I read a heartbreaking story sometime ago. A young man had gone to his doctor for a medical consultation. During the appointment, he became overwhelmed with emotions and broke down crying in the doctor’s office.
He then confided in the doctor that his job working away from home was having a serious impact on his marriage and family life. He was afraid he was about to lose his wife and child.
The doctor was very understanding. He did his best to calm his patient and then wrote him a referral for counselling services at a nearby hospital.
Great and caring doctor right?
Hmm…Well, wait until you hear what this caring doctor did next. As soon as the patient left his office, the doctor went and got his wife’s phone number from medical records.
Then he began trying to woo her by sending flirtatious texts. He went after this woman, who was very vulnerable because of the crisis that had enveloped her marriage. He gained her trust and persistently made inappropriate requests and sexual advances until she succumbed.
The husband eventually found out and reported the doctor to the General Medical Council. But more worrying is the damage that had been done to his marriage.
While most of us will not entrust the most intimate details of our relationships to a doctor. But how many times do we share the struggles we’re experiencing in our marriage, career, with our children with anyone that’s willing to listen?
For some people it’s because they want to “tell it as it is.” For others it’s because they are genuinely looking for help.
But there are a few problems with sharing our life’s struggles WITHOUT DISCRETION:
Firstly, no matter how close you think you are to someone, you may not really know their heart towards you. Only God knows the intimate details of our hearts.
So, if you share your problems and intimate details indiscriminately, you may be creating multiple opportunities for people to stab you in the back!
Secondly, even the people that love you the most can and do get it wrong sometimes. Most likely, they will advise you based on their own experiences and limited knowledge, which might not be the right path for you at that time.
Their love and concern for you may cloud their judgment and be the reason they send you down the wrong path. For example, Naomi was absolutely convinced she was helping Ruth when she advised her to return to her own people!
Of course, that doesn’t mean we should be completely silent and never actively try to find help. That too has its disadvantages.
But it is much safer and wiser to prayerfully find one person (or a few people) that you can trust to act as your mentor and guide you in that area of challenge.
Here are a few qualities you should look out for if you’re looking for who to trust as a mentor:
- They have walked where you are walking now and have come out victorious.
- They elevate God’s word above feelings or worldly counsel, and are not afraid to tell it to you as it is.
- Their own life is a good and godly example of the life you desire. In other words, they’ve achieved what you want to achieve. Someone once said, “Never take advice from someone you would never trade places with.” I’m very much inclined to agree with that.
So please choose wisely!