Some time ago I had the opportunity to spend time mentoring a young girl who was struggling with some serious issues in her life. Soon after we began meeting for discipleship, I realized I was way over my head on this one. This girl was struggling with issues I was not familiar with and I had nothing I could relate to her with. I immediately thought I needed to pass her along to someone with more experience in the areas of her needs, you know, someone who’s been there and done that. But such a person at the time proved hard to find. I began to pray and think hard about ways I could get out of my commitment. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help her; I just honestly didn’t know how.
While praying, I began to seek the Scriptures for guidance and it dawned on me that the one thing that always works is the Word of God. I then began to seek out Scriptures related to the struggles this girl was facing. I found such comfort in knowing that even though the Bible may not specifically talk about issues like drug addictions, suicidal thoughts, or mental issues, among others, it does have a lot to say about hope. That is the angle I used. I began to quote many Scriptures on hope and together we went through a time of learning what God has to say about our struggles. It was a great time of discovery for her and for me as well.
I share that story to say that you will encounter people who will look to you for help–be it emotional support, prayer, discipleship, or mentoring. People are hurting and they need good role models. I used to think that I needed to be a professional when it came to certain addictions and human behaviors in order to help people struggling with related issues. However, I have learned that as long as I take them to the Word, I have all the tools I need.
I do not mean to say that we should counsel bipolar disorders or people with any other type of serious disorders without the proper education, license and expertise. I’m talking about people who come to you needing mentoring or discipleship, bringing their emotional baggage with them. Sometimes what they bring may seem a bit too complicated for you. Understand that there are certain limitations to what we can do, but never dismiss the power of giving them the Word of God. You can refer them to a professional if the situation is beyond your capability to handle, but you can also introduce them to the Word of God. Something amazing happens whenever the Word of God is applied to any situation. It comes alive!
There is a great resource online called the Bible Gateway. I use it all the time for study purposes (go to www.biblegateway.com .) It is a search engine for Bible verses in many languages and versions, where you can look for verses by topic, reference or book. It is a great study tool and a great resource when you need to find a quick Scripture for a meeting, a sermon, etc..
I leave you with these verses from the Scriptures to encourage you as you mentor others with the Word:
1 Corinthians 2:13 (New International Version): This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
Colossians 3:16 (New International Version): Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.