At the heart of our purpose lies relationship: what is an abundant life without having a fulfilled relationship with our self and others.
At the core of each of the worlds main religions lies the sanctity of relationship: with ourselves, with our families, with others, with our God and with the environment.
At the heart of counselling lies relationship: who we are especially with ourselves and so with others.


This is a series of Blogs looking at traditional teaching and passages taken from the spiritual text with which I am most familiar, the Christian Bible, and looking at it through the lens of relationship. Sometimes this will be initiated from a therapeutic relational perspective and sometimes from the basis of a spiritual text.

I shall be making some suggestions for a re-interpretation of the traditional teachings of the Christian tradition. These are purely suggestions and observations: promptings for further thought. Perhaps these observations of mine will not have occurred to you before or may create a different perspective. One thing that I want to pre-empt is that there is no intent to suggest that what I write is either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but simply an opportunity to be prompted and to reflect.

Why? Why have I have been prompted to write? Not only am I a counsellor and psychotherapist but also someone who has explored the bible independently.

Why did I feel a need to do that? I had been a church goer all my life attending both traditional and more extreme congregations. My experience of the teaching and sermons was poor and unedifying. Answers, interpretations and applications to life were misleading, incomprehensible, subjective, self-serving and in some cases downright abusive. The churches interpretation and teaching of their spiritual text, the bible, was impossible to reconcile with their espousal of a loving God.


It is easy to conceptualise God as a relational God on the basis that as a loving God this must embrace a God who is relational. However, how do we reconcile this with all the problems of this ‘fallen’ world?

Whether or not you believe in God is not necessarily relevant to these deliberations in that they are as much philosophical (philosophy being a first cousin to Counselling and Psychotherapy) as spiritual and psychological. What may be helpful is to assume for these purposes that there may be a God and work through the discussions on that premise. This is important in terms of our conceptual starting point, namely: where did all this, our universe, world, life-forms, start. It is difficult for me to conceive that there was a nothing before anything and if there was something before anything then it must (or’ could’ to the doubters) have been a God’ or ‘God-like’ presence.

And, if that were the case and God is a relational God then why would God not create something with which to relate? I need to ask you to suspend again pre-conceptions on God in terms of whether God exists and the nature of God because to a large degree in order to make sense of spiritual texts there are some elements which defy ordinary knowledge that we need to accept and this includes the concept of God being ‘The alpha and the omega – the beginning and the end of time’. In this sense we are foreknown. However we are also made with free-will. We can make our choices but God, unfathomable and all knowing, will know the outcome and echoes of all our choices whichever ones we make.

All this therefore implies that we have eternal choice within our lives to make decisions which are both good and bad whether for ourselves or for others. We are capable of great things and horribly bad things. This is fundamental to the understanding of relationship. Relationship exists in difference: if we were all the same it would not be possible to be in a relationship. In the same way therefore relationship exists in the actuality and potentiality of the difference represented, for example, by good and bad. These are relative and subjective concepts that enable relationships to be formed and to exist. For God to be able to relate there would have been no point in creating a perfect world and in this imperfect world we have the opportunity to exist in relationship with ourselves and others and with God and God with us. Being created in Gods image is to be relational. The teaching tends to be literal on this point but, as with so much of spiritual texts, there are alternative interpretations of far greater depth and meaning than the superficial.


David Sherborn-Hoare is a psychotherapist, spiritual philosopher and writer. He lives in England.