Sometimes we think once we reach a point in our life that we move beyond the childish years and instead are immediately propelled into adulthood. Truthfully, there could not be anything worse for our understandings of the mind. We may reach a certain age and have experienced similar situations, but an age does not represent an adult.
Throughout the Bible, Christians are called children of God and this is a great and honorable namesake that we ought to be proud of, but it also hinders our growth. We think we have it all together when we do not. We think we are unblemished representations of Christ, when we are really fragments of our Savior.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 4:
19 My children, I am again suffering labor pains for you until Christ is formed in you. 20 I would like to be with you right now and change my tone of voice, because I don’t know what to do about you.” Galatians 4:19-20, HCSB
I think there is a wealth of information contained in the words of Paul. He mentions that he is again suffering with labor pains. Do we actively intercede on the behalf of those around us who do not consider themselves to be Christian? Do we not only share the Gospel with them, but do we disciple them after they have given their lives to Christ? Surely we have lost the way somewhere. If we were actively sharing our faith surely we would see more converts. If we were to truly disciple the converts surely we would see a changed society. Paul is willing to wrestle with the changing Christian until Christ is seen in them. Are we willing to devote years to showing someone what it means to follow Christ?
He also apparently has a tone that he would prefer not to have. Now, without reading too much into Scripture, I believe that he has that tone. Yes, the one of a parent who is scolding their teen for driving too fast. It seems like every parent has a tone that they can get when it is necessary to correct their children, but they can also turn it off. For Paul to wish to change his tone must mean that he did not like using the words he was using, but he understood the importance of it. I try to be a Christian that is not condemning of others, but instead offering grace. However, I recognize that sometimes you have to be willing to say things you would rather not, but someone is slipping down a slippery slope. We have to know the root of the situation and which tone to take.
What about you? Have you ever met someone who committed their life to making disciples? Or, what about their tone? Have you met people who are quick to condemn and never extend an offer of grace?