For a while I had it under control—I had begun to jog 30 miles a week, and the weight melted off—thirty pounds in 6 months and though a few pounds came back on when I started eating like a human being again and had to cut it down to 20 miles a week due to an increasing load in the studio, I settled into a comfortable weight that stayed that way until my feet gave out on me and two surgeries made jogging impossible. When I could no longer maintain the new lifestyle, the weight came back on.
And isn’t that the reason we lose new converts? Instead of carefully maintaining our contact with them, teaching them, encouraging them, spending time with them one on one and in small groups as well as expecting them to attend the services, we think we’ve “got them” and do nothing. Especially if these folks have come from a background completely alien to “church,” they will need constant help maintaining their faith. They will need brothers and sisters to help them change their lifestyles just like I had to find the time for jogging and keep a strict diet too if I were going to maintain my weight loss. Once I went back, even a little, to the old lifestyle, the weight came back on, and once they go back to their lifestyles, that first excitement will wane and there they go—right back down the road they walked before. After all, they had walked it a whole lot longer than the new one.
You know why this happens? Because we are too busy to spend the time taking care of them. We do not want to be bothered. Why, we have lives too, you know. Is that what we said when we brought a new life into this physical world? Did we tell our newborns we didn’t have time to feed them, to change them, to get up at all hours in the night to take care of them? If we had, we would have been no different that the ancient Romans who used to put unwanted babies out on the trash pile. Infanticide we would call it now.
And every time we let a new convert slip through the cracks because no one cares enough to spend the time it takes to nurture them along, we are guilty of spiritual infanticide. Changing your lifestyle is hard. We need to love these young souls enough to help them with the process. Gaining back unwanted weight is not nearly so dangerous as gaining back an unholy lifestyle.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” Rom 15:1-3