Sometimes when we look at the destination we’d love to get to, we can end up demotivated, instead of motivated to keep going bit by bit. Will I be the new Mother Theresa by the end of 2017? Probably not. Could I do just one random act of kindness each week? Absolutely. A small change can have big consequences.
When we read passages like Galatians 5 and try to mentor others to love like Jesus loved, it can feel disempowering as we fall short of that amazing standard of love. In one sense that’s the point: it’s God’s grace which teaches us, and transforms us. Our own striving and any amount of practice will not get us there. However, he commands us to try; we can get close and one day he’ll finish the job in us. Motivated by that grace, we should do our creative best with what God has given us. The aim is not necessarily to love more but to open our hearts more, so that the fruit of the Holy Spirit grows in us and out from us.
What if you ask your mentee if they can love people just one per cent better this year? That sounds doable. It might mean one per cent more time with elderly relatives or one per cent less arguing with siblings? Sounds achievable, doesn’t it?
Draw the outline of a ‘1’ on paper and ask your mentee to write in something they can do to love more. What is the ‘one per cent’ to help cultivate that fruit of love that God is growing in them? Discuss it with them until it is something specific enough that they can do it regularly (every day preferably) but broad enough for them to enjoy the challenge. Make sure it’s achievable and tell them you’ll ask them regularly how it has gone and whether it caused more than one per cent change in them. Don’t be too quick to suggest ideas to them; they need to feel ownership or it won’t happen. Ask your mentee:
- What does 100 per cent look like?
- If you achieved one per cent what would be different in a year’s time?
- How likely are you to succeed in making this one per cent change permanent?
- If you succeed how will you feel? Will it help you to make a second change next month?