Many years ago my son got the lifeguard job at our churches summer camp. But before he could accept this position he had to have a certification course.
During the course he learned that when saving a drowning person, very often, you would get hurt during their panicky struggle. It is a risk that could prove to be very dangerous for the one trying to rescue.
I am very thankful that he accepted the risks and worked for 2 years at the camp. I am thankful for any person that willingly works a job that puts them in danger while protecting me.
I admire their sacrifice.
So this morning when I saw this picture on my news feed, I wondered about those that seek those that were saved but have fallen away and bravely go after them. It is not without risks. Very often they struggle against being rescued.
How far do we go before we give up on getting them back to salvation?
If they were drowning we would risk all. If they were in a burning building, we would make great efforts. Yet when people fall from grace, we often just shake our heads and tsk, tsk, tsk.
Why are their souls not worth our effort?
We say things like,
I don't want to push them further away.
I don't want them to hate me.
They have to want to come back.
I'm not perfect, who am I to judge them?
Well, what if they were drowning? Sometimes you have to push them away from you so that they don't drag you don't too. Push them away until you can get the proper grasp.
A drowning person doesn't hate you, they only see their struggle. When you come along and grasp their flailing arms, you seem to be preventing them what they perceive they need to do.
A drowning person DOES want to come back, yet they believe the struggling is their only way.
Maybe you didn't finish top of the class in lifeguard school, does that mean you are not still qualified to rescue?
I have friends and loved ones that have known the grace of God but have fallen back away. I want to be able to jump in and bring them back to the safety of God's grace. Lord, help me.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20 ESV)
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1 ESV)