I have the joy of teaching first and second graders in our church Pioneer Club on Wednesday nights. In this children’s ministry, each club works for badges by learning Bible verses and different skills. This month I’m teaching them to sew two kinds of simple stitches. While it’s hard to tell them they have to pull out the stitches they worked so hard on because they’re wrong, they would never learn if I let them go on with their own way of doing it. So, we rip out and they do it again with help from workers.
Have you ever watched someone you knew and cared for slip away from the Lord? It’s even more heart wrenching than a 7 year-old who has to redo a task. Out of a desire to help, someone steps in – maybe it was you – and tries to give godly counsel. The one going astray is guided to God’s Word but they continue a downward spiral, avoiding the Bible, church, and anyone who points them to God. The frustrated counselor might want to say, “Fine, go your way. You will reap from what you’re sowing! I’m washing my hands of this.”
As we read I Samuel 15 we see how Samuel responded to hearing that Saul had not obeyed the Lord. It says in verse11 –
“And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.”
His heart was broken for Saul. Samuel had given Saul much instruction, but spite that, Saul chose to go his own way and disobey the Lord’s commands. In verse 35 we read,
“Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless, Samuel mourned for Saul…”
Samuel wasn’t afraid to share the truth with Saul; a reminder, I believe, that we don’t just sit and watch someone sin and be afraid to tell them the truth in love. But we must remain broken over their sin. I believe that Samuel continued to pray for Saul, and even though he watched Saul slipping farther and farther away, he loved him and desired that Saul make things right with the Lord.
If there’s someone you know that has drifted – perhaps a friend, or even a child or family member, ask the Lord to keep your heart soft towards them, as modeled by godly Samuel. May our hearts be as such as would mourn and cry to the Lord all night for a brother or sister that has wandered. Keep praying and lovingly sharing the truth when you have the opportunity. God desires that they return to Him, and it might be due to a Christian friend like you that they will do just that.
I can’t wait to see my club members get their sewing badge at the end of the month! Let’s care enough to share the truth with that one who isn’t walking with God, then stick around to see the results; it will be worth it!