A couple of weeks ago, two of our dearest friends, Aaron and Cory Lynne Myers, drove in with their girls, Elli Kate and Ana Beth, to watch our oldest graduate from high school. Their presence was a special gift, and it made my heart happy to see them seated happily alongside family members, right where they belong. These two came on the scene when Hunter still slept on Toy Story bedding, you see, and they have played a big part in his becoming the tender-hearted, Jesus-chasing young man that he is today.
After commencement, our families went to Zio’s in Bricktown to eat high-calorie foods and catch up. While we waited for a table, we ventured down the steep steps to the Riverwalk. Because our kids are old enough to walk without help, the Sanders family followed theirs, and it gave me a lot of joy to watch Aaron and Cory with the girls. All smiles, they were patient and loving.
Walking slowly so that Elli Kate could navigate the steps herself without falling, Aaron and Cory made a sincere effort to experience their surroundings from their daughters’ perspectives. Following Elli Kate’s curious gaze and pointing finger, Cory Lynne expressed wonder at every discovery as if she, too, were seeing the ducks and flowers for the first time. Aaron, a man’s man, hugged his youngest up cheek to cheek and whispered with excitement, “Look! A boat!”
Ana Beth’s soft gasp and wide-eyed response melted my heart.
I blinked back tears for a few moments.
Then I got to thinking about what it means to be a parent, not a biological parent, but a spiritual parent. We evangelicals have been accused in the past of winning souls and then leaving our spiritual babies out on the rocks to die like the Spartans did. Though I tend to agree on some levels, I think that particular metaphor is a little extreme.
We are not mean, lazy, or apathetic. We truly want to help new believers grow. Many of us just don’t know how.
Perhaps eager to impress our new brothers and sisters in Christ, we give them big bites of meat to chew before they’re ready, sometimes before we’ve even figured out how to swallow and digest it
ourselves. Siblings excited at the prospect of a new playmate and running buddy, we prop them up and expect them to walk before they’ve even had a chance to crawl.
We forget what it’s like to be baby Christians, to crave—to need—spiritual milk and take our first tentative steps of faith. Maybe we need to slow down like Aaron and Cory did and make a sincere effort to see things with fresh perspective. Maybe it’s time to throw off pretense and point out the simple wonders of this life we have in Christ.
“God is your Daddy now, and He loves you more than you can imagine!”
“You are forgiven! Your heart is clean.”
“You’re free! You don’t have to sin anymore.”
“You have a purpose!”
“You don’t have to be afraid!”
What would you add?
Remember, when we teach, we learn, too, and there’s no shame in being brand new.