
Paul also calls sin for what it is: 2 Tim 3:2-3 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,
No covering up, no euphemisms, no blaming of others. This is where change starts.
2. The Prognosis: Show Them The Consequences
Micah 2:3Therefore thus says the Lord: behold, against this family I am devising disaster, from which you cannot remove your necks, and you shall not walk haughtily, for it will be a time of disaster.
Judah had to be warned that their evil ways would bring consequences. Consequences are a blessing from God because they help us avoid the temptation to sin.
You might help someone to desire change and to repent of their sin when you make them fear its consequences.
Encourage the sinner to meditate on the consequences of their sin, to imagine the loss of their wife or husband, losing their children, their ministry, their job, the shame that they will bring on their family and church when their sin is revealed… and help people see that sin is deceitful and will ruin their lives.
3. The Symptoms: Point Out Their Stubbornness
Micah 2:6, 11“Do not preach”—thus they preach— “one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us.” …If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,” he would be the preacher for this people!
People are stubborn. Judah was wicked and Micah was pointing this out to them, but they did not want to hear it. People do not want to hear about sin and judgment. They want someone who will reinforce their sin, excuse it, make them feel good. This just proves they are infected with the disease of sin.
A symptom of loving your sin is that you hate being confronted on it.
When you counsel someone you need to anticipate this. They will most likely react badly. So show them that their reaction is a symptom of their sin.
2 Tim 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
4. The Cure: Give Them God
Micah 2:12-13 I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob; I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men. He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king passes on before them, the Lord at their head.
God promises judgment, but also restoration, because God has a promise to keep. He promised Abraham, and then David, that this nation would occupy the full land of Israel, which had not yet been done.
But Judah would not listen to God. So how could it be restored?
God had to take the initiative.
God had to change their desires and he did this by gathering a remnant and sending some to open the breach – his own son Jesus.
And when a person has a problem of sin from which they need saving, you can give them hope and confidence because it is not up to them to make the first move—it is up to Jesus.
And he made that move already…he lived the perfect life, he died, he bore God’s wrath for their sin.
Rom 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
If you are counseling someone you need to give them God. He is the only cure. He needs to reach out and change their hearts.