Faith Identity Mentoring Helps

When I Remember Not- Part 2-Let Hope Arise!

This is Part 2 of a 2 part article on what can happen when we do not remember God. Last week (Part 1), we took a look at Scott’s story, from his early days of faith in 5th grade, to how he walked away in his young adulthood. Forgetting God leads to despair. But, there is hope! When you least likely expect it, God is there, waiting for your cry for help.

Scott’s Story continues

It was hard enough for Scott to keep his struggle with his sexual identity a secret from his family and church, but being convicted of a DUI broke the floodgates wide open. Scott’s parents were devastated. Embarrassed. Angry. Scott’s home church shunned him. They even considered disciplining his parents for Scott’s actions. Chaos ensued.

Living with the Shame of it All

After spending a night in the county jail, all Scott could think about was hiding, maybe even ending life. Few friends reached out to him. He felt alone. The judge sentenced Scott to community service and court-ordered counseling.  The first counseling session was met with total apprehension and shame. What Scott didn’t know was his counselor, Adam, was a Christian. After the non-sectarian counseling session on sobriety, Adam asked Scott if he could stay a few more minutes. “Scott, everything we discussed about sobriety is true, but I wanted to personally add that what’s going to see you out of this situation is faith in God.”  Scott immediately pushed back. “Look, I may have had faith as a kid, but that was so long ago. God has nothing to do with what’s happened to me. In fact, He could have kept me from all of this, but He didn’t!” Adam jumped in, “Look, Scott, at the core of your identity issues, is a young man who feels lost. Forgotten. Abandoned. God is the very one who can give you an identity that is radically different, better, than what you’ve experienced.”  “I’m trash, nothing more. No one cares, not even my family!” By this time Scott was doing all he could to hold back his tears.

Scott fulfilled his eight weeks of court-ordered counseling and community service. By the end, his heart seemed more pliable. “Adam”, Scott asked, “If I pay you, could we keep meeting?” “Absolutely!”  Conversations included identity, manhood, and purpose in life. They even talked about faith, at Scott’s request. “How’d you like to check out church this weekend?” Adam invited. Surprisingly, Scott accepted. 

Walking Through the Door

Upon arriving, Adam introduced Scott to Phillip, an older man who was known for his heart for mentoring. Scott was intrigued that there were actually people interested in his well-being; wanting him to mature as a man. As time progressed, the three hung out frequently. Breakfast, hiking, coffee, long talks. Scott was observing things about having a relationship with God he never heard growing up. Then, it came. One day, Scott called up Phillip. “Can we meet?” Scott was intrigued by Phillip’s explanation of Jesus’ words about making disciples. 

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28 vs 18-20 ESV

“Mentor me!” Scott asked, almost pleading. “I’ve seen what life is like when I forget God. I need Christ. I can’t live with such desperation any longer. My struggles with my manhood identity since middle school come from wounds I didn’t know how to deal with. I love my dad, but he was never there for me. And, my church meant well, but now I see where what I needed was to be mentored.”  Phillip interjected. “Wounds take time to heal, Scott, but you are right. God is your heavenly Father and in Him, you will find hope.”

The Story Continues

I’m not going to paint a rosy picture for you; that all of a sudden Scott’s problems disappeared the moment he got a mentor. He still faced struggles, but this time there was hope. He saw how letting Christ into the nooks and crannies of his soul was the way to supernaturally change things. He slowly stopped believing lies about himself and took on more of Christ’s view of his identity. His behaviors began to shift because his heart shifted. Porn became far less frequent in his life. In fact, loner Scott learned how to have healthy non-sexual relationships with both men and women. He even started dating again. 

What does this have to do with Psalm 103? 

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,  Psalm 103 vs 1-2 ESV

A lot!  When we forget God at the core of our soul, we find ourselves spiraling out of control. Conversely, when we remember God and all He has done for us, our perspective experiences a paradigm shift. 

who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103 vs 3-5

Let’s be gut-level honest with each other. In all of your pursuits in life, what your soul really wants are the very benefits that come from having a life saturated with the presence of God. You want forgiveness from ALL your stupid choices. You want soul-healing that goes far beyond physical struggles. You want your life pulled from the pit. You know, the dark abyss you sneak off to. And, who else can truly recognize and crown your life with love and mercy than God himself! A soul satisfied with good because you are satisfied with God.

I’ve known many young men who, like Scott have made some choices out of moments when they’ve forgotten God; when they reasoned they could live life apart from God and be OK. You and I both know that is a dead-end path towards destruction. 

Three words of advice for the warrior: 

1. When faced with any choice, ask yourself which will foster a stronger life in Christ?

2. When you find yourself heading down the D-train (disappointment, discouragement, depression, and despair), stop and remind yourself of the benefits of having your identity in God.

3.  Find a mentor. (See link below) Scott’s life turned around when he found an older man who believed and guided him into a deeper walk with Christ. Your manhood will never truly take shape without a mentor.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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