Why mentors need attitude checks
Mentoring is never about us. It’s not our skills or our success in getting others to “perform” to our expectations. It’s about pointing others towards God Almighty for all the issues and in all the areas of their lives and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. As mentors, we also need regular attitude checks.
It can be hard to persevere in love at times; to have faith in what God will do and not become discouraged by what we see or hear. Why don’t people become transformed faster? In a world where there is fast food, instant answers on the Internet or a focus on operational efficiency in companies, it is easy to forget that we shouldn’t use the same standards for those we serve.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1. Do it out of love
It may be natural to expect some appreciation for the time and effort we have invested in someone but never mentor someone with an expectation of gratitude in return, we may be very disappointed (on earth but certainly not in heaven). Let us pass on unconditional love from the source of unconditional love.
Luke 6:32-33 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.
1 Corinthians 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
2. Don’t project ourselves, beware our flesh
It is important to be prayerful at all times. Let us first “empty” ourselves before God and ask Him to lead us before each encounter, so we don’t project our own issues and sinful nature on other people.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Don’t limit someone based on our own personal limitations. Be ambitious for God – we could be mentoring someone who will do even greater works for God than we could ever do ourselves. Even Jesus said that His disciples would outdo His work on earth. Identify how to bring out the best of someone based on how God has created him/her.
John 14:12 ESV “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
3. Wait on God’s timing, not ours
Be patient; change doesn’t happen on our timing but God’s. Celebrate the Creator’s creation and don’t limit the horizons for how someone an grow or who he/she can become.
Psalm 138:8 ESV The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
4. Don’t jump to conclusions
Never jump to conclusions, good or bad, about anything but watch out for the truth. Everyone has blind spots or may be deceived by Satan without knowing it. So always be watchful and don’t take everything at face value. If someone says they are ‘doing fine’, ask more probing questions in a friendly way to understand what ‘fine’ means; have they been spending time with God regularly? Are their thoughts healthy and based on God’s truth? Have their attitudes changed and are they experiencing more of God’s love, joy and peace?
5. Beware of pride or our own sinful nature
We all need to watch out for sin in our own lives! Never mentor from a position of superiority. Instead, we should mentor with a heart of humility. Jesus said that the Son of Man came to serve, and so should we.
Mark 10:42-45 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Ensure we remain accountable to other brothers or sisters in Christ. Actively address our own brokenness and find other people to help us through a journey of sin identification and repentance. This should not, however, stop us from mentoring.
6. Make an effort to keep learning
We should not become complacent. There are so many great resources that we can draw on to become better equipped with the knowledge of God’s truth, counselling skills, communications skills, understanding of spiritual warfare and so forth.
Stay in touch with real-world issues so we don’t become ‘disconnected’ from the challenges people face. Find out about the work pressures for various occupations (not just our own), walk pass pubs and bars once in a while and watch how people behave and get lured into sin (but be prudent as we do this), and be aware of the latest entertainment or lifestyle trends etc..
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