Sometimes we don’t realize how much people need to hear from us.
The brilliance of what Ben is doing with mentoring is that he’s affirming individuals that God has placed in his life.
Very few people (at least, in my experience) really do that anymore.
Oh, we want to believe we do. We speak nice and easy words. Have you noticed? We’ve come up with a whole slew of catchy Christian phrases that may be well-intended and may (or may not, depending) be true, but have become so overused and trite that they are simply annoying. You can probably name as many as I can. My personal favorite?–Let go and Let God! (Really? As if God is somehow not in control? As if He ceases to be sovereign when I freak out and try to make things happen my own way? Yeah…it’s not really like that, folks. God is still God, even when I don’t align myself with His will and sovereignty.)
I remember the first time I understood someone as affirming me. I had “left” the Church. I was struggling with God’s name. One afternoon, I was visiting Pastor Gordy in his office, borrowing a book from his library, checking out his old Bibles, and he spoke words I’ll never forget:
“I trust the Holy Spirit with you.”
You want affirmation? That was it for me. It was the recognition that someone else saw that God still had a purpose and a desire for me; that even if *I* screwed up, God was still at work in my life. It didn’t take a sermon. It didn’t take months of talking and analyzing (even though Gordy did allow me to talk and analyze quite a bit). It didn’t take proof. It happened in a single moment. Gordy trusted the Holy Spirit with me. At that moment, even though I would go on to struggle with the same questions for several years, something settled in my own spirit.
Sometimes it is difficult. Sometimes it comes at great personal expense. Sometimes…sometimes there aren’t words strong enough to say what needs to be heard.
And then, sometimes…it doesn’t have anything to do with words. Sometimes it has only to do with the recognition that someone is committed to you. Sometimes it changes your life to know that the person looking into your eyes believes that God has created you to reflect some unique aspect of His character.
This is, in my opinion, what Christianity needs to look like in modern America. We can call it mentoring, if we want; or discipleship; or accountability. Whatever label you want to put on it, I think it is really just…the fellowship of Believers. It’s what we do. It’s who we are.
Or…it should be.
Am I wrong?