So, continuing for a moment with this idea of being a “wisdom-giver”, since my last posting I was asked the question, “Can you think of a time when you blew it, and what would you do differently?” Only one example, really?
I was once on the leadership team of a discipleship program. One of the staff members had previously disregarded my advice, and there were instances when he had shown himself to be not only immature but rebellious. His penchant for ignoring advice on the grounds of “I don’t know you well enough” had become “old”, and at times divisive.
An issue arose with him for which I had some real insight and helpful input. I relented. “I’m not going to waste my time with someone who doesn’t want to learn or grow”, so I said nothing. Nothing changed for the individual, and I saw him remain at a stagnant growth phase. I felt no responsibility or remorse; until a few days later I was jogging and the Lord spoke to me about it: “His discipleship is more important than your comfort”. I was humbled. So later I went to the guy and simply apologized and asked his forgiveness because I had avoided him instead of sharing something that may have helped him. While doing that I didn’t share any advice, as that was not the purpose of the conversation, and I didn’t want to risk falling away from repentance into “justification” at that moment. If he wanted to know, he could come back to me later (I have found that at key growth times my life it is important to let it “cost” me something. This helps concrete the lesson: it creates spiritual “muscle memory”).
How to do it differently? I should have approached him earlier from a position of humility and forgiveness, not resentment, or fear of rejection. I had allowed it to become about me. I had allowed myself to take offense, and in doing so missed an opportunity to share (even just a little) wisdom. I have tried to remember since then that it always starts with a heart to help others, not prove myself.
If we are involved in mentoring others, we need to embrace our own “cost” of discipleship, which will always be tested by the price of discipling others.
How deep are your pockets?