By: Marie W.

I used to wonder what the deal was with so called Christians. The behavior some of them displayed would be contrary to the standards they professed to believe. Like the time when a fellow church sister was flat out rude to me in front of everyone, or the time when that church brother had one too many slips of the tongue. In my mind, they should know better. How dare they act that way and wear the banner of Christ! I was angry for Jesus. Though I still feel justified in my feelings at the time, there was something I had not yet realized and come to understand.

As one pastor puts it “We live life on levels and arrive in stages.” What I’ve learned is that even though someone may be saved, they could still be struggling with old habits trying to creep into the new person they have become. In Galatians 6:1 we are reminded: “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” Pointing the finger harshly would be no help. It would probably be more of a turn off. My response should be that of love rather than disgust.

Change is a process and everyone is at a different level in Christ. While some people can stare their old habit in the face and not be moved by it, others have to constantly wrestle and fight. Of course, this is not a license to do whatever, say whatever, and blame it on the process. The truth is, if your heart is in the right place you would always want to please God. But understanding that we struggle with the “new man” dominating the “old man” we once were is a revelation that makes my reaction to these things more compassionate and less judgmental. After all, I’m not exempt from shortcomings, and if I should I fall I would want the same grace from my church brother or sister given to me. God does it for us every time. And if I am a reflection of Him, I should do the same.