Gospel Mentoring: Part Three – Giving Gospel Trust
With little kids, you learn that you have to incrementally give them more and more trust–often before they’re ready for it. If you wait until they’re ‘ready’ for what you have to give or what you’re hoping to get, then you’ll be waiting forever. When you extend trust and expect it in relationship, there will definitely be let downs and failures. With those, however, there will be opportunity for the Gospel to be surfaced over and over again in your home and for the kind of deeper growth that doesn’t come through managed expectations and guaranteed wins of performance.
The Gospel provides the same kind of stretching trust for us with God. We are asked to trust Him and, while He will never fail us (Ps.136), He will often provide in ways contrary to what we think is best with our limited perspective (Eph.3:20). When He asks us to be faithful to a call on our lives, we will often fail as well (Rom.7:21). The process of repeatedly coming back to God (repenting, reestablishing trust, and commitment) is by design (Rev.2:5). Israel never learned this lesson, even though the law was designed for this very reason (Gal.3:24). They made more and more rules to work harder at establishing the kind of behavior that wouldn’t require God to come to them in hopes that they would get to God on their own.
The truth of the Gospel is that we don’t get to God; He has already gotten to us. The way God extended the call in our lives to be faithful, trusted and trustworthy, we can apply to mentoring relationships. When we aren’t desperately trying to prove ourselves to God but rather trusting His work on our behalf, we can extend greater trust to others. Even if they fail us, our anchor is in Christ, not them.
Gospel mentoring relationships are trustworthy relationships because both people know they are extending trust to a broken person who will fail them. They also know that Jesus is bigger than any specific difficult issue. He will even use failures to grow and stretch both people. Trust becomes dangerous when the Gospel is not a part of it. We tend to trust as long as we feel that trust hasn’t been violated. Once it is, we abandon the relationship and give no room for Gospel-driven heart change or new life in the Gospel through relationship. When this is the standard of our trust for other broken humans, we set ourselves up to be repeatedly disappointed and continually cycling through relationships until we, once again, confirm that all mankind is flawed and needs Jesus.
When I can trust and extend trust in being honest and expressing how I’m really feeling or what I’m really going through (even if it’s messy), then the relationship has a chance to make an actual difference. When it’s bigger than my mentor or I can handle, we lean into the Gospel because we have no choice but to go to God with it and trust Him for the immediate peace and eventual solution that He has already prepared for the situation.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- What difference does it make when you feel trusted by someone else?
- What are some ways you feel trusted and safe to be open and honest with others?
- What are some things that close you off to being open and sharing?
- How can the Gospel empower you to lower your walls and extend trust to someone else in a mentoring relationship?