And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (1 Jn 3:23–24; NIV)
"You Christians have so many rules and regulations, why would anyone want to become one?" says the non-believer. I recently heard of a church that turned their back on a new Christian who had slipped in their Christian walk. The isolation this person felt was overwhelming, and they left the church. I have to stop and wonder how Jesus would have handled a situation like this. I really think if Jesus were talking to the person who had slipped, he would ask only a few questions, "Do you believe in the name of Jesus Christ?" "Do you love others the way I commanded you?" "Are you trying with all your might to live the life I want for you?" If the answer was yes to these questions, I think the next thing Jesus would say is, "Great! Come, give me a hug!"
New Christians are often referred to as "babes in Christ" and rightfully so. They're trying to do something they have never done before and need tons more patience, support, and love. We need to remind ourselves that they are just like normal babies. Turning our backs on a new Christian when they stumble and fall is like turning our backs on a toddler who is learning to walk. It would be like thinking, as long as they are up on their feet I will believe in them, that they can do it. But the second they trip and fall (and a toddler will), I will give up on them. No parent gives up on a child because they fall the first time they try to walk, so why do we give up on new Christians who are trying to walk godly life?
As long as a person believes that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God and loves his neighbor as himself, and are trying to walk the Christian walk with all their might, I believe Jesus loves and accepts them and we should too. Remember, the more a child walks the greater confidence they find in themselves and before long they are running like an old pro and the "stumbling" is long gone. The same is true for the Christain. The more they are supported and encouraged by the church, the stronger their walk will be.
I love to watch babies learn how to walk because out of their falling comes determination and strength to run the distance.