I Refer to STEP 9: Humbly ask God to change anything He desires.
I’ve learned what attracts someone to Christ is kindness, mercy, love, and acceptance—not being a judgmental, self-righteous Christian. Isn’t that what drew you to Him—His love and His mercy? If He was merciful to you, shouldn’t you follow suit and be merciful to others? In a world full of condemnation, shouldn’t those who know the Lord practice love and acceptance rather than being so judgmental?
When someone told me God loved me in spite of all my difficulties, my heart melted—and so did my resistance. Wasn’t that your experience as well?
My experience was real when I first believed, but it still required decades for the fruit in my life to be fully developed. As I was developing, there were those who thought I should have matured much sooner. Because I didn’t, they heaped condemnation on me repeatedly. For a while, it seemed like I would never be free of their misanthropy. Unfortunately, Christianity is overflowing with people who are more than willing to be your Holy Spirit, routinely condemning you for behavior they don’t approve of.
That’s where patience and loving one another unconditionally comes in. The Lord has been very patient with me—unlike many Christians. He’s patient with most of His children. It’s because He wants each of us to be everything we’re capable of being and, for some of us, it requires longer than others—occasionally, much longer.
Take a look at Psalm 1. The tree planted by running water yielded its fruit “in its season” and not before. No matter how much an apple is scolded for not ripening sooner, it requires a precise amount of time to be everything it’s meant to be—time measured by God’s clock and not anyone else’s. That’s why we have to be so patient and merciful with our Christian friends. Their fruit may not be ready yet, and there’s no way to make it ready until it is. Green fruit is sour and difficult to digest. Ripened fruit, however, is sweet, nutritious, and satisfying.