Have you ever taken time to really consider what Jesus meant when He said we should “become as little children?” After a conversation with some other moms, I found myself giving the words more thought.
As families gathered in our home for a celebratory day with crafts and play, I was delighted to see two little boys meet for the first time. The two became fast friends and were soon pulling each other around our yard in a wagon. One on looking mom commented that it made her think of how we are to be like little children. As other moms joined the discussion, we noted how easily children make new friends. Where we as adults want to take time to foster new relationships, or avoid them all together, our children often declare the discovery of a new best friend when only just meeting another child. It seems to occur over a simple introduction and request to be friends. Why do we, as adults, need so much time to develop a relationship?
Recently, at church, one of my sons displayed unusual behavior. He didn’t want to go to his class. One moment he was fine, but as we headed to class he suddenly didn’t feel well. He looked fine. He was just laughing with friends, so something didn’t feel right. With some coaxing, we discovered the root of the mysterious ill feelings was a problem with a friend that would be at class. We had him join us for the main teaching service until we could better address the situation.
I was surprised to see my son sit quietly during a service directed more toward the adults. The teaching concluded a series from the book of Ephesians. As words were spoken of living in peace with others, and living in community, I couldn’t help but wonder how much my son might be listening and understanding. I prayed for him to have understanding. I prayed that I would have wisdom.
As our week progressed I learned my son had been called a name. It didn’t feel like a big deal, and I kept wondering if there was more to it. After all, this was a friend I didn’t believe he knew well. It was clear he felt deeply hurt.
During our devotion time, I kept pointing my son to scripture. If this had been an incident with his brother or sister, I would have gone to scripture. This was a brother in Christ. Regardless the trial, it only made sense to point him to scripture. “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over…..” Matthew 18:15. In Luke 17:3 it specifically states to “forgive him.”
After reading scripture, my son was ready to talk to his friend. After praying, he agreed to let me talk to his friends mother first. I learned the boy not only did not recall the incident, but he had no issue with my son nor desire to hurt his feelings.
When the two boys next met, I was not present. I heard they exchanged a few words, an apology, and a hand shake finalized the matter. They were together often during the remainder of the event they were attending that day.
My son learned that God’s word gives problem solving direction. I pray this is the beginning of a long term Godly friendship for these boys.
I continue to come back to the words of Jesus “…I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven….” Matthew 18:3-4
Children are naturally trusting and unpretentious. As hurts, wounds and worldly ways press into their lives, they learn to put up a guard to protect themselves.
For the first time, my son did not want to go to his Sunday school class. It was all over hurt feelings from words his friend did not intend nor even recall. How many of us have not wanted to go to church, have changed the service time we attend, or even changed what church we attend, all in the name of hurts from a brother or sister in Christ?!? Did we first follow scripture and go, talk to our brother or sister?!? Is holding onto bitterness more comfortable than an apology and forgiving hand shake?
We live in a time where many families are scattered. Our earthly families, the ones we trust because they are most familiar, are miles away. How do we find support for ourselves, our marriages, our children, when we don’t know who to trust.
As an adult, I do not easily trust anyone knowing we are all sinners. Nowhere is completely safe. I trust God!!
I pray for Godly discernment. I pray for Godly wisdom.
Sometimes, God wants me to throw caution to the wind. Sometimes, I want to throw caution to the wind. There are times I have the prompting of God, and the peace of God, but yet I still fight my battle of self sufficiency.
I consider the times my children have so freely met someone new at a park and made a friendship. So trusting. So unpretentious. So pure. I want to love like that with the body of Christ. We are the family of Christ. We must love each other through wagon rides and through hurt feelings.
I pray I will trust God……like a child