He was such a cute baby. His skin is so soft and his eyes so round and innocent. She loved him with all her heart. He cried when he was hungry or when he soiled his diapers. In all of this, she loved him and cared for him. She would feed him tenderly and just as tenderly change the dirty diapers.
As he grew a little older, he became more mobile and began to pull himself up on things. Unfortunately, he pulled himself up on her Mother’s antique table and because it was a bit unstable, it fell over and a cherished Hummel figurine shattered. He sat on the floor and wailed. She ran to him, picked him up and comforted him. She regretted having lost the items, but his welfare was more important than the pieces of history.
Soon he was toddler and full of fun and mischief. She couldn’t be everywhere at once and it seemed like he could find things and was truly ‘destructo’ in motion. Sometimes she would scold him or even give him a swat on his well-padded behind, but most often, she would just laugh. He was her own precious child after all.
The pre-teen years came and things settled down somewhat. He had become interested in learning and was always will to help her as she worked around the house. He went fishing with his dad and spent time with his grandparents. He loved Sunday School. Everyone doted on him. When he would get into trouble, he was so sad that he had done something wrong, that it was hard to punish him. She just continued to love him and cover his mistakes with love and encouragement.
As time went on, he became a teenager and suddenly, things seemed to change. He began to sass her and thought he knew more than she and his Dad. It was a difficult time for the family.
One night the police came to the door, her knees buckled in fear that he was hurt or worse. Was he okay? The officer explained that he had been with two other boys and they had decided it would be fun to try shoplifting. Her heart broke. The policeman brought her precious boy in and they all sat down and talked. She knew this was serious and that it needed her to respond in just the right way. After the policeman and her husband had their say, she looked him in the eyes and said, “You know how much we love you and that we always cover you, but when you step outside of the family and do your own thing, you will find that we will still love you – always love you – but you will have removed yourself from our ability to cover your mistakes. You will have placed yourself under another authority over which we have no control. The next time you make a decision to break the laws of the world, there will be consequences. This nice officer has given you another chance. We pray you will remember the grace that has been extended to you this day.”
Having survived the crisis, he grew into a young man, left home and entered college. He encountered many new freedoms and many opportunities to choose wisely or to do just what felt good. His high school lesson with shoplifting was one he had not forgotten. His parents’ love of God had done its work and he began to go to church on his own. There he found a sparkling brown-eyed girl with blond hair. He was immediately taken by her sweetness and kind way. Upon graduation, they married and soon, they had their own baby. And the cycle began again.
Christians lead others to the Lord. The new Christian is essentially a baby although he may be twenty years older than we are. We must take care that our expectations are realistic. We must not forget that there are stages to the Christian life just as there are stages to our natural lives. That baby needs to be loved and the errors that he makes in effect fill up his ‘dirty diapers’ which need to be changed and he needs to be covered again with a blanket of love. As he matures and the mistakes continue, we can choose love or condemnation. When we choose to condemn him for his actions, we have joined demonic forces called the ‘accuser of the brethren.’ Everyone knows what is wrong in their lives. They need to be encouraged. The Lord will lovingly correct him. If we do it, he will feel hopeless and won’t understand why he isn’t more like you. This is why a period of discipleship training is important. It is to be done with love. When he messes up, tenderly restore him taking care that you don’t join in his error.
This life as children of God requires the same love and encouragement tenderly given by parents and authorities give to natural children.
We need to remember that we ourselves are somewhere in this continuum and to be kind to ourselves when we err. We need to remind ourselves that ‘love covers a multitude of sins.’
There is NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Condemnation and deception are the only tools that the devil has in his tool box. Sin was forgiven and we were released from its hold when we asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. Don’t be quick to judge or condemn, but be quick to cover lavishly with grace. We are promised that the work God has done in us will be completed. Rejoice!
Will you share the love and grace of God with someone today?
- Love is All You Need (pouredoutforchrist.com)