When I was a young boy I had a problem that I am embarrassed to admit. I was a bed-wetter. I know this is not the usual subject for the blog world but there is an important application to this confessional. It was a chronic problem that could not be easily fixed. A child who is a bed-wetter struggles with feelings of inferiority because every time he “goes” in the bed ,it upsets the parents. I understand that cleaning sheets and mattresses is no fun but there needs to be more grace for bed-wetters.
When I was around 10 or 11, I finally conquered the bed-wetting. It was a victory that was won only because fear was struck in my heart. I know all Grandmas are supposed to be sweet and nice, but on this occasion my Grandmother had enough of cleaning the sheets. She took me into the room where I slept and pulled back the sheets to show me the plastic mattress cover underneath. The words she spoke to me will forever be etched on my heart, “Danny, this is a special mattress pad, if you wet the bed again it will catch on fire.” How traumatic for the bed-wetter! How unjust to put a flammable mattress cover that would ignite with a single drop! My Grandma was serious. She knew it wouldn’t catch on fire, but I didn’t. Sweet Grandma had run out of grace.
Going to sleep was tough that night. I didn’t drink anything after six just to be on the safe side. Guess what? I did not wet the bed again. Ever! I still have fear when I drink too late:)
In life, there are many people who are believers who fall into temptation’s way. They may stay on the right path for a while but then all of a sudden they fall back. They cave in and sin against God. What is our reaction to these children of God? Is it to drive them out of fear or out of grace? Often our approach to those that falter is a message of condemnation. Giving them the “truth” to make them not want to do it again. Hell is real! Habitual sin will lead you down the path to Hell, but should our approach be to condemn them or lead them back to grace? We never need to shy away from the reality of judgment but we do need to be careful that we do not paint a hopeless picture.
The truth is, many people sin and feel ashamed enough in their sin. They do not need our damning judgment but our loving persuasion to follow in the ways of the Lord. Many people have given up hope on serving the Lord because they never felt like they could be “good enough” to keep up the standard. Our challenge as a child of God is to point people to the grace that will help them to live holy. If they are a chronic sinner, it may be necessary to use the “mattress pad that will catch on fire” approach but sometimes simply loving them in grace will help them keep the right path.