"We once had a person who lived in our house who was absolutely unreasonable. She woke us up all night long. If she had to have a glass of water, she woke us up. If she had to go to the bathroom, she woke us up. Anything she needed, she woke us up. But it was easy to forgive her. She was our daughter and she was only six months old. We loved her - we treasured our relationship with her so very much that her demanding lifestyle was a point of joy in our relationship. All we had to do was consider her maturity level."
We show our babies so much grace. They scream their heads off in church. That's OK. They poop while sitting on the couch. That's OK. They don't even consider making their own beds. That's OK. They decide they're thirsty and need a bottle immediately, unable to wait ten minutes. That's OK. They grab at my hair and pull it. That's OK.
Once they age a few years, our expectations for our toddlers are much different. We expect them be quiet and still during church. To use the toilet. To clean up after themselves. To be patient and wait for dinner. To know boundaries and not pull hair.
Such distinctions are easy to make.
If only we could make the same disticntions between baby Christians and mature Christians. Or, another group: non-Christians.
I am constantly appalled at the behavior of some of the people I meet. But, I have to remind myself that they are non-Christians. I expect them to behave like a mature Christian. Yet, some of our colleagues, relatives, and friends, aren't even Christians. So, we need to show them grace. Of course we need to share the Gospel also. But, judging them by a standard they cannot meet at that point is not fair. Nor is it loving.
This post is inspired by the book Into the Depths of God by Calvin Miller.