Over the weekend my wife and I have been dealing with a teething toddler. Our youngest child did not feel well. He was running a low-grade fever, had very little energy, and did not sleep well for three straight nights. So there have been some sleepy, slightly less rested than normal, parents going through the weekend with four boys, one of which needed a great deal of extra attention.
This morning, it occurred to me that church members are a lot like babies. Now, before you go getting your feelings hurt, think about what I am about to say. Babies have a lot that they go through in those first few years, things that they cannot communicate that have their feelings and emotions going in multiple directions. Sometimes, those emotions change from minute to minute. However, as parents we know that is the way it goes and we expect it. Church members often have the same problems. There are things that are going on in their lives (they may be physical issues, emotional turmoil, or simply the stresses of life). Sometimes those emotions rise up in ways that cause people to respond with various reactions. Sometimes there is crying, sometimes anger, sometimes it is simply sadness or fatigue, and sometimes there is silence because the pain is so deep.
Then there is the other side of the coin. Those times where that child comes running into the room with a big smile on his face saying: “Daddy, look!” Those times when all he wants to do is curl up in the recliner and sit with you. Those hugs, presents given out of the smallest things, and times of laughter and playing you’ll never forget. You see, church members give you those too. When they give you that card, just because they were thinking of you, at a moment you needed it most. When, for no apparent reason, they show you a kindness. When they tell you they love you and show you they care. When they laugh with you and enjoy your company. All of those things should bring the same joy to our hearts and should be recognized for what they are: love.
So what should we do when church members start “acting like babies?” Love them. Comfort them. Encourage them. When those times come (and they will) where they cause you to lose sleep, become frustrated, or troubled: forgive them. Laugh with them, cry with them; show them that you are there for them when they need you and that you want them to come to you when they need help. This is what we do with our children, and while everything is never perfect, they know we love them and care about them.
However, before you spend your time thinking about everyone you know that fits these descriptions, remember that you are a church member too. You have those days, those moments, both good and bad. Likely while you read this thinking of someone else, they are reading it thinking of you. That’s okay, because we are God’s children. Brothers and sisters in the service of his kingdom. While there are times where we will all “act like babies,” we can also love, console, and be there for one another in the same way we would for our own children.
“Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)