Over the last few days, God has been opening my eyes to something so amazing through observing my Son Seth. The whole family ended up sick last week and Seth was the first one to get it. Then I got it, then Marlena got it. It even got to my dad for a day, but he was able to knock it out by getting some rest right away.
So in sickness, everything kinda goes out of perspective a bit. We become more needy, and cranky just plainly because we don’t feel good. We feel the weight of all the things that need to be done, but we don’t have the strength to get it done and we feel horrible that we’re stuck in bed with tissue paper all around us. Of all that, being sick is perhaps one of the most powerful things that lets the selfishness in us shine. So with this in mind, I look at Seth and say, well I should expect him to be a little more difficult to reason with, so just need to be a bit more patient with him.
The thing about Seth that has been amazing to me even in his sickness though, is what Jesus spoke of when he talked about children. He loved children whole heartedly and didn’t ever say to kids, hey you need to grow up and be more like an adult, in fact He said things like in Matthew 18:3 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (I’m pretty confident that Jesus is not saying you wont be saved when you die, He is just saying you won’t experience life here on the earth like it is in the Kingdom of heaven. If you want the peace and freedom of heaven, then you need to look to the children and shape your hearts and minds to be like them. That’s all. I see the tone of Jesus being love and freedom, not condemnation.)
So what is it about children that Jesus is trying to get us to pay attention to. Well before I observed Seth these last few days, I had lots of ideas. I thought, well kids believe what their mommy and daddy tell them, so Jesus just wants us to believe Him too. That’s a pretty good idea. How about the one that kids don’t care about what needs to get done because they are just enjoying life. God just wants us to be happy and enjoy the little things in life, right. Tie that to Mary and Martha, and we’ve got a sermon. (who cares about picking up toys when friends are over… ok, too far… sorry!) Those are both great things that I think Jesus wants us to be reminded about and strive to live like that, but again, I’ve been shown something that’s even more amazing about a child. That thing that amazes me about Seth’s is that love is still what’s most important to him.
I truly believe with all my heart that Seth loves Daddy, and no matter what I do, or don’t do, that he’s gonna love me with all of his heart. There have been many things that have spoken to me over these last few days, but the biggest thing that stands out is when we go though experiences of him not getting what he wants. When we were at the store yesterday, he wanted something real bad and I wouldn’t let him have it. So, he got real upset. He threw a huge fit, and we kept moving along. Now, guess what happened two minutes later? Well, you’d probably guess he saw something else and got even more upset, but that’s not what happened. We went to a different isle and he calmed down and before we left the isle, he was laughing at me and having a great time with Daddy again. This happens all the time. Now that I pay attention to it, Seth gets over things real quickly! Like it never, ever, ever happened.
What I believe God is trying to help me understand about children is not to be more gullible or grateful for the little things in life, but to understand the power of true love. I was able to see it in Seth last night when he was able to recover so quickly when he didn’t get his way. You’ll have to follow me closely here to see what I’m trying to say… See, I think Seth believes that Daddy loves him, and when Daddy doesn’t give him what he wants, he doesn’t get mad at daddy, he gets mad that daddy won’t give him what he wants. Do you see what I’m saying? The object of Seth’s disappointment is not daddy, it’s about what daddy did, or wont do. It doesn’t shake his belief in Daddy’s love at all, nor does is shake His love for daddy at all. He just didn’t get his way, and he’s able to accept that eventually.
When we get older we lose this perspective. I mean, it happens to us all the time. When someone offends us, or we don’t get our way, then we automatically make the person an object of our frustration, anger, or disappointment. We have a hard time seeing the clarity of what’s really going on when something doesn’t go our way.
I’m even crazy enough to think that as we age, we have the tendency to mature in our sin nature and actually become less mature in love. As we grow up, we want more, and more people stand in our way, and instead of love being what fills our tank, it turns into us having what we want, and when we want it. We have to fight all the more harder in life as we age because our sin nature gets more demanding, and love doesn’t seem to be as important as it was when we were young.
I can see it in Jesus more clearly now. The objective of his heart truly was love. Nothing else mattered. Even the fact that when His children turned away from him, He didn’t get upset and say, well fine then… Or an even bigger example is how He was on the cross and asking for us to be forgiven. I see it so clearly now! Jesus didn’t tie our sin to the way he feels about us, like we do with each other.
We are quick to say, “You hurt me. I’m done with you, ” or “You didn’t give me what I want, so I don’t like you anymore.” We look at things like that and say, oh that’s so childish, but I don’t see it that way. I don’t see that in my son. He doesn’t ever stop enjoying that I’m his dad, and he quickly recovered when I don’t give him his way because daddy is better than getting his way. What if our relationships were truly full of that amount of love and power? You betcha… we would be a lot more happy like kids are. Sure, we’d have our tantrums, but they would only last a minute or two rather than days, weeks, years and even decades in some cases.
So when Jesus is saying, we need to become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven, He is just saying we need to love each other whole heartedly and be quick to forgive. He is helping us be free to enjoy life by simply shaping our hearts into a place where the relationships in our lives, especially our relationship with our heavenly father is so much better and valuable than getting our way. We need to fight through the offense and see the picture clearly. Will we let love reign in our hearts, or will we let something keep us from enjoying the people we love?
Who do you love, and what is worth holding on to that will keep you from the enjoyment of loving that person? Let it go. Forget about it. Like it never, ever, ever happened. Be free. Set someone else free! Be, like a child!