I was having a conversation with a protege some years back and he shared a priceless lesson with me. He told me that it was better to give counsel only to people that I have defined relationships with. He mentioned that giving counsel to people who do not care is a waste of time.
My Pastor told some set of protégés once that his first rule of mentoring is, “I do not waste my time on people who do not care about their own lives”.
Beloved, do not be pressured to share a counsel with everyone. Jesus spoke to the crowd in parables but he gave explanations to the disciples whenever they come to ask for clarity.
The weight people attach to your counsel is the same weight that they attach to you. One way to be free from offence is to define the relationships you have with people. It will help you to stay within your boundaries.
Let no one stay in your circle that you cannot define exactly who they are to you- Teacher, Friend, Brother, Protégé, Son, Colleague, Husband, Wife, Pastor and so on. A loose cannon will become a wrecking ball. Look at the people in your life today and ask, “Who is he or she to me?” It saves you a lot of emotional stress.
I learnt a major lesson once as Pastor. I was giving pastoral counsel and instruction to someone who is in church and he did not heed the counsel. I went back to the basics by asking, “Am I your Pastor?” He told me that he sees me as a brother. The fact that I preach to you every Sunday must not make me assume I am your pastor. I withdrew my counsel honourably afterwards.
Even Jesus asked his disciples two questions: Who do people say I am? Who do you say I am? (Matthew 16:13-20) Do not dignify a stranger with access. Do not reward people equally. Define your relationships. Do not expect the contribution from a brother from someone who is an accomplice.
If you are in ministry, do not put the stamp of sonship hastily on anyone.
You don’t even pastor everyone in your church.
My Pastor would always say, “I know I don’t pastor everyone in this church. I would not deceive myself”. The fact that he attends every ceremony in your family does not make him a son.
There are questions that only a friend can ask. There are questions that your Pastor can ask. There are questions your siblings can ask. Do not set yourself up for disappointment. Define relationships. There is no need for sentiments.
As a pastor, there are times people want to put you on the spot, send them back to their pastors. Do not carry a burden that is not yours.
There are instructions that a Father can give. A father must not use suggestion when he is meant to command. He must not use a command when he is meant to suggest. It is important that you define your place in people’s lives so that you are not living in a self-appointed palace of self-glory.
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