Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Nature of Children (regardless of age)

Jesus got a bit ticked at His disciples once because they tried to prevent some children from "bothering" Him as He went about His important business. What the disciples failed to understand was that His relationship with the children was His important business! Whenever anyone tried to come between Him and the people He was trying to minister to Jesus got a bit angry with them.

Matt 19:13-15 One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: "Let the children alone, don't prevent them from coming to me. God's kingdom is made up of people like these." After laying hands on them, he left.

Matt 18:3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Why would Jesus want to be around children and why did He say "God's kingdom is made up of people like these"? While there are many wonderful things about the nature of children there are also some things that are not so wonderful.


Writers, preachers and theologians most often refer to the innocence, trust and openness of children in explaining these passages. I think they completely miss the point that Jesus was trying to make.

Jesus spent His time, bestowed His compassion on and loved being with outcasts, underdogs, misfits and miscreants! I think He used children as the example of the population of His kingdom because kids are messy, noisy, unlearned, more interested in play than work, prone to make bad decisions, self-centered and not above lying to avoid punishment. They are real, not religious.

In another passage Jesus says, My little children, I will not leave you orphans (John 13). This time He was addressing adults, the very adults who had spent more then three years with Him in close contact. They ate, slept, traveled, bathed, cried, prayed, played and ministered together with Jesus for over 1000 days. These were the inside guys, the core group, the major players, the big kahunas, but Jesus called them "little children". If these men, who we so revere as the fathers of Christianity were "little children" in Jesus eyes then are not the rest of mere infants?

We put so much stock into our theological theories, our doctrinal foundations, our perfect Sunday School attendance badges, our correct Biblical interpretation that we forget that in His eyes we are not even potty trained yet.

Brennan Manning says it like this (paraphrased): Jesus only asks us one question, Do you believe that I love you?

God comes to us and says I have a word for you, I know your whole life story, I know every skeleton in your closet. I know every moment of sin, shame, dishonesty, and degraded love that has darkened your paths

Right now I know your shallow faith, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship, and My word is this, I dare you to trust that I love you just as you are and not as you should be, because you are never going to be as you should be.


Always remember we are His little children, we belong to Him!

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