A messy, but true, test of maturity.

It was quite a day. Cold and rainy outside meant the family would be stuck inside for the whole day with nothing to do.

Close quarters is fine if you’ve got some sort of entertainment to help pass the time. Unless, of course, you’re so bored nothing sounds like fun.

So there we were, all six of us sitting around the living room, waiting for the weather to change so life could begin again.

An all too familiar smell suddenly filled the room, stinging our eyes and noses with a terribly foul and rancid odor.

We were no longer bored. We now had something to get our minds off the rain.

“BJ! Did you mess your pants, or are you just trying to kill us?” The family spokesperson loves to get to the bottom of things.

“Why couldn’t you at least have given us some kind of warning? Like maybe saying, ‘I’m going to die now'”?

I, too, felt like chiming in but didn’t, for two reasons. One, I was too busy holding my nose and mouth shut, and, two, BJ was the baby of the family.

He was only 1 year old. And yes, he had messed his pants.

Thinking of this little scenario reminds me of how we in the church can be toward our brother or sister in Christ who has difficulties with life and can’t seem to go very long without messing all over themselves.

We like to consider ourselves as the mature ones who can “rightly divide the word of truth”.

But a true test of maturity is how we handle messy situations. Do we ignore our brother or sister, make fun of them, push them down with our words, or do we get our hands dirty helping them get cleaned up?

We want to see people born again, which means they become baby Christians. But then all too often, we expect them to be full grown the next time we see them at church.

Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

If there are to be babies in the family, we probably should expect the room to smell at times. Let’s not be put out because our day was ruined, but rather let’s find a way to help them out of the mess they find themselves in.

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1 ESV)