Growing in Sweetness Towards Our Fellow Christians
"As we grow in grace, we are sure to grow in charity, sympathy, and love; we shall have greater and more intense affection for the person of 'Him whom having not seen we love.'
We shall have greater delight in the precious things of His gospel. The doctrine which perhaps we did not understand at first, will become marrow and fatness to us as we advance in grace.
We shall feel that there is honey dropping from the honey-comb in the deeper truths of our religion.
We shall, as we ripen in grace, have greater sweetness towards our fellow Christians.
Bitter-spirited Christians may know a great deal, but they are immature. Those who are quick to censure may be very acute in judgment, but they are as yet very immature in heart.
He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case.
He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it.
As he has sometimes to say of himself, 'This is my infirmity,' so he often says of his brethren, 'This is their infirmity,' and he does not judge them as he once did.
I know we who are young beginners in grace think ourselves qualified to reform the whole Christian church. We drag her before us, and condemn her straightway.
But when our virtues become more mature, I trust we shall not be more tolerant of evil, but we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms.
Sweetness towards sinners is another sign of ripeness.
When the Christian loves the souls of men, when he feels that there is nothing in the world which he cares for so much as endeavouring to bring others to a knowledge of the saving truth, when he can lay himself out for sinners, bear with their ill-manners, bear with anything, so that he might but lead them to the Saviour-- then is the man mature in grace.
God grant this sweetness to us all.
A holy calm, cheerfulness, patience, a walk with God, fellowship with Jesus, an anointing from the Holy One-- I put all these together, and I call them sweetness, heavenly lusciousness, full-flavouredness of Christ.
May this be in you and abound."
--Charles H. Spurgeon, “Ripe Fruit,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (vol. 16; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1870), 16: 448–449.
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