So my and Alicia’s kids were swimming the other day. We were on a trip to our old university, MVNU for a contest for our oldest called Blast. I have a pretty broad range of kid ages. Katarina is nearly 13, Ellie just turned 10, and Nikolai will be 3 in August.
That being said, I find it interesting to think about the differences in my kids. I could talk about the differences between the boy and his sisters, but that is really a topic for another time. What I would like to talk about though, is the differences in swimming ability. I know that sounds like an odd topic to discuss, but stay with me.
When my girls were young, Alicia and I went to great lengths to teach them how to swim and it seriously took years for them to actually get good. Which is fine, but it was very slow. These days, Katarina is fearless! She will go down any water slide and swim any depth, she’s a literal fish.
Ellie, she is just starting to really get her sea legs. The slides, pictured above, were not big at all, but those are about at her limit of not being nervous about. Any bigger and she might still be timid about them.
Nikolai though, that kid is fearless with a capita F; to his detriment. He had no idea of when to stop, when not to go, when to pause, no idea. He is clueless and it’s dangerous. He often gets himself flipped over or in over his head and requires rescuing.
So why does any of that matter? Well, it got me thinking about spiritual maturity. My girls took a while to learn how to swim and how to do it properly. Some people are that way with God. They have to take things slow and while they may be “saved”, the transformational side of Christianity is a gradual process. It takes them time to mature as a Christian and to fully embrace the full idea and lifestyle of that spiritual reality.
Notice I still refer to that person as a Christian. That’s because my assumption is that they are because they are saying they are. Someone may not be on the same level as you spiritually. To put it in JRPG terms, you might be at a level 25, while your friend might still be a newbie at a level 3. You may have been saved at the same time, but the maturity level spiritually is different. You can’t expect your friend to come questing with you in a level 25 zone, when they are only level 3.
The thing is, if you point out their lower level, you are not only going to hurt their feelings, and probably your friendship, but that’s not your place. In the midst of life, you can point out Biblical truth, but be patient with those around you and be aware that they may still be working through something you conquered long ago. Along with that, there different areas of expertise as well. Something you might be an expert at, your friend may be a beginner, but also, you are for sure a beginner in many other areas as well.
It will do us all good to be patient with fellow believers and lead each other with grace and understanding. One of my favorite sayings comes from a Zen teaching, it says, “do everything with a beginners mind.” Which basically means, be humble and be patient with others. Good advice for us in dealing with fellow believers.
D. Michl Lowe
2 thoughts on “Swimming into Patience with Other Believers”
Premise is sound in my humble opinion. I would like an explanation of JRPG terms. I’m obviously a 3 here.
Japanese Role Playing Game, JRPG. Basically saying that people are at different levels of their spiritual maturity’s.