I was having a conversation with a protege some years back and he shared a priceless lesson with me. He told me it was better to give counsel only to people with whom I have defined relationships. 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 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 canon 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.

When you come into people’s spaces, be sensitive to how much permission they have granted you. It is simply wisdom. Do not begin to stretch beyond what access you have been given. It would be strange for your colleague to visit your home for the first time and head straight to your Daddy’s room because he wants to greet him. That would be passing boundaries. 

God asked Balaam the prophet a simple question to reset his mind but he did not wake up to it: “Who are these men travelling with you?” 

It is important to be certain about how much access you have been given before you get disappointed when you are told that you are passing your boundaries. 

I learned a major lesson once as a Pastor. I was giving pastoral counsel and instruction to someone in church who 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 of a brother from someone who is an accomplice. 

If you are in ministry, do not hastily put the stamp of sonship 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 people who will seek your counsel to confirm their bias not because they want to learn. Do not force yourself on them. Listen to them and wish them well. Pray for wisdom and understanding for them also. 

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. You must define your place in people’s lives so that you are not living in a self-appointed palace of self-glory. 

temilOluwa Ola, Eruwa.

There is love in sharing

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