This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
God holds us responsible for the way we judge a young [Christian] life; if we judge it by the standards by which we would judge a mature life, we will be grossly unjust. … Be as merciless as God can make you towards the vices of a mature life, but be very gentle and patient with the defects of a growing life.
From Biblical Ethics
It’s a delicate balance that requires true discernment from the Holy Spirit. The ‘defects’ that we see in those who are new in the Christian walk need gentle correction, but the ‘vices’ of those who should know better by now need to be dealt with forcefully.
I see both the gentle and forceful in Paul’s words to the Corinthian church:
Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)
My prayer: God, help me to be perfectly balanced and directed by You. I don’t want to be too forceful with the young, nor too gentle with the mature. I want to see everyone growing in their relationship with You.