Our Child Is Reborn
Tom M. Roberts
"Indulge me just a little more and see if you can remember when you were baptized. Since religion is no more an important part of your life, I am interested if you recall the sincerity with which you expressed a desire to me to obey your Lord by being baptized. I remember talking with you since you were a little young, I thought. You reminded me that people were taught to be baptized when they knew they were sinners and that you knew you had done things that were wrong and believed that you were lost. You said that you wanted to go to heaven when you died and knew baptism to be right. Your mother and I realized that this had to be your decision and were proud of you. We have the date marked down somewhere. It is printed indelibly in our minds. But can you remember your feelings then? Surely you must have loved God and had faith in Him at that moment in your life. You were not pressured into being baptized; it had never been a matter of force. You came seeking to do God's will and seemed to do it gladly. I am wondering what importance you put on this even now. It was a great event for us then, and it remains so to this day. For us, it meant that you were a part of the kingdom of Christ, a member of His church. Your sins were washed away and as much as anything, it seemed that you were taking the initiative in living right. No one pushed you into baptism; it was something you wanted to do. Do you have any regrets about it now? If you had it to do over again, would you be so eager to be right with God?
"Can you imagine how your mother and I felt when you served us the Lord's supper the first time as you 'waited on the table'? You seemed so small up in front of the congregation with the grown men and you were nervous. You were afraid you would drop the plates, remember? But I knew you could do it and you did. You were dressed so neatly in your suit and were so sincere in doing everything right that I wanted to burst with happiness. Even as a young teenager, you were everything that we wanted you to be. Sure, we had discipline problems with you ... you were a boy, weren't you? We had some disappointments along the way, but the total of your life was good and decent and right. We never missed worship services. We never missed gospel meetings. You even led singing in some of the training classes and in the assembly a number of times. You led prayers and led the prayer at the table at home. Did we ever tell you how proud we were? Maybe this was the beginning of some major mistakes. We assumed you knew how we felt and how proud we were. If we failed in this, please accept our apology. We just knew that you understood how we felt. But maybe we took this too much for granted.
"I feel also that I was too busy with work during this time and didn't spend enough time with you in everyday things. We were together in the evenings and on weekends as we worshipped together, but maybe I should have gone fishing with you more or showed you how to use tools ... just anything to keep a close relationship. Because it was somewhere along these early teenage years that you must have begun to develop an interest outside the home and church that has made such a change in your values. I have spent many hours looking back, trying to analyze just where I could have used more wisdom, could have spent more time with you. It bothered me when you began to have friends outside the church more and more, but I thought this would be a passing thing. You had always done what was right before and I believed you would keep on doing what was right. But, if I can put my finger on a period in your life when you began to change, it is right here. Your interest turned away form home and the church as you began to make friends in the world.
"When I write to you again, I would like to talk to you about the beginning of troubles at home with you. I do not bring these up to stir old animosities but to analyze, to search, to seek for answers. I still see in you the possibility of right living. I still hope for you a heavenly home. So please bear with me as I speak of things that are painful to both of us. Sometimes a bitter dose of medicine can bring about wonderful healing. If opening my heart to you, however painful it may be, can help bring you closer to God, it is well worth it.
"May God grant you life and health both here and hereafter.
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